Behind the door

I once peeked at the source code on my Facebook page. It seemed to go on forever. I wondered just how many characters that was, so on a whim I copied it, opened up an MS Word document and pasted it in. Control a, control c, open doc, control p. Less than ten seconds. But nothing happened. The page was blank, frozen. I let it be and went back to something useful. A few hours later I went back to look. All the source code was there, 187 pages of it in dull utilitarian ten point font, single spaced. Alas, Word was trapped in a Sisyphean hell trying to proofread the thing. Hours later and it had only gotten to page 12. At 187 pages a word count was an impossibility, I knew, and a character count was one for the cosmos. So I put the beast out of its misery and deleted it. 187 pages vanished into electrons. I scooted back here, safely above all that HTML. But it’s weird, now that I’ve seen behind the door. What is all that code? What does it all do? As Facebook alters civilization itself, and perhaps, some excitable types say, our very evolution as a species, just what is that code, really? HTML, sure, but how many other HTML sources have changed us so completely? The internet is full of HTML, but very little of makes us unfriend each other. Or befriend people we don’t even know. Or get all worked up about nothing. Or post stupid cat videos, over and over. Perhaps we’re not supposed to know. I heard an old science fiction radio show once. A guy started wondering about things, like why was it they were all doing what they were doing, and started nosing around, where no one ever looked before. Turns out they were all part of a game in some advertising agency. He told somebody else, and soon everyone told everybody. Everyone knew it wasn’t real. The game was ruined, so the agency ended it, and thus ended that universe. Don’t blame me.

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