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BASIC Computer Language Turns 40 1042

5 REM nam37 codes
10 PRINT "In 1963 two Dartmouth College math professors had a radical"
20 PRINT "idea - create a computer language muscular enough to harness"
30 PRINT "the power of the period's computers, yet simple enough that even"
40 PRINT "the school's janitors could use it."
50 END
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BASIC Computer Language Turns 40

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  • ahem (Score:0, Insightful)

    by linuxislandsucks ( 461335 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:46PM (#9011108) Homepage Journal
  • Best Headline Ever (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FatHogByTheAss ( 257292 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:47PM (#9011144)
    Really. Well done!
  • School Janitors (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FlatBlack ( 771571 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:47PM (#9011145)
    Ooo. Me Grandpa was a custodian and a very smart man. Watch your mouth. I work for a school and the janitors here are smart folks too. Most of all, they treat the lowly tech guy with respect in spite of his job and the fact that he lives in his parents basement and has never touched a girl (not a real girl anyway).
  • And then came VB (Score:5, Insightful)

    by John Starks ( 763249 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:48PM (#9011164)
    Then VB came, and a language was created that was muscular enough to script Word macro viruses, but simple enough to enfuriate good programmers (I mean, really, no short circuit boolean operators? It makes me weep.)
  • Ah, computers. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wookyhoo ( 700289 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:53PM (#9011268) Homepage
    Now we have languages [] that are hard enough for gurus to read half the time, and others [] that are so wonderful and elegant that I believe janitors of today could learn and use quite easily [].

    I remember using my first computer at age 5 and playing around with BASIC, and I could do a reasonable amount with it. Lets be glad though that most of us have moved on :>
  • Re:A Poem! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by glenebob ( 414078 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:55PM (#9011298)
    OMG the mods are smokin' it today, that's funny as hell!
  • by Theatetus ( 521747 ) * on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:57PM (#9011337) Journal

    I didn't say only non-programmers used Java, I said Java was marketed towards, AMONG OTHER PEOPLE, nonprofessional programmers. It's presented as an easy language to pick up on, and, in fact, lots of non professional programmers have used it to do things like rotate images and play sounds on their webpages, for instance.

    Jeez, you Java people are sensitive.

  • yet simple enough that even the school's janitors could use it
    Using the language is one thing, knowing what to use it for is another. I know of many many "programmers" who know the programming language's syntax and can write basic programs, but ask them to program something creative or program something creatively and they fail miserably.

  • BASIC got me going (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kdekorte ( 8768 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @03:59PM (#9011379)
    Well I'm glad BASIC exists because I probably would not have started programming without it. Can you imagine trying to learn C or something like that when you are 13 (circa 1984) and have no other programmer friends and no internet or BBS to get sample code from. Also C and Pascal compilers cost big money back then. Borland's Turbo Pascal was probably the other big hobby language back the as well. It probably damaged my skills, but I think I have overcome most of the damage.

    And Windows 3.1 never would have been as accepted as it was if not for VB 1.0. I think VB was probably the thing that got a lot of people on Windows because programming Windows in C at that point was very complicated for the home hobbiest.
  • by Lust ( 14189 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @04:00PM (#9011401) Homepage
    Hey, stop using janitors as some lowest-common-denominator! Rather "The language was so simple even programmers could use it."

    The JLO
  • Re:ahem (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Wister285 ( 185087 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @04:03PM (#9011462) Homepage
    I don't see what's wrong with what the poster said. The poster said that they had the idea in 1963, not the completed language.

    I also thing that maybe you should read the article, since the poster simply quoted it.
  • Why BASIC was good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by unfortunateson ( 527551 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @04:03PM (#9011466) Journal
    Today's VB and similar derivatives bears so little resemblance to Dartmouth BASIC that it's hardly the same language. If it wasn't for FOR/NEXT and DIM, you might not recognize it at all.

