Don’t look back

Don’t look back. Its a line from a song, somewhere I’m sure. I don’t know which one(s). Its the cliche’d word used in many a macho-type movie by the macho leading man of the movie. Its supposed to (in my mind) represent strength and a positive ever moving forward power of determination. Never wanting to see whats already been done as there is no way to fix it if its broken. Its a relative timestamp looking from this point forward. If there’s mistakes that have been made in the past, then it is there that they will forever be because they are no more from this point forward. You can only learn from the past, and since you’re only looking forward, any past mistakes can and will only affect things from now on. You can learn from the past and have it affect the future, it sounds corny, but true. You can’t look at the past and affect what has already been done, big DUUUUUUUHHHH there!

I was talking with a coworker the other day and the topic of all of the old code that we have written over the years came up. We were wondering how it was holding up to the demands of the developers of today, if its even around or in use anymore. I know alot of the code I have written over the last 10 years is sitting in a box, packed away in some lawyers’ warehouse never to be seen again. It was good code, using a specific programming language, that doesn’t even exist anymore (really) but that had a specific purpose to it. The company that it was written for has now been swallowed up by some huge conglomerate and the historical details of the work will likely never ever be seen or heard of again. The idea of looking back from an IT/programming aspect is pointless if the code is never to be used of again. We do that here at work though only because we have legacy code that has to be used as its an integral part of the system. It was written oh so few years ago yet compared to the standards of today is laughable at best. As we delve into this code and refactor it according to current paradigms it makes us all wonder what the hell we were thinking way back then. Realize of course that “way back then” was only 2-3 years ago. For a programmer there is endless possibilities on how things could/should be done and the longer you program and the more varied your work has been over the years determines how sophisticated (or not) your current code is compared to the way it used to be. Developers are almost constantly refactoring their code, discovering new better ways of doing things. Its the idea of never looking back, except to refactor, that we must strive to continue. Don’t look back, unless you really have to.


A 6-year-old and a 4-year-old are upstairs in their bedroom. “You know what?” says the 6-year-old. “I think it’s about time we start cursing.” The 4-year-old nods his head in approval. The 6-year-old continues. “When we go downstairs for breakfast I’m going to say hell and you say ass.”

“OK!” The 4 year old agrees with enthusiasm.

Their mother walks into the kitchen and asks the 6-year-old what he wants for breakfast. “Aw hell, Mom, I guess I’ll have some Cheerios.”

WHACK! He flies out of his chair, tumbles across the kitchen floor, gets up, and runs upstairs crying his eyes out, with his mother in hot pursuit, slapping his rear every step. The mom locks him in his room and shouts “You can just stay there till I let you out!”

She then comes back downstairs, looks at the 4-year-old, and asks with a stern voice, “And what do YOU want for breakfast young man?

“I don’t know,” he blubbers, “But you can bet your ass it won’t be Cheerios!”


2 Responses to “Don’t look back”

  1. Phil McCracken Says:

    I had a friend at work…it turned out we grew up in the same neighborhood (albeit he was there 20 years before me). Well anyway, he was a COBOL coder. He wrote a lot of code for us for a long time. In 2004, he was scheduled for .NET training since we were moving to that platform.

    Then we got bought out and he got laid off. No call for COBOL coders anymore. Now he’s working on a microchip assembly line.

  2. HG Says:

    Don’t Look Back… by Boston!! Oh man… I can’t believe I actually knew a music lyric thing. I’m feeling so funky!!

    Absolutely no comment on the code thing… I am utterly and completely computer illiterate!! : )

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