Chapter 5

W. Web finally makes it to the Big City on his first mission from the compound. In other news, I’m beat.

W. Web stepped off the bus and forced a nervous swallow as he entered the crowd of noise and signs. He had arrived as close to the heart of Application Square as the bus could get, which was about two blocks away. As far as he could see, up to the big plaza in the distance, were URIs and other regulars of their crowd, holding signs and milling about. It was not unlike a football game, Web thought, remembering videos of tailgating parties that had been uploaded to him before.

He waded through the URIs trying to get closer to the square. The URIs were tall, French Fry-like creatures with short, stubby legs and tyrannosaurus-like arms. For some reason, they all talked like they were from the Bronx, even the Unicode ones. As groups of them chanted their slogans, their nasal voices occasionally cracked at the exciting parts.

No wonder these guys get pushed around, Web thought.

The real geeks were the ones that hadn’t even bothered to register domain names for themselves. IP addresses blazoned up their chests, they were a bit pastier than the others and were wearing thick glasses.

“Hey, watch it! Geez, buddy, can’t we even get some respect at our own protest?”

Web had been searching for the stage so hard that he had inadvertently walked straight into one of them.

“Oh! I’m sorry…uh, 208.97.177.118,” Web said, tilting his head sideways to read the IP address written up its chest, “I was just looking for the main stage. Do know if there is one?”

“What am I, DNS? That resource is 301 Moved Permanently! Aheiahahiaha!” the URI snorted in reply.

Web stood there unsure of what to say.

“Hey, loosen up, buddy,” the URI punched him in the shoulder, “it’s a beautiful day. The stage is over that way,” he gestured with his fry-like head.

“Thanks, I appreciate it. Say, what exactly are you protesting?”

“You mean nobody gave you a pamphlet?,” the creature exclaimed, “those dynamic URIs, you can never count on them to be there when you need ‘em. We’re protesting the ‘stablishment, buddy boy, cause we get no respect and its time we deserve some.”

“What do you mean,” Web said, “everyone uses you guys. You’re great – you should see how large my browser’s bookmark folder is! In fact just the other day I saw one of you on a billboa–”

“Use us and throw away, use us and throw away. That’s the way it always happens. Throw-away labels, that’s what we are. Nobody stops to think that we’ve got depth to us. Do you think we like being three-hundred characters long? ‘Oh, doesn’t matter,’ you say ‘nobody ever stopped to appreciate the beauty of just a mere URI!’ Just a mere URI?!”

It didn’t give Web a chance to respond.

“And social services - we deserve them too. Do you know how much funding unit tests got last year? Over 1.2 billion. Billion! Ya know how much we got? Didn’t think so – well I’ll tell ya - a big zero. Zilch. Nothin. How’s it come about that we’re the face of the internet and nobody’s ever stopped to think that we need attention too?”

Web could see that this was the beginning of a long rant this URI had given many times before and knew he had to get to the stage before things wound down.

“I couldn’t agree more. We need more funding devoted to URIs,” he said hurriedly, “Look, I’m sorry to run, but I’ve really got to get to that stage. Thanks for your help!”

And before the URI could say anything more Web had pushed back into the crowd, weaving his way forward toward the edge of the square.