    But the old line-oriented BASIC had some advantages in the bad, old days:
    1) Interactive editing is difficult to do on a teletype -- many schools only had a hardcopy terminal to a timeshare service. Being able to drop a line in the middle, or retype a single statement really really helped learn what was going on, without having to re-send the entire program. Even with a primitive CRT, full-screen text editors were of poor quality -- dropping in statements helped to debug and fix features.

    2) Later, it was ubiquitous: You could write the same abusive repeating naughty-word program at a Radio Shack, an Apple Dealer, or a department store selling Commodore PETs.

    3) It beat COBOL or FORTRAN. The only thing with BASICs interactivity might be FORTH -- imagine if we'd been saddled with page-delimited, stack-based code in all our micros. It's a lot harder to learn, but would have helped modularity and library development.
  • by Spicerun ( 551375 ) <spicerun AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday April 29, 2004 @04:06PM (#9011512)
    I see the debate between the Basic vrs. Anti-Basic camps is also 40 years old and as strong as ever.
  • insensitive clods (Score:4, Insightful)

    by michaelndn ( 86690 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @04:07PM (#9011537) Homepage
    lay off the janitors!
  • by ThogScully ( 589935 ) <> on Thursday April 29, 2004 @04:11PM (#9011599) Homepage
    That's a very obvious statement. You basically said that a bad program written in one language could have been written better in the other language. But any program written badly in any language is going to be better when written better, regardless of language.

    The comparison I believe the original post was making was between a good VB app and a good C app and between those, I'm guessing the C one would be better.
  • Re:A Poem! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by slackerboy ( 73121 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @04:11PM (#9011602)
    Ummm, it doesn't print the haiku, it is the haiku.
  • by surgeonsmate ( 633065 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @04:11PM (#9011606)
    Well I'm glad BASIC exists because I probably would not have started programming without it. Can you imagine trying to learn C or something like that when you are 13 (circa 1984) and have no other programmer friends and no internet or BBS to get sample code from.

    Happy Birthday BASIC but where is the pathway to any flavour of the language now?

    Once upon a time BASIC came as a free part of the computer box. A lot of boxes, you turned them on and there was BASIC. To do anything at all, you had to learn BASIC, and so a lot of people did.

    But nowadays, all you do is point and click. Visual Basic isn't free. Maybe you can get into VBA through Word, but I can't see too many 13YOs going that route.

    I'd have to say that eventually BASIC will wither and die through lack of new blood. Sure it will take a while until all those programmers who learnt their stuff in the 80s die out, but die out they will.

  • Or.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AtariAmarok ( 451306 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @04:18PM (#9011734)
    "Now in programming languages the use of GOTO usually means that the programmer didn't really think about reasonable controlling structures and it tends to generate nondeterministic-for-practical-purposes behaviour"

    Or the programmer did think about it, and the use of the GOTO (or equivalent "jump over here!" coding tool) caused no problems in regards to these issues.

  • Re:5 REM Testing.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2004 @04:19PM (#9011750)
    I've heard it said that Perl is the Visual Basic of the Unix world...
  • by ( 206867 ) <> on Thursday April 29, 2004 @04:25PM (#9011843)
    ...yet most of its story got lost in write-errors on unreliable cassette tape recorders attached to thousands of ZX SPECTRUMs.

    Forgive me, it must be that brain damage everybody's talking about around here.

    And yes, my code sucks. Even in BASIC. And that was 15 years ago.
  • by Theovon ( 109752 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @04:25PM (#9011854)
    Computers died for me the day the stopped shipping them with built-in BASIC.

    Seriously, though. The computers of the 80's were great for learning programming on. Not that BASIC is a good teaching language, but it was accessible and simple.

    Modern computers have too many features that you want serious programmers to have access to (complicating languages), and modern languages have all sorts of safety, structure, and OO features that are great for serious programmers but also complicate things for beginners.

