Funny Names

About 40 years ago, I worked at an engineering firm called TRW. I was just transferred to a new project known as Project 2454 and assigned to help build the user interface to some laser control system. The very first document that I was given was a half-inch thick specification that described what the system was supposed to do. I studied it for a few hours before I looked at the cover to see who the authors were. This specification was written and signed on the front by three guys: Ray Delong, Maximilian Whang and Demar Balls.

I stared in disbelief. Are you kidding me? Is it April 1st? I thought to myself. I quickly grabbed the TRW phone directory and looked up each individual. They were all real people and resided in building R2 where I was sitting at that time. I just couldn’t resist. I went down the hall to one of my buddy’s offices and asked him: “Hey, have you seen this Delong, Whang and Balls document? He looked at me like I had 2 heads.

I must have used that line 20 times in the next week. It was just too good to be true. And nobody even noticed that pun until I had pointed it out. The document was over one month old. The authors had no idea. Engineers had a reputation for being a little slow-witted, but how could anyone not see the obvious humor in this?

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