It was a day in March.
Never, never begin a story this way when you write one. No opening could possibly be worse. It is unimaginative, flat, dry and likely to consist of mere wind. But in this instance it is allowable. For the following paragraph, which should have inaugurated the narrative, is too wildly extravagant and preposterous to be flaunted in the face of the reader without preparation.
Sarah was crying over her bill of fare.
Think of a New York girl shedding tears on the menu card!
To account for this you will be allowed to guess that the lobsters were all out, or that she had sworn ice-cream off during Lent, or that she had ordered onions, or that she had just come from a Hackett matinee. And then, all these theories being wrong, you will please let the story proceed.
– “Springtime A La Carte” Author: O Henry
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Liebniz dreamed grandly of mechanizing algebra and even reason itself. “We may give final praise to the machine,” he wrote. “It will be desirable to all who are engaged in computations … the managers of financial affairs, the administrators of others’ estates, merchants, surveyors, geographers, navigators, astronomers. … For it is unworthy of excellent men to lose hours like slaves in the labor of calculation.”
p. 93 The Information, James Gleick, 2011 Fourth Estate, London