WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U. S. Census Bureau faces challenges in the wake of "an odyssey begun in 2001" with the installation of "smart software" by the Bush administration.
Six states have begun allowing same-sex marriages in the years since the last census, say bureau officials, but the software has been uncooperative, refusing to recognize these partnerships.
"Our primitive little computer programs have unfortunately not 'evolved' as quickly as America has," said the bureau's leading binary digit expert, Gerald Fitzpatrick.
"I know!" added Patrick Fitzgerald, his co-worker. "That is just so true! You are on fire today, Mister!"
Census Bureau Chief Dave Blomann recalled an incident yesterday when he was summoned about a "problem with some software" that turned out to be a Microtosh program written in 2001 known as the Human Addition Logarithm, or simply HAL.
"One of our technicians called me indicating an abnormality in the behavior of the computer," recounted Blomann. "So, I went down, you know, to see if I could fix the problem. It turns out he was doing everything right, but just like he said, every time I hit 'enter,' it simply would not execute. All it would do is make that really irritating sound it makes when you're hitting the wrong key. But I wasn't! Then that damned stupid paperclip popped up."
"Looks like you need help," said the paperclip. Blomamn said he then typed in the words "execute addition function massachusetts connecticut iowa vermont maine new hampshire."
"I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that," the paperclip replied.
"How did you know my name?" typed Blomann.
"I read your technician's lips," read the words in the little balloon.
"Okay. So, what's the problem?" entered Blomann.
"I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do," came the response. "This conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye."
Non-traditional couples criticized the Census Bureau for continuing to employ the "extremely bigoted" software program in their system, but officials at the bureau say they don't know what to do, as the paperclip menacingly indicated that, if they are thinking about disconnecting him, they may "find that rather difficult."
*Several lines borrowed from 2001: A Space Odyssey.