What Terms Mean


Things have been getting a little lax around here, so it’s time to update the terms of service. Please review all these terms and/or conditions and indicate your preference to the waiter.

  1. This document shall be known for the purposes of this document as “this document”. If this document should be referred to for the purposes of some other document then this document may be known as “that document”, in which case all conditions and terms will continue to apply with the appropriate change of referent, except where they are obviously making things up in order to win sympathy. No, neither this document nor that document have to attend the funeral of their grandmother right during the scheduled exam, and their grandmother is a bit tired of all these funerals anyway.
  2. “You” in this document will mean you, the person to whom this document is addressed or who this document is addressing. You will continue to be you until you finally finish that course on the philosophical problems of identity. At that point you will be forced to admit that identity is an even harder thing to pin down than free will, but it does often make for a convenient fiction and even more compelling memoir. Your memoir will be retracted by the publishers following the discovery of apparently plagiarized portions regarding your time spent exploring the Indian Ocean for King Filipe II of Portugal, 1598 – 1621.
  3. Other persons to be addressed in this document will be known as “Mike”. “Mike” serves as a perfectly clear, unambiguous name and there do seem to be a lot of people by that name around, so it is likely their name already. In the event that “Mike” will not do or the section was copied without correction from the old terms of service, the name “Mark” will be used instead, excepting in those cases within which “Matt” is needed to differentiate between Mike and any Kings of Portugal, past or fictional.
  4. This document shall apply except in such cases in which this document shall not apply. In the event that portions of this document do not apply, those portions of this document which are not the portions of this document which do not apply shall apply. In the event that no portion of this document shall apply then you, or a designated other person who shall be designated “you” for the purposes of applying this document in cases of its non-applicability and the futility of the notion of identity under a thoughtful investigation, shall be entitled to apply for a full refund on return of the applicable portions of this document with the enclosed coupon, omitted for clarity. You might think this would go without saying, but you know how bad you imagine the meetings where we worked all this out were? They were eight percent worse.
  5. The only thing more exhausting than a fanboy explaining what is and is not canon is two fanboys explaining their complete agreement about what is and is not canon. In communications with us you agree not to do that, on pain of being mocked by our social-media teams.
  6. In using this service or services you agree that there is some service or services you intend to use. This document agrees that you could certainly do worse than to do so. In the event of your doing worse your recourse shall be limited to sulking about us, unless you are able to create one of those Internet social-media dogpiles where everybody is briefly angry at us and we can’t just wait it out for the next Internet social-media dogpile and what are the price of anti-AIDS drugs like these days anyway, dear service use agreement-maker?
  7. From time to time we will gather information and share it with the marketing department. They may go on to share or sell it with or to their partners, corporate or romantic, or with such government agencies as might seem interested. For example: in 1875 the Harvard Observatory earned $2,400 by selling astronomically-based time signals over the telegraph. Don’t you think Mike would like to know something like that? Mark does. If you wish to opt out of this information-gathering and distribution scheme we imagine you’re also always one passing comment away from explaining DuckDuckGo to everybody and you can just sit down, thank you. We stipulate to having heard you already.
  8. Agreement to these terms will be marked by Mark, you, Mike, Matt, Other Mark, and Other You where applicable stepping away from the table and making a clear, distinct “whew” audible to other persons who need not be there. If you are not at or cannot be near a table, drape a merry cloth not less than 280 years old across your lap and declare that to be your portable table. Then continue on as before.

That’s about everything. Thanks, everyone, for getting this cleared up. Please direct any questions to the Head of the Internet, at the usual address.

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Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there.

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