May 31st, 2005


Mid-Afternoon Silliness

At work we currently have five people in the Agile Lab. Four of "us", and one consultant from a company called ThoughtWorks. The ThoughtWorks people gave us all little stuffed elephants with their logo while I was on vacation -- I got mine when I returned to the office on Thursday.

I was admiring my elephant shortly after receiving it, noting how perfectly my Treo fit in his lap, and I said happily to myself, "I really like my elephant."

Behind me, one of the guys said, "Alfie? Who's Alfie?"

"No, elephant. I was just saying I liked my elephant. But now I think I'll name him Alfie."

This brings us to today, when my Treo (aka cell phone) rang. I didn't recognize the number, so I answered it.

It was a very confusing wrong number. The guy said his name was Jeff Somebody. I sounded confused, so he said, "Is this Renniekins?" (But my real name.)

I confirmed it was, and he repeated his name. There is a Jeff in our Cleveland office whose last name I didn't know, so I thought maybe it was him. So I said, "Hey, what's up?"

"I was checking if you're okay about the show tonight."

I replied blankly, "The show??"

"Um, maybe this isn't the right Renniekins," he said thoughtfully.

"Maybe not..."

"That's a really weird coincidence!" He told me the number he was trying to call, and I realized it wasn't mine. It just happened that the person he was trying to reach shared my first name.

I hung up my phone, looking dazed, and told Curly about the oddity. She laughed, and I put my Treo back onto my elephant's lap.

When she eyed it questioningly, I explained: "I have Alfie hold it, because even on vibrate it makes a lot of noise when resting on the hard table surface."

"Elphie, you named your elephant Elphie?"

"No, I named him Alfie, I thought it'd be funnier."

"So not Elphie like this... Alfie, with an A and an F?" And she wrote down on a piece of paper "Elphie" and "Alfie".

"You know, I haven't tried writing it down yet. I don't really know how it's spelled! But yes, that looks like a good spelling. Alfie."

"Then I'm going to name my elephant Elphie!" she said with mock aggression.

"Okay!" I laughed. And Daisy's elephant can be Ilphy!"

"Yes, and Powers' can be Ulphy, and Wheezy's elephant can be Oolfy."

"Does Wheezy even have an elephant?"

"He does now," she decided, and she started writing everybody's elephants' names on the white-board. Even though I don't think our consultant (code name Wheezy) actually does have an elephant of his own.

We then allowed each person in the room to select whether they preferred their elephant's name to be spelled with an F or a PH. Then Curly labeled the column "Elephant Names".

"Actually, I was thinking you could draw a picture of an elephant as a header instead."

So she did. Then she added an apostrophe-S after her elephant picture, and the chart was complete.

I glanced at my watch. "Yep, 2:45, right on schedule for mid-afternoon goofyness...."