It's the 1970s, and this student pilot fish is working on the final exam for his Data Structures course -- which consists of a single mainframe assembly-language program.
"The homework/final was a program that was made of the various data structures and their access and handling," says fish. "The final grade was from the completed program at the end of the semester.
"By that time, my program was almost a full tray of 5,000 punch cards.
"To submit your program, you handed it to an operator across a counter, who took it to the input queue. I slid my tray to the operator. He grabbed the front and kept it sliding across the counter. He reached for the back of the tray -- and missed.
"The tray did a 180, and dropped the cards to the floor. As I came around the counter, he backed up to the wall and said, 'Don't hit me!'
"I had no idea of hitting him. I went straight to the cards on the floor. I carefully put the cards back in the tray, with the help of a lot of felt-tip marker stripes that I had used to mark different routines, along with diagonal strips that marked the order of cards in those routines.
"I submitted the run. It was carried very carefully to the input queue -- and the results came back with only one card out of place."
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