This one is dedicated to the man that served as its inspiration. If you're out there somewhere, and you read this, we still remember you. Don't come back.

Tales of the Master #3:

In which the Master resorts to mantras.

Zen-Master Greg: Bow down before the one you serve.

Customer: Um, excuse me?

Zen-Master Greg: You're going to get what you deserve.

Customer: Ah, hello?

Zen-Master Greg: Greetings child. Let me turn down the mantras. Now, what is your request?

Customer: I have a problem.

Zen-Master Greg: This is so. But what do _you_ believe your problem is?

Customer: Well what do you think it is?

Zen-Master Greg: You are not ready for the knowledge.

Customer: Oh. Okay. My disk is stuck.

Zen-Master Greg: And?

Customer: What do you mean, "and".

Zen-Master Greg: I seek the completed statement. I wonder what the disk has to do with me.

Customer: I want you to fix it.

Zen-Master Greg: Truly has it been said that one can't always get what one wants. For lo, I have been perusing my job description and stuck disks are in no way mentioned.

Customer: When's Pete going to be around?

Zen-Master Greg: But there is no need to trouble the great sage at this time, for lo, I feel moved to help you. Let us seek the cause of this sticking.

Customer: See, it's stuck.

Zen-Master Greg: "Stuck" is but a transient condition, having no meaning for those in timeless existence. Yet I will fetch the official disk extraction tool.

Customer: That's a paperclip.

Zen-Master Greg: Ah, you are right. I will fetch the tool.

Customer: Hey, that's still a paperclip.

Zen-Master Greg: Truly you know all.

Customer: Where are you going?

Zen-Master Greg: Every time I enter with the disk extraction tool, you are moved to remark that it is a paperclip, and I look down and it has become so. It is truly confusing. I go to listen to the mantras. Especially the one entitled "Head Like A Hole".

Customer: Are you trying to be funny?

Zen-Master Greg: What is there to laugh at?

Customer: Well, all right. But what about my disk.

Zen-Master Greg: I shall take the disk extraction tool...

Customer: But that's a... oh.

Zen-Master Greg: and I shall extract the disk.

Customer: Nothing is happening.

Zen-Master Greg: Your wisdom is like vision from the corner of the eye. It seems to exist, but disappears when examined.

Customer: So what are we going to do?

Zen-Master Greg: The situation calls for extreme philosophical measures.

(5 minutes pass)

Zen-Master Greg: Head like a hole, black as your soul, I'd rather die than give you control!

Customer: What the hell are you doing? You're supposed to be helping me!

Zen-Master Greg: Have I not resorted to philosophy to do so?

Customer: What are you talking about?

Zen-Master Greg: Is the disk stuck in the drive?

Customer: Yes.

Zen-Master Greg: If the tree falls in the forest, and no one is in the area, does it make a sound?

Customer: Yes.

Zen-Master Greg: I shall ask again. If the tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

Customer: Um. No?

(The master reaches into his robe, thinks for a moment, then reluctantly withdraws his hand)

Zen-Master Greg: If the tree falls in the forest, and no one hears it, then does it make a sound?

Customer: I DON'T KNOW!

Zen-Master Greg: Correct on all counts. Without knowledge, the state of affairs is indeterminate.

Customer: And like this has anything to do with my disk.

Zen-Master Greg: Can you see the disk?

Customer: No, it's in the other room.

Zen-Master Greg: How do you know? It may not be. I may have it in my hand.

Customer: Hey, that's a neat trick. Give it to me.

Zen-Master Greg: I don't actually have it, but while it is unobserved, I might have. While it is not seen being stuck, it is not. And since the disk is not stuck, there is no problem.

Customer: But I still don't have it.

Zen-Master Greg: Then the original question was faulty. And I have laboured enough this day. Yet hark! Here comes the sage. Mayhap he will soil his hands to help you.

Sage: There is a problem?

Customer: Yes!

Sage: I know all. Let us examine this problem.

(5 minutes pass)

Sage: I shall require a disk extraction tool.

(5 minutes pass)

Sage: Truly a vexing problem. I shall require my toolkit.

(10 minutes pass)

Sage: Truly a DEU problem. I shall require some mantras and a punching bag.

(5 minutes pass)

Sage: Here is your disk.

Customer: Thank you, O sage!

Zen-Master Greg: May I enquire as to the nature of the illusory problem, O sage?

Sage: Yes my child. The problem was in the nature of the inserted disk. It seems that the unlearned one had covered the high-density notch of the disk.

Zen-Master Greg: And the nature of this substance, which had presumably become attached to the inside of the drive.

Sage: Duct tape, my child.

Zen-Master Greg: DUCT TAPE! THAT LUSER COVERED A DISK IN DUCT... I mean, the unlearned one was so foolish as to tamper with substances beyond his power?

Sage: Yes my child.

Zen-Master Greg: What an idiot.

Sage: Truly it is so.

Customer: Well I'm going now. And I'm going to make a complaint. You haven't been at all pleasant and you've deliberately set out to embarass me.

Zen-Master Greg: May I borrow the punching bag, O sage?

Sage: It appears to have become broken, my child. I fear we shall have to get more from storage.

Zen-Master Greg: It is well that we get them in bulk.

Sage: Truly, my child. Turn up the mantras.


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