    Breaking into programming is much harder than it used to be.
  • by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) ( 613870 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @04:32PM (#9011981) Journal
    A real programmer can extract useful work from anything from a pile of matchboxes [] to a state of the art cluster without bitching.
  • Re:Troll? Moi? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by forgetmenot ( 467513 ) <atsjewell&gmail,com> on Thursday April 29, 2004 @04:34PM (#9012000) Homepage
    You don't maintain your own programs then, do you?

    I've had to maintain programs written by developers who, like you apparently, separated out the maintainability aspects from their concept of "well-written" code.

    Well written code does not mean written fast - it means the next guy down the line, after you've moved on and forgotten about it, can easily follow the logic and make changes with minimal effort. GOTO's almost never facilitate this. Please trust your peers on this - it's been debated often enough and long enough by those in the know that it's no longer a subject for reasonable debate. In fact, defending the use of GOTO usually shows one of two things:
    1) Inexperience -or-
    2) Old Age (meaning the behaviour is so ingrained one simply can't comprehend anything different).

    Of course, I'm assuming you have the option to not use GOTO. If the language you use has no control structors other than Jumps and Labels, then obviously you have no choice. But I would argue that even if that's the case, you're probably using an old language for one of two reasons:
    1) Not experienced with anything else -or-
    2) Too old and stubborn to move on to anything else (meaning the behviour is so ingrained that you probably sit alone in the corner pumping out Cobol not even aware that you were laid off months ago and replaced by the Janitor who took a crash course in Javascript). ;)
  • by psetzer ( 714543 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @04:37PM (#9012052)
    Basic wasn't meant to be the end-all be-all computer language. It was a toy language with a very specific purpose in mind, and if everyone remembered it as that, things would be fine. The creators of Basic wrote a book a few years back writing about the design of Basic, and why they made it the way it is. It was meant to be used with a teletype to allow programming while on a computer, allowing quicker debugging and testing than ever before. In order to allow it to be compiled quickly, it had extremely simple syntax. If we just left things at that, there never would have been any controversy.
  • by CarrionBird ( 589738 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @04:38PM (#9012062) Journal
    Nothing stopping you from using structure in BASIC but your own mind.
  • by BlightThePower ( 663950 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @04:43PM (#9012139)
    Yes, BASIC fosters bad programming habits. However, this isn't really the point. Let me explain why.

    1. When I and many other people started out with computers, BASIC was the only game in town. Yes, there was assembler and other languages, but its easy to forget these days that information was hard to come by pre-web and indeed, for children who don't have the disposable income for specialist magazine subscriptions. Libraries typically had a couple of computer books, but these would be non-specific description books (that no longer exist as genre really) explaining that a computer had ROM, RAM and you could hook it up to a printer and a VDU! etc. etc. They had hand-drawn "screenshots" of space invaders and pac-man. BASIC was easy enough that we could get started without being put off. On Slashdot its easy to be intellectually macho, but theres a lot to be said for a low learning curve that encouraged you ever onward.

    2. BASIC today. Well, its probably not for serious programmers. However, what is often forgotten here is that not everyone who programs is a professional programmer. Or wants to be. For very simple programs, GOTO is no sin. At least when the alternative is no program at all and, say, organising data in a text file by hand or "manually" in Excel or something. Bad habits are not a problem here, because one is never going to go on to have to write mission critical software in C or whatever. I know there are modern scripting languages that are perhaps just as easy to use, but you might be surprised how many people you might have thought have difficulty programming a VCR will break out QBASIC or VB when they need 20 line quicky knocking together and the programmers are "busy until further notice". Its easy to belittle this from a position of knowledge and authority, but relatively speaking these people are your friends in a landscape of PHBs that think programs just happen.

    So in conclusion, BASIC is often better than nothing. That might sound like feint praise, but like I say, for the non-specialist that can be quite a valuable thing. Computer programming for the masses. Mock it at your peril.

  • by WWWWolf ( 2428 ) <> on Thursday April 29, 2004 @04:47PM (#9012180) Homepage

    Remember, that was about old BASIC dialects, not the embraced-and-extended-for-the-love-of-god-and-good -of-the-mankind Microsoft dialects.

