Thursday, December 02, 2004

Bertok Symmetric

Back in my single, carefree days I lived in a townhouse with two guys, Doug and Rick. Rick was notoriously bad at taking phone messages, and Doug and I used to laugh at the garbled messages we received from him. Once, when my friend Simon called, it was translated in a message as "your friend Diamond called." As I did not have any stripper friends (at the time), I was able to figure out who he meant.

One day, roommate Doug received a phone message that said, "Bertok Symmetric called with the contact information." Doug had just begun working for the CIA and was certain that this had something to do with work, but Rick was out of town on vacation and could not confirm. For three days, Doug made himself crazy trying to figure out who Bertok Symmetric was and what contact information he was supposed to receive, thinking he had missed an important segment of training at the CIA, and not wanting to admit ignorance to his new employer.

On the third night of angst, while having dinner with Doug and looking across the table at him in his eyeglasses, it hit me. I said, "Doug, your parents live in Burke, Virginia, right?" and he said, "yes". I said, "Do you think it was Burke Optometric calling with your contact lens information?"

They call me Encyclopedia Brown,

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