The proliferation of modern programming languages (all of which seem to have

stolen countless features from one another) sometimes makes it difficult to

remember what language you're currently using. This handy reference is offered

as a public service to help programmers who find themselves in such a


TASK: Shoot yourself in the foot.

C: You shoot yourself in the foot.

C++: You accidentally create a dozen instances of yourself and shoot

them all in the foot. Providing emergency medical assistance is impossible since

you can't tell which are bitwise copies and which are just pointing at others

and saying, "That's me, over there."

FORTRAN: You shoot yourself in each toe, iteratively, until you run

out of toes, then you read in the next foot and repeat. If you run out of

bullets, you continue with the attempts to shoot yourself anyways because you

have no exception-handling capability.

Pascal: The compiler won't let you shoot yourself in the foot.

Ada: After correctly packing your foot, you attempt to concurrently

load the gun, pull the trigger, scream, and shoot yourself in the foot. When you

try, however, you discover you can't because your foot is of the wrong type.

COBOL: Using a COLT 45 HANDGUN, AIM gun at LEG.FOOT, THEN place


CHECK whether shoelace needs to be re-tied.

You shoot yourself in the appendage which holds the gun with

which you shoot yourself in the appendage which holds the gun with which you

shoot yourself in the appendage which holds the gun with which you shoot

yourself in the appendage which holds the gun with which you shoot yourself in

the appendage which holds ...

FORTH: Foot in yourself shoot.

Prolog: You tell your program that you want to be shot in the foot.

The program figures out how to do it, but the syntax doesn't permit it to

explain it to you.

BASIC: Shoot yourself in the foot with a water pistol. On large

systems, continue until entire lower body is waterlogged.

Visual Basic: You'll really only _appear_ to have shot yourself in the

foot, but you'll have had so much fun doing it that you won't care.

HyperTalk: Put the first bullet of gun into foot left of leg of you.

Answer the result.

Motif: You spend days writing a UIL description of your foot, the

bullet, its trajectory, and the intricate scrollwork on the ivory handles of the

gun. When you finally get around to pulling the trigger, the gun jams.

APL: You shoot yourself in the foot, then spend all day figuring out

how to do it in fewer characters.

SNOBOL: If you succeed, shoot yourself in the left foot. If you fail,

shoot yourself in the right foot.


% ls

foot.c foot.h foot.o toe.c toe.o

% rm * .o

rm:.o no such file or directory

% ls


Concurrent Euclid: You shoot yourself in somebody else's foot.

370 JCL: You send your foot down to MIS and include a 400-page

document explaining exactly how you want it to be shot. Three years later, your

foot comes back deep-fried.

Paradox: Not only can you shoot yourself in the foot, your users can,


Access: You try to point the gun at your foot, but it shoots holes in

all your Borland distribution diskettes instead.

Revelation: You're sure you're going to be able to shoot yourself in

the foot, just as soon as you figure out what all these nifty little

bullet-thingies are for.

dBase: You buy a gun. Bullets are only available from another company

and are promised to work so you buy them. Then you find out that the next

version of the gun is the one that is scheduled to actually shoot bullets.

PL/I: After consuming all system resources including bullets, the data

processing department doubles its size, acquires two new mainframes and drops

the original on your foot.

Assembler: You try to shoot yourself in the foot, only to discover you

must first invent the gun, the bullet, the trigger, and your foot.

You crash the OS and overwrite the root disk. The system

administrator arrives and shoots you in the foot. After a moment of

contemplation, the administrator shoots himself in the foot and then hops around

the room rabidly shooting at everyone in sight.

Modula2: After realizing that you can't actually accomplish anything

in this language, you shoot yourself in the head.

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