Friday, July 5, 2019

Bosses From The Eighth Circle Of Hell: Chough

Man, it's been AGES since I've posted one of these! Time to rectify that immediately, with a brand-spanking new Bosses From The Eighth Circle Of Hell post!

Throughout my career I've prided myself on working hard, performing what's asked of me to the best of my ability and being an all-around good employee. I've also done my best to get along with my various bosses.

Alas, sometimes that's just not possible. Sometimes you end up with a Boss From The Eighth Circle Of Hell.

Back in the 1990s I worked at a marketing agency for a rather colorful Boss.

I don't want to mention any names here, so let's just call that particular boss "Mr. Bossman." At some point in his life, Mr. Bossman discovered that his family crest featured a couple of choughs on it. Don't know what the hell a chough is? Don't feel bad, neither did I until he told me. 

Basically a "chough" is a large black bird in the crow family, found mainly in Britain. For no good reason Mr. Bossman was quite proud of this fact, and even worked a chough into the company logo (!). 

Despite how it looks, the word's pronounced "chuff." Remember that, as it's about to become important.

The marketing agency's building was protected by a security system, complete with a keypad next to the door. Whoever arrived first thing in the morning would unlock the door and set off the beeping alarm, and would then have to punch in the five digit security code to disable it.

If the code entered incorrectly or not in time, the security company would call and demand to know the secret password. If they didn't receive the correct one, they'd think the building was being robbed and would immediately dispatch the cops.

So what was the secret password? You guessed it "chough!"

One day I was the first one in the office and unlocked the door, which of course set off the alarm. I entered the code, but the alarm just kept beeping. I punched it in a second time, to no avail. Eventually I realized I'd transposed a two of the numbers. Unfortunately by then it was too late and the window of opportunity had expired. 

A few seconds later the phone rang. I answered it, and sure enough it was the security company, asking for the secret password. I said, "It's chough." The person on the other end said, "NO! That's not it! I'm sending the police over right away!"

I knew darned good and well that was the password, so why were they calling the cops? I finally figured it out— even though I told the guy the correct password, he didn't recognize it as such because he looked at "chough" and thought it was pronounced "cough" or "chooge" or some such thing. 

Instead of picking a normal, human password, Mr. Bossman chose one no one had ever heard of and was impossible to pronounce! Brilliant idea!

I hurriedly spelled out the password to the security guy and explained what it meant and how it was pronounced. Somehow I managed to convince him I wasn't a burglar, and avoided an unpleasant police shootout and/or jail time.

Helpful tip to anyone out there with a security system pick a password that's recognizable and easy to pronounce!

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