    Yeah, it's possible to do OO coding in Commodore 64 BASIC v2 if you do it right. *sigh*

    Still, writing structured programs would be very cool if BASIC interpreters of those days would have supported things like return values, local variables and subroutine arguments... (You can GOSUB 2390 all you want, just don't expect the language to pass data around.)

  • Re:missing line (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rsidd ( 6328 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @05:02PM (#9012395)
    Congratulations on the well-written troll. Some people may have taken you seriously until the congressman bit. Some people may have taken that seriously too. Anyway,

    And in some ways, the lack of simplicity of environments like Python is harmful too. Much of the fun of programming was learning how to do amazing things at a relatively low level. Now languages are so complex, and libraries so relied upon, I'd venture to say most programmers do not understand how their programs will run, that something as simple as a change of data structure might make their program run 10,000% faster. Hashing? Sorting? Let the interpreter do it. That stuff's "too hard".

    Yes, like we all understand what a 10 PRINT "HELLO" actually does behind the scenes.

  • Re:School Janitors (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2004 @05:09PM (#9012467)
    Regardless of all that, janitors are cool.

    I usually present my title as "network janitor" or "systems janitor".

    I treat all the janitors like real people. They invite me to their birthday parties and they offer to wax my basement floor for free (no lie, that really happened).

    This is a sad commentary on the way most people must treat janitors; I am just ordinarily civil and friendly to them, nothing special, and they treat me like gold
  • Re:A Poem! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Dejitaru Neko ( 771563 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @05:14PM (#9012533)
    Interestingly, this post is modded up, while another one from two minutes earlier [] is modded down.
  • by poot_rootbeer ( 188613 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @05:15PM (#9012544)
    "It is practically impossible to teach good programming style to students that have had prior exposure to BASIC; as potential programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration." -- Professor Edsger Dijkstra

    Okay, now all the professional coders whose first programming experience was in BASIC on a VIC-20, Apple II, or TRS-80, raise your hands... man, there seems to be a lot of us, huh.

    Oh yeah and "Goto considered harmful" too, of course.

    GOTO is essential -- all processors use it at their lowest levels (it goes by the name JMP in assembly language, though.)

    All other types of branching or looping are just syntactic sugar.
  • by Anne_Nonymous ( 313852 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @05:28PM (#9012685) Homepage Journal
    >> Haiku in English is dumb.

    Yes, but it has huge comedic potential.
  • by Patrik_AKA_RedX ( 624423 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @05:34PM (#9012755) Journal
    Sorry to destroy your dream, but Basic is very alive and isn't going to die very soon. Check out Bascom [] for example.
    And as computers keep getting faster, soon Qbasic will run just as fast on a P8 2THz as assembly on a 486DX 66MHz.
  • by GlassHeart ( 579618 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @05:48PM (#9012903) Journal
    Edsger Dijkstra is all too typical of the arrogant academics who gave rise to Shaw's comment "Those who can, do, those who can't, teach."

    I disagree. Dijkstra is credited with numerous important fundamental algorithms, so he most certain "can". This isn't to say that he isn't arrogant, or that there aren't arrogant professors who "can't". This is to say there are those who are arrogant, and "can".

    I have no problems at all with you criticizing various things he said or stood for. Just because he is smart enough to discover algorithms doesn't mean that he is beyond reproach. However, to say he "can't" I'm tempted to ask what you have done for computer science.

  • by alphakappa ( 687189 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @06:10PM (#9013146) Homepage
    That is its biggest strength.

