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The Speakman Club

One afternoon, in college, Ian and Lane came to me and informed me that I was invited to join the Speakman Club (of which they were the founding, and so far only, members). All I had to do was to pass the initiation. The initiation was this: within the next 24 hours, find the word "Speakman" printed prominently on campus. They assured me that it was everywhere, and that I had certainly seen it by now and just not noticed. I am not one to let a challenge lie, especially a pointless and geeky one, so I commenced searching for the mysterious Speakman. I looked all day. Well, not like I spent the entire day looking -- I'm not that much of a geek -- but this was at the front of my mind the rest of the day.

I didn't find it.

Next morning, I had mostly forgotten about it. Eventually -- probably toward noon -- I showered, and it occurred to me that my 24 hours were just about up, and I had failed. I finished my shower, and began my roughly weekly shaving ablutions. As I turned on the hot water, I saw it: printed around the little screw that holds the handle on the faucet, in the smallest print I had ever seen, was: SPEAKMAN. Later I noticed that it was also printed around the drain, and on the water fountains. It turns out Speakman is a very popular manufacturer of plumbing fittings, and to this day every time I see their name on some piece of plumbing I think of this ridiculous incident.

Incidentally, no-one else ever joined the Speakman Club legitimately; that is, they either took more than 24 hours to find it, or they needed hints. I don't know whether to be proud or to marvel at how badly I needed a hobby back then.