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This is a continuation of A Cadence Carol. Be sure to read the previous installments!
Yes! And the television was Ben Easer’s own. The bed was his own, the room was his own. Best and happiest of all, the Time before him was his own, to make amends in!
“I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future!” Ben repeated as he scrambled out of bed. “The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. Oh, Moore! Heaven and the holidays be thanked for this! I say it on my knees, old Joe, on my knees!”
He was so fluttered and glowing with his good intentions that his broken voice would scarcely work. “I scarcely know what to do!” cried Ben, laughing and crying in the same breath, and tripped over his trousers. “I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a schoolboy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry day to everyone! A happy New Year to all the world!” He saw the remains of last night’s tacos and was off again. “There’s the crumbled taco shell! There’s the television through which I traveled! There’s where old Moore’s ghost sat! It’s all right, it’s all true, it all happened. Ha ha ha ha!”
Really, for a man who had been out of practice for so many years, it was a splendid laugh, a most illustrious laugh. The father of a long, long line of brilliant laughs!
“I don’t know what day of the month it is!” said Ben. “I don’t know how long I’ve been among the Spirits. I don’t know anything. I’m quite a baby. Never mind. I don’t care. I’d rather be a baby. Hallo! Whoop! Hallo here!”
Running to the window, he opened it and put out his head. No fog, no mist or rain; clear, bright, jovial, stirring cold; cold, even for California, piping for the blood to dance to; sweet fresh air that gets the neurons firing.
“What’s today!” cried Ben, calling downward to a boy in school clothes, who had perhaps loitered in his morning ablutions and was now running late.
“Today? Why, it’s Tuesday.”
“It’s Tuesday!” cried Ben to himself. “I haven’t missed the week. The Spirits have done it all in one night. Of course they can! Hallo, my fine fellow!”
“Hello?” returned the boy.
“Do you know the electronics store in the next block, on the corner?”
“I should hope I did,” replied the lad.
“An intelligent boy!” said Ben. “Do you know whether they’ve sold the huge drone on display there?”
“What, the one as big as me?” returned the boy.
“What a delightful boy!” said Ben. “Yes, of course!”
“It’s hanging there now,” replied the boy.
“It is! Well, go and buy it.”
“Right,” said the boy. “I’ll totally buy that for you. Can I get you a whole server while I’m at it? And maybe an X-Box and portable sound system? And a 77-inch smart T.V. Anything else?”
“No, no, I mean it! Here’s my credit card!” he flung it out the window. “Come back in half an hour, and I’ll get you an iThing!”
The boy was off like a shot. “Somehow I think maybe that wasn’t the best idea,” said Ben to himself. Indeed, it was the last time he ever saw that credit card and ended up having to cancel it. Still, his intentions were good, and he headed to the electronics store himself as soon as he was dressed in his Tuesday best.
“I’ll send the drone to the Cratchit’s! He and his interns should have a great deal of fun, and they won’t know who sent it. I bet it moves twice as fast as Tiny Time!”
After purchasing the drone and sending it to the Cratchit’s tiny garage office, he put on his jacket and headed over to the Cadence Headquarters, to see Fred the AE, all the while having new ideas and insights into his business that he could implement right away, as well as those that needed planning and foresight, about which he wanted to discuss with Fred.
As he arrived on the Cadence campus and went to the building where he knew that Fred had his office, he had some momentary pangs for the ways he had treated Fred in the past, but finally, he roused his courage and spoke to the receptionist. As Fred entered the reception area, Ben cried out, “Fred!”
“Why bless my soul!” cried Fred, “Who’s that?”
“It’s I, your friend, Ben. I have come for coffee. Will you let me in, Fred?”
Let him in! It is a mercy he didn’t shake his arm off. Ben felt at home in five minutes. Fred took him to a conference room where he brought in several colleagues, where they gabbed and threw about ideas hither and thither, with Ben finally becoming so excited about the possibilities of the future he could scarcely speak.
But he was early at the office next morning. Oh, he was early, intending to catch the Cratchits coming late! That was the thing he had set his heart upon.
And he did it, yet he did! The clock struck nine. No Cratchits. A quarter past. No Cratchits. They were full eighteen minutes behind their time. Ben sat with his door wide open, that he might seem them come into the Tank.
They both threw open their laptops before they had even taken off their coats, as if they were trying to overtake the clock with their fastidiousness, as if they could fool the most fastidious of workers, Ben Easer of Skrooj, Inc.
“Hallo!” growled Ben, in his accustomed voice, as near as he could feign it. “What do you mean by coming here at this time of day?”
“I am very sorry sir,” said Bob. “I am behind my time.”
“You are?” repeated Ben. “Yes, I think you both are. Step this way, if you please.”
“It’s only once a year, sir,” pleaded Mary, appearing from the side. “It shall not be repeated. We were making rather merry yesterday, someone sent us a drone that went everso fast, we lost track…”
“Now I’ll tell you what, my friends,” said Ben. “I am not going to stand for this sort of thing any longer. And therefore,” he continued, leaping from his desk and giving Bob and Mary such a friendly push that they staggered back; “and therefore I am about to raise your salary!”
Mary trembled and Bob got a little nearer to a coat stand, both having the momentary idea of knocking Ben down with it, and calling to the people in the nice white coats to come take him away.
“Oh, Bob, Oh, Mary, I haven’t taken leave of my senses, truly I have not! I had such a revelation over the night that I have turned things right around from bottom to up, right side to left! Please, do—tell me what ideas you have had about this new machine learning algorithms. I bet—no, don’t interrupt—I bet there is a new little algorithm that you have developed that will make everyone’s jobs just a little bit easier, a little bit faster,” Ben walked them to their computers and sat down between them. “I suspect,” he continued, “that P&R takes such a tiny TIME,” his eyes twinkled, “that I will scarcely believe it.”
“Oh, but sir! Tiny Time is part of our little startup!” said Bob, before Mary punched him.
“Bob! That’s confidential! Ben hasn’t signed an NDA!” she said.
“No matter, no matter!” said Ben. “Let us discuss your startup. I have a mind to purchase your little company and bring all of your interns on here, just as Cadence does. I know that Cadence gives invaluable experience to those entering the industry, as well as refreshing the ideas for EDA with new insights and innovations. We could use a little of that around, here, what?”
Mary and Bob looked at each other, dumbfounded. “All of our interns?” asked Mary.
“Why yes! And maybe more, even! Who else knows about this machine learning that the young folks are doing nowadays!”
Ben was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Time, who did NOT die, he was a second developer of the little algorithm that could. He bought the struggling startup and employed so many interns and young women and men just starting out, that Skrooj, Inc. became known as an incubator for new ideas in the EDA world, exploring the use of deep learning and photovoltaics for moving beyond Moore’s Law. Ben Easer became as good a friend, font of ideas, and employer of measured risk-taking as Silicon Valley had ever seen.
Ben had no further visits with Spirits, other than the occasional one in his tankards and glasses to toast the introductions and successes of new products ever afterward. Ben Easer looked beyond what was, and strove to build laws of creativity and new ideas, open to taking help when it is offered, and looked ahead not with cynicism, but with optimism. And it was always said of him that he knew how to keep innovation well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.
And so, as Tiny Time observed… well, he didn’t observe anything. He was an algorithm. But still, the world was better because of it.
This has been a retelling of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, told with an EDA point of view. The author does hope that you enjoyed it, and that Charles Dickens, wherever he may be, will forgive her for the liberties taken in the telling.