Thursday, February 16, 2006

That eureka moment

The Ecuadorean girl at my bus stop asked me the other day about the puzzle I was doing. It turned out her command of the English language didn't include the word sudoku, which is of course because it is not an English word. I defined it as "a Japanese* number puzzle designed to make me feel stupid", adding that I hadn't had "that eureka moment" yet. Her face clouded with confusion again at the word eureka, which she'd also never heard. Her bewilderment deepened when I unhelpfully defined it as "a Greek word to say when you're running around naked", before explaining about Archimedes discovering the law of buoyancy while in the bath.

This came to mind because I just saw my bank teller have a cute little eureka moment. Starting today, you have to preregister the companies to whom you make payments at the Royal Bank. Now that Rogers has bought Sprint in Canada, my cable and phone bills (which I haven't bothered to consolidate) are now apparently sent by the same company, but when she was trying to register them, it turned out there are seven similarly named subcompanies all owned by Rogers from which to choose, which would have been confusing even if this hadn't been the first day.

After a couple of moments of deliberation, she figured out which company was supposed to go with my cable bill. Beaming triumphantly, she wrote "Done!" on my stub and started to hand it back. Then, obviously pleased with herself, she added "Well" to the front of that.

So now my cable bill stub has "Well Done!" written on it, which makes it look like I'm being graded on my prompt and full payment. She might as well have added a letter grade.

*I'm aware that sudoku was invented in the US and merely popularized in Japan before being reimported, but ironically, I didn't mention this because I thought it would confuse the issue.

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