A few years ago I went to the Apple WWDC (World Wide Developer’s Conference) in lovely Cupertino California. I was kind of a loner at the conference. It was my first time. I was by myself and I didn’t know anybody. But I had a Mac.
Being the person that I am, I often felt like I was on the outside looking in. It was a very sociable crowd. People would get together in the hallway, sit right down on the floor, break out their titanium PowerBooks (OK, I’m showing my age), and start writing code. The halls in the convention center left ample space for this kind of interaction. I suppose, if I were really cool, I would have been in one of those groups. However, often times it was just me reading my email and waiting for the next session.
Sitting there, staring out over the hall, I had an excellent vantage point for observing my fellow Macintosh fanatics. Each morning started the same way. Around 9ish we would all stumble into the main hall. In the middle of the hall would be dozens of tables seemingly arranged at random. Upon each table a pyramid of Krispy Kreme donuts towered nearly 3 feet in the air. Literally hundreds, nay thousands of delicious donut delectations per table. Decanters of coffee lined the walls of the hall. I never saw anyone set them up – it must have been the donut fairy.
You should have seen the feeding frenzy that would erupt each morning. The ravening hordes would descend upon the innocent stacks of fluffy goodness and attack without remorse. But even the starving appetites of the Apple Illuminati could not defeat the towering Krispy Kreaminess. The mighty pyramids of sugary goodness might buckle and sway under the onslaught, but they seldom fell in the first assault.
It was with a sort of sick fascination that I observed the carnage taking place, the floor gradually getting sticky near each table. I saw a pattern emerge: observe any individual in the crowd and they would act as if the tables of donuts exerted a mysterious gravitational field. They would grab a pastry and and walk away from the table, munching contentedly and bearing an expression usually only associated with hardcore narcotics. Curiously however, their path began to describe a parabolic trajectory as they arced away from the table, reached the apogee, and then inexorably returned along their orbit to the table they had started at – helping themselves to yet another hit of the sugar filled tranquilizers.
I watched many a poor soul trapped within the sugary gravitational field of those tables, unable to avert my gaze. Good men! Decent men! Men who had families! Doomed men. Sometimes you would see a particularly pathetic example: someone caught in the gravitational tug of war between twin towers of donuts. Orbiting the two tables in a gigantic figure eight pattern. Forever to repeat their path, wearing a hole in the carpet, until either the donuts were consumed, or they were carried off on a stretcher in a diabetic coma by the convention center staff.
I have seen the face of madness and it lies like an alluring young siren in a lush field of all-you-can-eat donuts.