The Cult of Codethulu

the anonymous embedded programmer

The following is a reprint of The Cult of Codethulu © 1982 the anonymous embedded programmer. See also The Call of Codethulhu by Alex Papadimoulis, 2006.


"The Call of Codethulhu" illustration by George E. McDougall

  1. Since time immemorial, new programmers have appeared in order to bring change to the world. They wish for a chance to show the world their skill and ability. And for their sins, they get it.

  2. And then shall the young and inexperienced programmer proclaim loudly to all who will listen:

    Those who came before me were ignorant and foolish.

    Codethulu looks on, and says: “Well, go and see what you can do.”

  3. The young and inexperienced programmer cries loudly to all who will listen:

    This is not a program, but a refuse bin. At every turn I find snares to catch the unwary, pits of refuse and stinking entrails, and the very heart of it seems to be made of mud and sticks.

    Codethulu looks on, and says: “Well, go and see what you can do.”

  4. The young and inexperienced programmer cries loudly to all who will listen:

    I cannot fix this. It is excrement. I can rewrite this from scratch in less time than it will take to make the changes you seek.

    Codethulu looks on, and says: “Well, go and see what you can do.”

  5. The young and inexperienced programmer cries loudly to all who will listen:

    World, hear my cry: It would be faster and easier to cast this away into the deep, and begin afresh. I understand the way of the true methods; I will build an elegant tower rising up out of the remains of this awful rubbish.

    Codethulu looks on, and says: “Well, go and see what you can do.”

  6. Days pass, and seasons change. Projects fail, or succeed. The details may vary, but one thing does not: On the chosen day, the young and inexperienced programmer realizes that what he has constructed is simply a different collection of rubbish, mud and offal than that used by the previous tower.

  7. Codethulu looks on, and says: “Now you have become one of us.”