The Emperor’s BlackBerry

May 6, 2013, 12:37 PM UTC

Long ago, in the Forbidden City
An Emperor sat upon a golden throne.
He spent all day in meeting and committee
And he was always busy, and alone.

But when there was a pause in his proceedings
He went into his fine and private place
Suspended all his pleasantries and greetings
And all the other nonsense in his face

And far from prying eyes and small frustrations
In quiet joy that no one else could see
He spent some time in close communications
With friends and family on his BlackBerry.

“Ah me!” he said to his assistants.
“I love this simple, useful small device!
I love real keys that offer nice resistance
It does one thing and really does it nice.”

And so the years went by, as years will do
With ups and downs and duties without ending
Until one day there came a hipster who
Had something new and cool and very trending.

The Emperor gazed upon the apparatus
That gleamed and chuckled in his royal hand
Exuding loads of awesome social status.
“I want it,” came the imperious command.

And so, that very day in the Forbidden City
The Emperor sat upon his golden throne
And poked his screen, and had a chat with Siri
And otherwise enjoyed his new iPhone.

And his former friend the BlackBerry
Was tossed into a drawer in his credenza
Where it sickened and, with a sigh,
Expired like a dog with influenza.

One morning, then, while playing Angry Birds,
A serious e-mail surfaced on his toy
One that needed more than simple words
Like Yes or No or See Me or Oh Boy.

He flew across the virtual keyboard with his thumbs
As with his former friend he once had used.
Then: “Give me Advil and a roll of Tums,
This makes me look as if I’m full of booze.”

For while the Emperor thought that he had wrote
“Let’s not take a stupid risk like that.”
The iPhone’s spell check took that by the throat
And rendered, “Lemmings sat upon my hat.”

“This thing is useless in a business sense,”
The Emperor said. “It doesn’t do what it oughta.
My fingers are too fat, my thumbs too dense,
And this virtual keyboard truly sucks hose water.”

And then he saw the error of his ways
That while a thing may sing and dance and play
There are some actual responsibilities
A tool must fulfill if it expects to stay.

So all his functionaries and viziers
Hustled to the credenza drawer
But nothing that they did, nor all their tears,
Could make the little BB work no more.

They placed it in the Emperor’s chubby hand.
“It’s dead,” they told him. “We’ve tried all the tips.”
“All shall wear black today throughout my land,”
The Emperor said, and put the BlackBerry to his lips.

And then the most amazing thing occurred:
The screen blipped once, then twice, then like a song,
The lights came on, it chirped, and like a bird,
The thing was ready! (Though its clock was wrong.)

“From this time forth!” the Emperor crowed,
“While other gadgets may be used for fun
Our humble little friend here will be stowed
Next to our hearts. For business? It’s the one.”

And that is how it goes unto this day
In one pocket, the iPhone, for satisfaction,
And in the other, well, you know who, okay?
For when the pedal goes down and it’s time for action.

This poem is from the May 20, 2013 issue of Fortune.

Follow Stanley Bing at and on Twitter at @thebingblog.

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