The Little Computing Machine

Lyrics © 1983 Stephen Savitzky. CC-by-nc-sa. To the tune of ``The Black Velvet Band'' (traditional).

A song of seduction, obsession, and madness. Written while listening to Golden Bough singing "The Black Velvet Band" and wishing I could afford an Apple ][.

Lyrics [pdf] [txt] [cho]

  In the place they call Silicon  Vall ey,
As programmer I was  empl oyed
And it's  many the long happy hour,
  my friends,
G7 C
Of deb ugging that I have enj oyed.

As I went out walking one evening,
Just looking for something to eat,
I saw a little computer
In a shop by the side of the street.
Its screen had many bright colors,
The loveliest thing I had seen,
It was just what I always had wanted
A Little Computing Machine.
I stopped to look into the window,
A salesman he pulled at my sleeve.
He said "come let me show you its features--
It does things that you wouldn't believe."

He showed me its bells and its whistles,
His eyes had a hypnotic sheen,
And before I knew what I was doing
I'd bought the Computing Machine.
I set my machine on the table,
I plugged it right into the wall.
Then I turned on the switch and I waited--
It blinked and did nothing at all.

I thought of the words of the salesman,
He said I could use it with ease,
So I started to read the instructions,
Which were translated from Japanese.
Well, soon I was zapping invaders,
But that quickly became rather tame,
So I sat down and started to program it
'Cause that is my favorite game.

I taught it to play a few filksongs,
I wrote me a program or two,
Then I stopped and looked up in amazement--
I'd been there forty hours straight through!
Weeks passed and I hardly took notice
I lost friends and employment and all,
And when men in white coats came to call on me,
I don't think I saw them at all.

Now I live on a farm with tall fences,
The atmosphere's calm and serene
And it's far from Silicon Valley,
and my Little Computing Machine.
So if you go to Silicon Valley
Beware of the salesmen you see,
And the little machines that they're selling
Or you may end up crazy like me.

Beware of the graphics that dazzle,
Beware of the colorful screen,
And the deadly temptation of playing with
The Little Computing Machine.