10 PRINT "Hello World!"
20 GOTO 10
Last month Slate published one of their more high brow listicles called The Lines of Code That Changed Everything. One of the pieces of code included was a early representative of the "Hello, World!" beginners' programme.
Memories of a hundred aborted attempts to learn to code came flooding back. But amongst this tsunami of frustration one triumph flickered in the darkness, etched in my memory in both the glowing green text of an Apple II monitor and the light grey on blue of a C64 connected to an flickering TV:
10 PRINT "DICK" 20 GOTO 10
I still remember the little surge of transgressive excitement as I called my friend over and hit Enter. Seeing his face when that ever-so-naughty word repeated to infinity on a school computer was a delight.
I drew my fair share of cock-and-balls in Logo and a bit later on I was known to scrawl FUCK in MacPaint, cover it with the fill tool then toggle that one-step undo back and forth like there was no tomorrow.
But there was nothing like the first time you made a computer call your best mate a "DICK".