Monday, January 31, 2011

Such A Reference Ninja, Part 217

I gave a computer guest pass to the nice man who spoke only a little English. He was super-polite and friendly and all was well in the world. A little while later, he came back up to the desk brandishing the pass.
"Oil well," he said.
"Oil well?"
"Oil well," he stated emphatically. He pointed to the pass to emphasize the oily nature of the well. "OIL" point point "WELL" point point wave pass in front of deskslave.
"I'm sorry..."
I was both flummoxed and nonplussed, which is a bad state I try to avoid at all costs. Flummoxed I can handle. Nonplussed leaves me unmoved. But together?
I asked him if he was having trouble using the code on the pass. Indeed he was. He took a deep breath and invited me to look closer. He placed a pudgy yet curiously flat finger over the password part of the pass. "I yell?" he questioned.
"Eye...?" he began, his voice rising as though he were starting a question. "O'Dell?"
I gave the pass a good squint. The code was something like


The toner was a bit speckly. The small, non-halogen, non-LED lightbulb over my head glowed weakly. Fifteen watts, max. He couldn't tell if the last character was an I or an L. "I or L" was probably what he had been saying.
"Ummm..." I began. "That last letter? I think it's an L."
He smiled and let the Black Belt Reference Ninja with a thumbs-up and a smile.

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