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The Programmer’s Native Tongue

Mark Mzyk | March 5, 2008

Programmers are probably some of the most sarcastic people I know (myself included).

What tends to make programmers sarcastic?  Is it because we deal with machines all day and since the machines aren’t talking we need to fill the silence somehow?  I hope not, although there’s probably some truth to that.

I think it’s the human aspect of programming that makes programmers so sarcastic.  It’s because we have to deal with other people.

I can reason my way through code.  There are some people I’m never going to be able to reason to, no matter how hard I try.

Sarcasm is a natural reaction.

It’s the perfect way to lighten the mood when I feel like I’m about to snap.  I get to express my feelings while adding a dab of humor to take the edge off (or heighten the edge – it all depends on technique).

Sarcasm also has the added benefit of allowing me to point out the absurdities of my current situation by using the language of the current situation.  I get to stay in the moment while making fun of the moment.

Sarcasm is very cerebral humor.  It can take many forms, but to comprehend it you need an understanding of the situation and a quick wit.  Sarcasm has an underlying structure, like code, that is easy for programmers to parse, but for the general population the nuances are usually lost.  Because of this it has become a second language for programmers.

It adds up to programmers being a very sarcastic bunch.  Throw in the usual irreverence many programmers have and it leads to a caustic environment.  Which is the best kind, in my opinion.  It keeps life interesting and it keeps me on my toes.