The boy from the nineteen seventies once came to visit me. 'You know what I regret most?' he asked rhetorically.
I grabbed a piece of paper and warned him about making free with the superlative.
'The girl who anti-stood me up at the Disco,' he went on, 'is around whom all my regrets center. Most of them go back to a time when I was looking for a way out of a challenge which I thought was impossible.'
My ears pricked up at this. 'Impossible is a matter of proof,' I replied.
'Well, I had an awkward time of it. After I had gotten an obvious reply to an obvious cop-out, I started to think that I had made a mistake with my friends. The need to make money was keeping us apart, but I began to suspect that I had been considered a hanger-on from the start.'
'Hangers-on often do.'
'Yeah, and then we pay everyone a surprise visit one more time, in part to see if the years we thought we had friends were years just wasted.'
'Wasted either way; so what was the regret?'
'Showing a pretence. I had become callous. The challenge was frightfully impersonal.'
'Personal challenges,' I said wryly, 'can attract that sort of criticism. Did you have any reason to think any of your friends bothered whether you were callous or sensitive?'
'I don't know if you're really following me. But maybe you're right about not saying this or that is the worst. Thanks for listening.'
'Always a pleasure: you know what the hourly rate is.'
'And you know I've travelled through time. Speaking of which, I need to get back before they introduce a defrag tool instead of indexing the free blocks and file fragments.'
'Are you going to write your own defrag tool?'
'Nah, It looks like I'll have to sit this generation out. They're getting all excited about computers without daemons. I'll be punting green energy, like that which powers our nether limbs.'
At this I looked out of the window and fell into a day-dream about dragon flies; and then imagined I saw the first raster displays simultaneously with all the business plans that were hatched around them.
For the sake of my guest, who saw himself out, I must publish this as an intro while I go back to the considerations which are not a matter of history.