< Riegel Entry No. 2, Code Zero >

Pharm Phantasy Series

        When I returned from Australia the first time (1972) I could hardly wait to go see my good friend Michael and all the work that he had completed on his castle since my last visit. When I left ten months previously Michael was working on a new phone/alarm system that promised to be state of the art.
        Well guess what he was doing when I returned? That’s right, he was still working on the same phone/alarm system. Although, system is not the word I should be using as it implies a ‘logical order, orderliness, definite plan, arrangement, systematic order, etc., etc.’ and Michaels phone system was none of the above. When he showed it to me and explained its capabilities, I understood the true meaning of “Rube Goldberg contraption,” yet it did work, somehow. I considered myself a little geekie at the time having completed my Architectural and Electrical Engineering degrees but was still ill prepared to comprehend this leviathan which Michael called his “Sanity.” In electronics when designs go bad they can really go BAD and only in Michael’s mind could something go this bad and still end up working properly, well, working anyway.
        This next poem is about Michael’s mind-boggling phone/alarm system (which is the subject of Michael's famous letter to Glen, reproduced on the index page), which still amazes me to this day. This poem also remains one of my favorites in the “Pharm Phantasy” series. --Ron

Code Zero

                        I believe we’ve come a long-long way
                                                            As we can call to Chesapeake Bay
                        And all because this Scottish gent
                                                            The telephone he did invent.

                        But little did he ever envision
                                                            A system with such mortal precision
                        As this orchestration of phone vanity
                                                            Which ‘Mother Goose’ calls “Sanity”.

                        If you dial the right sequence
                                                            You can electrify the fence
                        But if you slip and dial wrong
                                                            A heavenly tune might be your song.

                        By dialing code set six, seven, eight
                                                            You flush the tank and close ‘The Gate’
                        And if you want for cabbage and wine
                                                            Dial code set ninety nine.

                        If it’s in love you wish to be
                                                            Dial numbers three, three, three
                        And thru ten thousand miles of wires
                                                            Here comes all your heart desires.

                        But just remember one small thing
                                                            That if by chance your phone should ring
                        And Satan beckons your soul to go
                                                            Dial salvation at CODE ZERO!!

                                                                        —Ron Riegel

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