We are all monsters

The scariest monsters are the ones that are almost human. Zombies, werewolves, liches. Contrast these with a Dalek – rolling trash cans with lasers don’t scare us.

People are most frightening to a group when they almost fit in, but then violate some core value. Zombies refuse to die – not acceptable. Some of us look like good Christians and then start thinking for ourselves and speaking out about it. Some of us seem perfectly mainstream but reject the sexual mores of our culture. 

Every one of us is a monster. Every one of us is different in some way, violating the expectations of our peer group. Some people spend their lives hiding it, and vocally pushing out anyone who doesn’t keep up appearances.

Code is like that too – production systems everywhere contain ugly code, code that no self-respecting programmer these days would write, code that we’d expect the hosting server to refuse to execute out of sheer good taste. Yet it’s running. Who knows, maybe the code’s author knew something we don’t.

We’re like the program with hunks of unfashionable code. We run fine in production. There’s no shame in running bad code that works. There’s no shame in being different. This makes humanity more than the sum of each human.

Sometimes I let my monster out, put my scary differences on display. People might run screaming, but the few who don’t, maybe they’re the same species of monster as me. Worth knowing.