[FoRK] And then there's Haskell... (was: Bone / Greenspun, etc.)

Jeff Bone <jbone at place.org> on Sat Feb 24 10:09:30 PST 2007

On Feb 24, 2007, at 10:38 AM, Ken Meltsner wrote:

> Odd that this has come up -- I was just looking at Common Lisp and
> Scheme implementations, as well as a smattering of Haskellish tools

And then there's Haskell...

Haskell is like "that girl."  You know the one...

You never really went steady, but you'd run into her from time to  
time while knocking around in disreputable joints, usually late at  
night, every several months or so.  She looked so hot, so sleek, so  
sexy, so expressive, so exotic.  You'd end up back at her place and  
the night would just...  take off.  A complete blur of hot, sweaty,  
feverish, delirious, fumbling passion.  You'd do things to each  
other...  you'd do things to her, she'd do things to you...  things  
that you're not even sure have names, that you're pretty sure are  
illegal almost anywhere.  Even her kinks have kinks --- and after one  
of these nights, you'd realize that you yourself had a lot more kinks  
than you.  And it wasn't just physical, it was --- cerebral.   
Ethereal.  Transcendent.  But it would all whiz by in a blur, and by  
morning you'd find yourself lightheaded, a bit confused, and  
stumbling homeward to your regular gal.

Over the next few days and weeks you'd find yourself occasionally  
drifting away, thinking about her.  Haskell.  You'd be there, banging  
away at your regular girl, and find yourself thinking "you know, if I  
was with Haskell, I'd be doing this completely differently."  You'd  
think "I could be doing so much bigger and better stuff with  
Haskell."  Now, your regular girl, she's not as exotic as Haskell.   
Pretty, maybe, if you're lucky.  (Perhaps your regular girlfriend's  
name is Python. ;-)  But not nearly as --- weird.  Wild.  Cool.   
Exciting.  Don't get me wrong --- your girl, she's wonderful.  You've  
got a wonderful relationship.  She's --- comfortable.  You can bang  
away at her all day and night.  She's accommodating.  Easy going.   
You work well together.  But --- confidentially --- she's, well,  
maybe just a little bit boring.  You'd catch yourself thinking these  
things, and the guilty pangs would get to you...  You'd quash the  
thoughts, buckle down, and get back to banging away.  Comfortable...   
there's a lot to be said for that, ya know?  Comfortable...  just  
keep telling yourself that.

Months would go by.  Late some night you'd find yourself out,  
disreputable places again.  Maybe that hacker bar, LtU.  Somebody'd  
slip you an URL for some renegade paper, you know, one of *those*  
papers.  You'd run into Haskell again.  And the whole thing starts over.

Eventually, you're going to get the ultimatum.  Haskell's ultimately  
just like any other girl on some level;  she needs commitment.   
Eventually, after one night of wild, feverish, kinky, abstract  
passion, she's going to say to you:  "All these times, and you don't  
understand me at all!  You know, you're going to have to get serious,  
mister!  I've got needs, too.  You're going to have to get serious  
about my monads, or that's the last time you're going to play with  
them!  Got it?"

...and then, you've got to make The Choice.

Chances are, you're going to go back to your regular gal.  Haskell's  
just too much for any one man, probably.  She leaves a trail of  
broken, brainy, embittered PhDs and former programmers behind her.   
She ruins you for the RealWorld.  You can ride a while, but you  
probably can't go the distance with her.  Go back to your regular gal  
and try not to think too much about what you've seen.  Done.  Felt.   

Maybe you can salvage a little happiness;  but it'll be hard.  After  
all...  you've tasted Haskell.

She's not like anything else.


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