For my Java class, our first assignment is to write out a list of instructions for simple everyday tasks, keeping in mind all of the contingency planning in case things go wrong. The idea is that a computer takes things very literally and will often not successfully complete a task since it cannot make an assumption.
Being my snarky self, I decided to write fictitious program instructions on how to train a cat to use the toilet. One day, I would like to make this into a flowchart so it can join the ranks of all of the other everyday tasks, such as The Grad Student’s Flowchart for Doing Laundry.
Warning: it is very complex. And I have never tested whether this works. But it is totally for humor. Enjoy!
1) Do you have a toilet? (Y/N). If Yes, Proceed to Step 2.
- 1a: Go to Sears and talk to sales-person about purchasing a new toilet.
- 1b: Proceed to Step 2a: Call a plumber.
- 1c: Consult with plumber about what kind of toilet works with your plumbing
- 1d: Go back to Sears and buy toilet.
- 1e: Spend hundreds of dollars and proceed to Step 2.
- 2a: Call a Plumber
- 2b: Have plumber look at toilet and fix it. If fixed, proceed to Step 3.
- 2c: If plumber is unable to fix toilet, replace it. Repeat Steps 1a-e and 2.
- 3a) go to shelter and adopt a cat. If you are unable to adopt a cat, steal one from the crazy cat lady next door. Trust me, she won’t miss it.
- 3b) Put cat in the bathroom
- 3c) Put food dish near toilet so cat makes positive associations with it.
- 4a: Is cat too old? (Y/N). If Yes, purchaes pet ramp.
- 4b: is cat too fat? (Y/N). If Yes, put cat on diet.
- 5a: Did the cat go potty inside the house? (Y/N). If yes, give cat a stern “NO!” and proceed to Step 8.
- 5b: Did the cat go potty outside the house?(Y/N). If yes, you probably have an outdoor cat, and really do not need to train a cat to use the toilet since you rarely have to clean the litter box. Proceed to END TASK.
11) Decide that the cat’s evil glare as you wait for him to do his business is not effective, as he has made it clear through his death stare that he will not, under any circumstances, bow to your wishes.
12) Go to Sears and buy camera for bathroom (referred to from now on as CatCam.
13) Install CatCam per product instructions (refer to separate program entitled “Vague Instructions in 145 Different Languages”) and connect it to your wireless device. If you do not own a wireless device, END TASK, as you are therefore not a functioning member of society and thus unable to perform a complex task such as training an unyielding animal to effectively utilize a toilet.
- 14a) Find receipt (you never throw those away, right….right??!!). Since you totally threw it away…
- 14a-1) Call geek friend and pray he can fix it. If so, proceed to Step 15.
- 14a-2) If no, go to paint store and find colors that match your shower curtain. Skip Steps 15-17. Repeat Steps 9-10 and pray.
- 14b) You have the receipt, which means that the planets have aligned, Jesus has returned, and you are existing in a transcendent universe where cats do, in fact, use the toilet. Therefore, proceed to END TASK.
15) Go to Starbucks.
16) Order an over-priced sugarbomb latte and turn on your CatCam. Repeat Steps 9 and 10 as your glucose levels spike to Pluto.
17) Rush home when cat finally does do his business.
18) Place a cat treat on flusher
19) Does cat operate the flushing mechanism by reaching for the treat? (Y/N). If yes, give cat another treat. If no, manually place cat’s hand on flusher and provide treat.
20) Hide litterbox and place catnip near toilet. If cat decides to go potty inside the house (which he will just to spite you) repeat Steps 5a, 6, and 8.
21) Continue repeating Steps 8-19 until cat finally gets it.
22) If you wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and the cat is in there reading the Wall Street Journal, congrats! You have successfully trained the cat to use the toilet!
23) Smile in satisfaction as you hear the flush.