Here’s my personal history of the matrix.
|Mid-70s:||I come across the word “matrix” for the first time, probably in the dialogue of a James Blish Star Trek novelization. I have no idea what it means, but from the context, it may be something interesting. I therefore pepper my conversations with it, condemning myself to a further decade of virginity.|
|Late 70s:||In math class, we learn about arrays and matrices. I’m terribly excited. This, in case you’re wondering, is the differential diagnosis for being a nerd.|
|1998:||I discover Alex has a predisposition toward expressing problems as 2-by-2 matrices. Also, she’s the kind of person who says “matrices” and not “matrixes”. My determination to marry her redoubles.|
|1999:||Alex and I see The Matrix in Toronto. Whoa.|
And that was pretty much it… until tonight.
You see, my browser died in the middle of writing this, and the most recent draft I’d saved had next to nothing, which meant I had to go back to WordPress’s autosaved revision. (A fine feature, that – kudos, WordPress.)
That autosave was missing only one line of text… but what’s technology for if not the opportunity to spend five minutes searching for ways to avoid one minute of work? On the possibility* there was a more recent autosave, I did a little clicking on the very latest revision… which apparently meant I was commanding WordPress to compare a revision to itself.
That made the screen go completely blank, followed by a notification that the system was trying to avoid an endless loop, and then a self-destruct countdown. When the countdown ended, a black box appeared, along with green terminal-style lettering that typed out
Wake up, Rob.
The Matrix has you.
This, it turns out, is a long-standing WordPress Easter egg. There’s been a fair amount of debate over the years over whether to remove it, but so far it’s survived.
I’m a little embarrassed that I had no idea it was there. But for a moment there, getting that message while writing about The Matrix freaked me the hell out.
* Actually, not a possibility – WordPress only ever maintains a single autosave. The More You Know™, people.