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    Skiffy, Yawning

Frequently-Asked Question

Does Jeffry Dwight ever sleep?

Skiffy says:

Believe it or not, this question pops up more often than any other. Unfortunately, no one really knows the answer. There are, however, a number of theories to account for the impression that Jeffry is always awake:

  1. Jeffry is a robot or computer. This theory is very popular among the science fiction writers. They point out that no one has seen Jeffry eat or sleep, that he appears to have no emotions, and that he has been known to call the SFF Net computers "my idiot sons" from time to time. Some writers report that punching MYCROFT into the phone sometimes results in a connection to someone who says, "Hi, this is Mike. I mean Jeffry. Damn, which novel is this...?" followed by a click and an ominous hum.

  2. Jeffry is a committee. This theory surfaced after someone stumbled on the awful truth about the Hardy Boys (see Google), and realized the same thing might be happening here. Perhaps there was a real Jeffry at some point in the past, but now "Jeffry" is a highly-trained team of researchers, writers, programmers, pettifoggers, dweebs, and...well, you get the idea. Proponents of this theory claim that the Jeffry Team uses a special word processor that automatically rewords everything they write to ensure a clean, even flow that doesn't vary from person to person.

  3. Jeffry is a ghost. Not to be left out, the horror writers have their own theory. The ghost theory claims that Jeffry departed this mortal coil in the midst of answering techsupport email one afternoon and failed to notice his death. Ever since then, his spirit has been typing away, answering question after question, while all the time at the back of his mind, he knows that something is dreadfully wrong. If he ever looks away from the keyboard, he'll learn that he's dead and evaporate on the spot. A dedicated group of afterlife scientists have set up an electronic ouija email client that detects when Jeffry is about to finish answering the last letter in the techsupport queue, and quickly sends another letter to distract him. Since ouija-generated techsupport questions can't be distinguished from human-generated letters, we can neither prove nor disprove this theory.

  4. Jeffry is a prisoner. This theory arose from Jeffry's own so-called joking references to being chained to the chair. Cryptographers wondering if this was a hint examined all of Jeffry's known writings for hidden messages. They claim to have discovered that Jeffry's emails and newsgroup posts often use advanced steganographic techniques to hide secret messages within the ordinary words of techsupport answers. The secret messages are only discernable through sophisticated analysis of thousands and thousands of emails and posts. Sometimes only one letter from one word in an email contributes to the secret message, and in one case, the dots from two different lower-case i characters were combined to form an umlaut for another letter in another email, transforming a word from English into German and completely changing the meaning. For Jeffry's security, further details are being suppressed until the rescue parties actually find and free him. The following messages, however, have been declassified: "I'm chained to the chair," "They feed me with a tube," and "My crayon is yellow." A controversial decoding of "Huh?" yields "Push through the coats until you see the lamp post in the woods. Ask the faun for directions to the Queen's house. I'm in the dungeon next to the stone lion." The controversy centers on the word "stone." Some experts believe it should be "stoned," while others say the entire word is merely an artifact of the encrypting process and should be ignored. However, all of the experts are stunned at the incredible compression ratios Jeffry achieves.


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