    I remember how I got into programming in school - we had these BBC computers [] which could run BASIC. The language was simple enough for me to understand and intuitive enough for me to actually like programming. (Before that I had seen an aunt learn COBOL and the very look of the language frightened me)

    Sure, BASIC is not as advanced as C, BASIC uses GOTO statements, BASIC (not QBASIC though) uses archaic line numbers (but still not as archaic as the Fortran 77 tradition of having to write everything after 7 spaces), but BASIC is the best tool to introduce an enthusiastic person to the world of programming. See this example: In BASIC you would show the person:
    10 PRINT "Hello World"
    20 END

    Bingo, the person magically sees his first program work. Try the same thing with C:
    int main(){
    printf("Hello World\n");
    return 0;

    See how much more you have to explain? Ever tried to explain stdio.h and int main to someone? :-) Once you introduce a kid to the concepts of do loops, for loops and if..then statements, it is so much easier to learn a complicated language like C. It's a pity you don't have QBASIC shipping with Windows machines any more. Vbscripting is not at the same intuitive level.

  • by diamondsw ( 685967 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @06:22PM (#9013288)
    However, if he has better alternatives (which the bashers are assuming is the case), then he is a fool for extracting work from a less efficient tool.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2004 @06:26PM (#9013334)
    is there some disease going around which makes people feel they just *have* to explain the joke?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2004 @06:28PM (#9013347)
    Repeatedly calling main() from within main() probably would overflow the stack.

    Only if he's using a shitty compiler that doesn't know about tail call optimisation.

    Of course, for all I know that applies to all C compilers. I haven't used anything as crude as C in a while, so I wouldn't know.
  • by MythMoth ( 73648 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @06:40PM (#9013452) Homepage
    Dijkstra was in a good position to be arrogant.

    He "did" as well as taught - you might like to read up on him a bit before putting your foot in your mouth.

    And, incidentally, good teachers are worth a thousand "arrogant" programmers who think they know better.

  • Unfortunately... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cr0sh ( 43134 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @06:49PM (#9013557) Homepage can only write your code on Windows and Mac, then cross-compile to Linux - there isn't a native Linux/X REALbasic environment available (yet - and I haven't seen any movement in that direction, either).

    I believe the lack of a good version of the BASIC language is what is holding back Linux in a small manner. Microsoft, by making it easy to customise their regular applications (via VBScript) and write new applications (via VB), allowed companies and individuals to quickly roll out software for both profit and fun. Until Linux has this ability, we will continue to be a second-level player in many circles.

    Fortunately, we do have a couple of languages that allow (after a sort) RAD software development - Perl, Python, and Tcl/Tk are all excellent languages for today's business application development. However, they lack the GUI IDE that has made VB what it is - the ability to rapidly slap together a form and some code behind controls, compile and run with a single click - and BAM! - an instant GUI application! Furthermore, none of these languages (ok, the exception would likely be Python) are as easy to learn as BASIC, and Python only wins out because it looks and feels a lot like BASIC in many respects.

    I just don't understand the hatred people have of BASIC - it's a language syntax, people! I have often wondered how hard it would be to make a simplified version of BASIC that could be easily parsed/converted by Perl to C, then compiled with gcc (basically, it would be C, but with a lot of BASIC "look" to it). GOTO's were banished a long, long time ago. BASIC could easily be object-oriented - it's just a syntax.

    Something makes me think people dislike BASIC because of the idea that it would make them less of programmers by using it (f'd up pyschology or something, I think) or knowing it. All it would do is make them faster programmers - as long as it compiles down to native, why not make the syntax of the language as simple as possible, provided it gets the job done. BASIC can do this!

    Finally, there are some "good" BASIC's out there for Linux - one is XBasic, the other is Blassic. XBasic is a form of BASIC that looks and acts like a cross between VB, C and QBasic - fairly fast, compiles to native, and open-source (GPL, I believe) to boot!

    Blassic is what could be called "classic BASIC" - fairly easy to port stuff from GWBASIC and some QBasic over to it. It is done pretty well (though the documentation could use some work/updating - I put out an update a long time ago while playing with it) - it is interpreted, but it runs very fast on today's systems, plus it has some extra features old BASICs didn't. Search for both of these with Google - I think you will be surprised at what is out there!

  • by reallocate ( 142797 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @06:53PM (#9013598)
    ...the PC revolution would have been a lot less revolutionary, if it happened at all.

