Three Old Men Drinking Tea

Years ago, a friend took me to see an exhibit of Chinese paintings in Edinburgh. I liked one so much that I picked up a print (which I have long since lost). for one called, "Three Old Men Drinking Tea." As near as I can recall, the text said, "The first figure is the Buddha: he is frowning because the tea is bitter. The second, Lao Tzu, is smiling because the tea is warm, while the third represents Confucius, who is ignoring the tea and studying the cup very closely."

I think about those three old men a lot when I'm working with other programmers. Some are perpetually grumpy because things are perpetually broken (and yes, I count myself among their number). Others can always find some new meme or tool to be pleased about—so pleased that they insist on always using the latest hotness for everything, even when stuff that's old enough to be properly tested and documented would do the job equally well. And the third group: well, they're the ones who argue endlessly about bracing and indentation, or insist that rebasing every chain of commits in Git is the only right and proper thing to do.

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