"In my home county of Wake County, North Carolina", Scott "Malone" wrote in, "when you request library books from another branch, an automated telephone system will call you back when the books arrive at your local branch. However, whenever my wife reserves books, the telephone system calls up and lets 'Suzanne the 1000th Malone' know her books are ready."

The messages sounded just like this: suzanne1000.mp3. Or, if you can't listen to that message:

This is the Wake County Public Library. Suzanne, the 1000th, Malone, you have materials waiting for you at the Cameron Village branch. They will remain on hold for three days before returning to circulation. Thank you, and have a good day.

Scott continued, "This has been going on for years and it had simply been an inside joke for us. Who knows, there must have been 999 other Suzanne Malones in Wake County."

"However, after a nine year hiatus, I actually stepped foot in the library. Suzanne the 1000th Malone had forgotten to return some books and the automated system was calling daily, counting down the days until it was going to send out the automated goons to collect."

"While returning the late books and paying my $8 fine, I asked the librarian why the automated telephone system referred to my wife as Suzanne The 1000th Malone. She looks at the entry in her database and everything looks fine:

Name:  Suzanne M. Malone

"Now if you look at that for a minute, you will see the reason for one of the most absurd software bugs I have ever encountered. Yes, 'M' (her middle name is Marie) is 1000 in Roman numerals. I guess if my name were 'Pope John Paul IV', then I would want the system to interpret Roman numerals. Of course interpreting Roman numerals in the person's middle name or something on the order of 'M', is just plain stupid.

"I guess all those poor saps out there whose middle initial are I, V, L, X, C, D or M have their own inside jokes too.


Note: Scott & Suzanne's last name was changed (and the message re-recorded via AT&T TTS) to protect the innocent.

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