Kent Douglass

Kent Douglass was a fixture in our area for many years: doing marketing, technical support, system administration, even documentation. I have known him for more than twenty years; we ran into each other regularly in the '70s in the computer labs at Colorado State University, from which he got his Ph.D. A man of many talents, Kent is a ham radio operator, has been an emergency-response coordinator for Larimer County, Colorado, and now, in addition to working at HP, he owns and operates the DeColores Llama Ranch. This farewell poem was written when Kent moved to a different department to devote himself full-time to HP's Y2K preparation.

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Farewell to Doc Douglass
Copyright 1998 David Arns

Now, where should I begin to talk of Kent?
The many years at HP that he spent?
Or perhaps much farther back, straying off the beaten track,
And seek out the hidden secrets and each miniscule event
Of his life, and make them known without consent?

Well, I remember back at CSU,
When my jobs would be just sitting in the queue,
Little did I know, back so many years ago,
That 99% of all the students' jobs were overdue
Because of programs done by you-know-who.

His programs in the middle seventies
Brought CSU's computer to its knees:
See, his programs would recurse, filling up the universe,
And then all the other programs, be they students' or the faculty's,
Would slow down to a crawl, or simply freeze.

And when talking on the air, he's quite a ham,
(Since he passed his last ham radio exam).
Though he's not a radio star, like so many others are,
When he talks across the world, he is happy as a clam,
As he talks to folks from Spain or Vietnam.

He used ham radio and, of course, his pager
When emergencies came up, both small and major.
When a bear attacked and mauled, or a climber took a fall,
Though he seems so calm and cool, and much sharper than a razor,
His adrenalin was going strong, I'll wager.

And here at work we've seen his contributions
In taming some of troff's convolutions
(Though how thankful we should be is not obvious to me,
Now that troff is considered the computing world's pollution);
But Kent did his part with flawless execution.

And his legendary sys administrations
Are well-known to those of us who use workstations.
Our first line of defense was that magic touch of Kent's,
And no matter what the bug was and no matter its location,
It'd be squashed, and we'd resume our computation.

And of course, we can't forget his llamas,
Which he breeds and sells to kids, their dads and mamas.
In the middle of the night, way before the morning light,
He often helps a dam give birth, wearing only his pajamas,
And then sells the cria and goes to the Bahamas.

Well, I s'pose we'd better bring this to an end
And bid farewell to our curmudgeon friend
Now he'll work on Y2K so there'll never come the day
Our computers, which we've learned to love, on which we all depend,
Will up and croak at next December's end!

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