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Thursday, April 21 12:00 AM ET

Grim Reaper to License "Blue Screen of Death" from Microsoft

By Richard Tjoa

Redmond , WA - In a joint news conference, the Grim Reaper today announced the signing of a ten-year contract to use Microsoft's "fatal system error" screen--popularly known as the "Blue Screen of Death" or "BSOD"--in his company's life termination procedures.

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"Death is a scary new experience to most people," said Mr. Reaper in a prepared statement. "We wanted to make it more modern, more definitive, and more user-friendly, by presenting it in a manner already familiar to millions of computer users across the globe."

"The Blue Screen of Death first made its debut in Windows 3.1 in 1990," said Bill Gates, Microsoft founder, chairman and chief software architect. "Since then, we've poured millions of worker-hours into Microsoft Windows to keep it at the forefront of BSOD technology."

Mr. Reaper said, "Most people just glance at a BSOD before immediately moving on. They don't linger on it for long.

Our implementation should get souls moving through limbo much more quickly."

Mr. Gates quickly added, "Extensive human interface testing has proven that BSOD's trademark look--bold white text on a bright blue background--won't be mistaken for anything else... Not a coma, nor a persistent vegetative state, nor a bad hangover."

Until this agreement, news of one's death could have come in myriad ways. For example, 'sudden death' might be heralded by a quick loss of consciousness, an icy feeling, and a rapid enveloping in black. A 'lingering illness,' however, might subject a person to bouts of consciousness and increasing pallor, along a slow fade to their eventual death, over a span of weeks or years.

Now, with BSOD-enabled deaths, there will be a clear message that someone has passed away.

"There were literally dozens of ways to die, and from each of our basic frameworks, we'd have to customize just the right mix of temperature, otherworldliness, and lighting effects. It's a labor intensive process," said Mr. Reaper. "Standardizing on Microsoft Windows BSOD technology will allow us to provide uniform, high-quality death experiences."

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Not everyone was pleased with the licensing deal. Hikaru Shinkansen, a resident of Nagoya, Japan, and, at 131, the world's oldest man, was disappointed with the change.

"For the past 50 years, I've been waiting for my special meeting with Shinigami [as Grim Reaper Ltd., Japan is known locally], but now I feel cheated!" Mr. Shinkansen said angrily through an interpreter.

Mr. Reaper's Hell-based company will give Microsoft access to 20 percent of the souls whose corporeal existence was terminated using Microsoft technology. On their release from purgatory, it is expected that these souls will be put to work patching security holes in Microsoft's Windows operating system.

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