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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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Just-In-Time Toweling

As a professional computer programmer, I’m quite familiar with the concept of JIT, or ‘just-in-time’ compilation. It means code that isn’t pre-compiled, nor is it compiled at runtime. Instead, it’s compiled ‘just-in-time’, right before it’s needed.

(Okay, so I don’t understand completely what all that means. It sounds pretty complicated, figuring out when you’re going to need some bit of code, and then traveling back in time and compiling it just before. Sounds pretty exhausting, if you ask me. Those magic little gnomes that live inside of computers must be getting overtime pay for this sort of nonsense. I hope they’ve got a good union.)

“It’s mostly a ‘behind-the-scenes’ thing, where compilers and interpreters and runtime engines apparently get together for a few femtoseconds to snicker behind our backs and decide how best to choke on whatever buggy piece of crap we’ve desperately slapped together. “

As cool and mysterious as this sounds, I have to admit that I’ve never had occasion to apply JIT theory to any code I’ve personally written. It’s mostly a ‘behind-the-scenes’ thing, where compilers and interpreters and runtime engines apparently get together for a few femtoseconds to snicker behind our backs and decide how best to choke on whatever buggy piece of crap we’ve desperately slapped together. So I’ve not had direct experience with JIT insofar as my job is concerned.

Usually, it comes up when I’m doing laundry.

Like tonight, for instance. It’s Thursday. Not a weekend. There’s no such thing as laundry on weekdays. It’s preposterous to even consider. Like Christmas in July or meatloaf of Tuesdays. Preposterous.

On the other hand, there’s only one towel left in the linen closet. And as much as I give the impression that I live a ‘Penthouse Letters’ kind of life — the strong, totally plausible impression, damn you — it’s awfully unlikely that my wife will share the towel with me in the morning.

Seriously. She makes me Simonize her couch if I sit on it. The towel is a no-go. I’d be lucky to get ‘drippy seconds’ out of it.

So I’m doing a batch of ‘just-in-time’ laundry, to make sure I have something to dry off with tomorrow that’s fluffy and soft. And not the dog. Again.

(She’s not so bad drying around the front. But if you try to swish her back and forth across your back, she tends to pee.

And then you need another dog to sponge up that mess. What am I, made of dogs over here? Too hard.)

So I threw a few towels into the wash. And, since I’m all strategic and junk, I selectively slipped a few other items in with them. A pair of jeans. Socks for tomorrow. And my lucky red-heart silk underpants.

Because you never know. Maybe she will share that lonely towel, after all. A man’s got to dress for the occasion he wants — right?

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