History of the Original Packet-Pocket Poem

Illustrations by Mary Hamilton

It was writted late one night in the fall of 1994 after my four year old grandson and his older brother (see photo below) had significantly rearranged the resources on my Macintosh. It was posted on a Delphi newsgroups and went instantly viral worldwide. It was published by NetGuide Magazine, March 95, p86, and in the Seattle Times, Sunday Edition August 13th, 1995, and has generated thousands of fan messages over the past 17 years. A Web search today on "If a packet hits a pocket" will usually turn up 1,810,000 copies posted hither, thither, and yon.

Unfortunately, the internet being what it is, some scoundrel of questionable ethical standards edited the poem, reduced it by half, removed my name, and recirculated it under the title "If Dr. Seuss were a Technical Writer", attributed to the ever prolific "Anonymous." Dr. Zseuss, the real Dr. Seuss impersonator, responded with "Hang the Information Highwayman" in the summer of 95.

The original A Grandchild's Guide to Using Grandpa's Computer is a very popular, often published, and frequently stolen poem written in classical Dr. Seuss, Cat-In-Hat style. The poem has a colorful history of both pain and pleasure for the author. Read and enjoy, but don't steal. 

Hang the Information Highwayman!  is a poetic appeal for respect for another's written words, provoked by abuses of "Grandchild's Guide". This one has been adopted by various writing programs and teachers groups around the world to teach internet publishing ethics. 

BTW: The younger of these two inspirations is now a computer science graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnical Institute and an employee of Apple Computer. The older is a budding rock star.