Tuesday, December 2, 2008
A history of the security at the Aon Center
The AON security ninjas... Should I start from the beginning? Yes? Ok. It is a looong story about ancient Japan. Two warring feudal lords loved the same woman, Iwasaki. Both lords tried to win Iwasaki over with the traditional Japanese gift of love: wooden clogs inlaid with a jade Hello Kitty. Then, on the day Iwasaki was to choose which lord to marry she died tragically of a hangnail caused by poorly fitted clogs. Each of the lords blamed the other for her death and the bitter conflict that ensued instigated centuries of assassination and espionage. Long after both sides of the conflict were all killed the clans of ninjas that were involved, known as the Iwasaki ninjas, swore their allegiance to Iwasaki's family. The family became wealthy and powerful, but during the 19th century the head of the Iwasaki family lost an epic game of flip cup to a young John D. Rockefeller. The dishonor was so great that afterwords the allegiance of the Iwasaki ninjas transferred to Rockefeller. The ninjas were the secret of Rockefeller's success and they lived in his mansion until Rockefeller's death. Suddenly in need of a place to live, and being preferred shareholders in Standard Oil, they took over the newly constructed Standard Oil building in Chicago. There they assumed responsibility for building security.
Forty years later their only allegiance is to the building and their union, the Local Ninjitsu 393. If you visit, pay attention to the dozens of large gongs that line the walls. Each gong represents a generation of Iwasaki ninjas. DO NOT TOUCH THE GONGS! A visiting member of the Chicago Ruby User Group named Josh once rang a gong. Later that evening he swallowed his own tongue under mysterious circumstances while giving a talk about metaprogramming in ActiveRecord. Detectives later found that one of his note cards had been altered to say:
I need not your needles, they're needless to me;
For kneading of noodles, 'twere needless, you see;
But did my neat knickers but need to be kneed,
I then should have need of your ninjas indeed.
The murder remains unsolved. Frankly, for most of us in the meeting that notecard was the only part of his talk that made sense, but you know, metaprogramming is hard. The guiness book of world records lists that paragraph as the most deadly tongue twister known to man. It is also worth mentioning that ever since that day the poor fellow has been known in the Ruby community as "Because, the unlucky stiff".