I wouldn't necessarily say that The Variable was a "joke" per se. It is simply something that we believe
should exist in programming languages based on our (evolving) understanding of how they work - much like the Insane Clown Posse's evolving understanding of magnets
- but that we have never actually been able to prove have (or can) exist definitively.
At times we have both believed the we have seen the effects
of The Variable, but as with any rigorous scientific endeavor, we do not want to jump to conclusions. Given the delicate religious issues involved here, we feel that nothing but the utmost due diligence is in order. We do not, for example, want to come out and declare the existence or non-existence of, for example, The Global Variable - the all-powerful variable that is present everywhere, at all times - on anything less than incontrovertible evidence, for obvious reasons.