    The simple, limited, but comprehensible BASIC found in all those Apples, Commodores, Ataris, TI's, etc., showed people that even they could control a computer.

    BASIC is about putting ordinary people in charge of their computers, not corporations...or crusading free software elitists whose idea of "ordinary people" are 1982 MIT graduates.
  • by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <> on Thursday April 29, 2004 @07:50PM (#9014083) Homepage
    Are there any arguments to justify the statement?
    No. It exists mainly to let the wizards feel good about writing in increasingly esoteric lanquages designed mostly to fulfill academic theories, (the whole C family).

    The quote and the jargon file entry also shows that the writers and speakers thereof never saw some of the later, and much more powerful BASIC's. (QBasic (which was the professional version of Quick Basic, no mean lanquage itself. Don't confuse it with the Qbasic that shipped with later versions of DOS.), Power basic, etc...)

  • by Repton ( 60818 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @08:10PM (#9014234) Homepage

    Yeah, my uni teaches Java to first years. Java is a nice language (and the uni programmers put together a library to hide most of the exception handling) ... but your first program looks like this:

    public static void main(String[] args) {
    System.out.println("Hello world!");

    We were basically taught to type "public static void main string args" as an invocation that we would (hopefully) come to understand more in later weeks...

  • by daem0n1x ( 748565 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @08:15PM (#9014279)
    Because of those bastards, now I'm being forced to program in VB (sigh)!
  • Re:Troll? Moi? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2004 @09:22PM (#9014748)
    I worked on a piece of Java code from a Patterns fan.

    It was loaded with "Factories" and "Managers", with everything vaguely named (oh, a "TableManager"? Gee thanks, that makes it all clear) and 3-4 levels of derivation for everything, and it used introspection galore.

    And almost no comments at all. The ones that were there were vague enough so as to be useless.

    I ended up having to single step through the shit to even vaguely start to figure out what it was trying to do.

    Eventually I realized that the whole thing could have been written with 1/4 as many classes about probably 1/4 as much code as well.

    So, yeah, I hear ya brother. Why does everybody have to make simple problems so goddamned complicated these days?

  • by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) ( 613870 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @11:08PM (#9015463) Journal
    Efficiency! Please! My first computer had a BASIC interpreter in 4K of ROM used only 1K of RAM. I think it's the BASIC programmers of the late seventies and early eighties who should be giving the lessons in efficiency.
  • by Doctor Faustus ( 127273 ) <Slashdot@William ... d.Org minus poet> on Friday April 30, 2004 @12:58AM (#9016015) Homepage
    "AndAlso" and "OrElse" were compromises dragged out of MicroSoft after VB.Net beta 1 was out. Originally, the regular "And" and "Or" operators were going to be short-circuiting boolean operators (they were actually bitwise in earlier MS BASICs), but that was going to cause too much trouble in the porting wizard.

    I don't think the "Is Nothing" part is different in VB.Net than in classic VB. The "Is" operator compares the pointer values in the object reference variables. If "A Is B" returns true, that means the variable A and the variable B refer to the same object, while if "A = B" returns true, that means the default functions return the same value. "Nothing" is simply a constant object reference value. You could use "A = null" instead of "A Is Nothing", but that would lead to Java's "A.equals(B)" nonsense.

    Finally, dude, if you just don't like the keyword choices in VB.Net, just use C#; they're two different shells over the same system.
  • Re:School Janitors (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Da VinMan ( 7669 ) on Friday April 30, 2004 @11:23AM (#9018988)
    The little people in the world, who lead pointless, empty, meaningless lives.

    Just in case you come back to read this AC troll, I think your quote above actually applies to you. Having a humble job doesn't mean the person with that job is pathetic. It doesn't even follow that it's probable.

    On the other hand, if you're in a good job, with nice things, and are relatively successful and you feel the need to put down such people, then you are truly the pathetic person worthy of much pity.

    Really, get a clue.

Love may laugh at locksmiths, but he has a profound respect for money bags. -- Sidney Paternoster, "The Folly of the Wise"