Plan to take over the world No.390

Get a mainframe!


by Peter H. Nelson

...based on a true cartoon story.

The scene: Two transgenic lab mice on a sound stage.

Plinky: What are we going to do tonite Blain?

Blain: The same thing we do every nite Plinky - try to take over the world!

Fade to an infomercial for "the thing you've just got to have".

Blain (speaking into the camera): Yheees! This is the thing you just have to have! It slices! - it dices! - it dries fruit! - restores hair! - and comes in four designer colors! ...

Camera fades to the "gotta have it dancers", while Blain goes backstage to talk to Plinky.

Blain: Yhheeees! It's working Plinky, the couch potatoes of the world are watching the infomercial, and are certain to call and order the "thing you've just got to have".

Plinky: No... but wait... ploit! They don't even know what you're selling Blain. - zarf!

Blain: I think I'm going to have to hurt you Plinky!

Blain (after inflicting a cranial impact to Plinky): See that clock over there, which's counting down to the end of our half-hour infomercial. When it reaches zero, we will reveal what the "thing you've just got to have" is. In the meantime, with modern advertising techniques, we'll convince all those couch potatoes to order - without even knowing what the product is!

Plinky: but what are you actually selling them.

Blain: Nothing Plinky, we just want to get them to order and tell us their names and addresses. We can then flood every mailbox in the world with useless junk mail. Thereby bringing the postal systems of the world into total chaos.

Plinky: But isn't the postal service already in @#$%^&*!

(Plinky's cranium suffers another blow.)

Blain: ...and when that happens we can step in...
... and take over the world!

Plinky: but won't you need a lot of paper to write down all their names?

Blain: No Plinky, we have this army surplus mainframe, which has more than enough capacity to take orders from the world's 6 billion people - in just half an hour.

Plinky: But what's this pipe for Blain, are we getting a new hot tub?

Blain: No Plinky, this is a MAINFRAME computer - it's so powerful it needs water to run.

Plinky: My cousin invented a car that runs on water! Plink! Zarf! Ploit!

(Impact to Plinky's cranium.)

Blain goes back on camera and continues to plug the "thing you've got to have" with phrases that sound all too familiar...

Blain: ...and so how much would you expect to pay for this miracle of ergonomic design...


NO!!! not on this show!!!

We have a special offer not available in stores...


No!!! ... we can do much better than that!!!

Because of bulk purchase agreements, we can bring you this one-of-a-kind-product(TM) at savings never before imagined...

yes the world can be mine!...

... errr ...

... yours ...

... for one easy payment of just...


The hyperboles continue to fly about, and as the half-hour deadline approaches, the viewing public goes into a buying frenzy. Blain has to increase the flow of water to the mainframe - to keep it cool under pressure.

The end of the infomercial approaches, and the mainframe continues to take orders at an astonishing rate.

Finally, when all the viewers have taken advantage of this "Once-in-a-lifetime, never-to-be-repeated offer" Blain reveals an empty pedestal showing the "thing you've got to have" - that anyone of even modest intelligence can see is a "miracle-of-modern-design".

Plinky: But there's nothing there Blain. Won't they get angry and cancel their orders? Plink! Zord!

Blain: It doesn't matter Plinky, all we need is their names and addresses, which we now have on our mainframe computer. It doesn't matter if they cancel their orders now.

Cut to water authority technician.

Joe: Hey Jack, the water pressure is taking a real nose-dive!

Jack: Yeah Joe, it's that infomercial everybody's been watching for the last half-hour. Everybody's going to the bathroom after that ending.

Cut to infomercial.

Blain: Plinky!!! help me!!! the water pressure is dropping... We need to open the water valve further to keep our mainframe cool!!!

Plinky: I'm trying Blain, but this valve is really rusty... the army must have stopped using this thing a long time ago!!!

Cut to water authority technician.

Joe: Hey Jack, the water pressure is starting to come back!

Jack: Yeah Joe, but watch out - there'll be a big back surge after all the cisterns fill up... wait! here it comes...

Cut to infomercial.

Plinky: This computer's getting awfully hot Blain, I hope we get the water pressure back soon!

Blain: It's coming back in three seconds Plinky. I've measured the storage capacity of the water system, predicted it's response to latent demand, and we should get full pressure back right about... NOW!!!

The pressure comes back, but the rusty valve breaks in the backpressure surge, and the mainframe is flooded with water and explodes!!!

Blain (looking for all the world like a drowned rat... errr... mouse): Drat!!! why couldn't the army have bought one of those air-cooled CMOS mainframes before they downsized! Then we'd still have all those addresses!

Plinky: Couldn't somebody have figured out that latent demand thingy, and planned for it in advance Blain.

(Impact to Plinky's cranium.)

Plinky: Plink! what was that for Blain? ... Zarf!

Blain: You know full well Plinky! ... Because of recent financial problems, Orange County has not been able to send anyone to WMG for years.

Plinky: Plink! what's WMG Blain? One of those funny little foreign cars? Ploit!

(Impact to Plinky's cranium.)

Blain: No that's an MG Plinky. I'm talking about the Water Measurement Group -WMG! Where professionals can find out about the latest in performance and capacity planning - for water systems.

Blain: We'll just have to start planning for tomorrow nite.

Plinky: Why, what are we going to do tomorrow nite Blain?

Blain: The same thing we do every nite - Try to take over the world!

They're Plinky, they're Plinky and the Blain, Blain, Blain, Blain, Blain, Blain, Blain, Blain, Blain, Blain, Blain, Blain.


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© Peter H. Nelson 1997. All Rights Reserved.
Last Updated November 10, 1997.