commas, tabs, and slashes

And if that title has you thinking "Lawyers, Guns, and Money" you have identified its scansion.

I have a document. It is a Word document. It is 150 pages long, single-spaced. (You know where this is leading can't be good). This document is an index of sorts, and has been around for some years. It has a number of different fonts and colors in it.

Now, to my way of thinking, this document shouldn't be a Word document. This document should be, oh, an Access database.

I saved this document as a text document to strip out what I can of the formatting that ails it. Now, I want to ship the contents of the document to Access (which is usually not the direction that data goes with Access and Word, I admit). Even I know that the document should be comma-delimited or tab-delimited so that the data will pigeonhole itself in the db that I just created to receive it.

Now, the original author of this document, PBUH, in his or her exuberance, liberally sprinkled this document with a number of commas AND tabs. AND slashes where there should be a delimiting mark, comma or tab, pick one. AND slashes as well where there must not be a delimiting mark of any sort, so I can't do a global search-and-replace on the slashes.

I speculate that this is because no one thought enough about the function of the original document when it was created to understand that the information in the document was a database, and not simple text.

And that is why I am still working at 11 p.m. thinking evil thoughts about the original author of this document.

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