Code, nerd culture and humor from Greg Knauss.

So it's late -- or, rather, it's eight-thirty, which we've begun to consider late -- and Joanne and I are out doing our demographically responsible duty and going to see a movie. On the way, we pass a man driving a car with a customized license plate.

"I FX DK" it says.

And, of course, we figure he's a urologist.

So I'm standing in front of a Taco Bell on Santa Monica Boulevard, eating my lunch and reading a newspaper through the Plexiglas on the dispenser. One of my rules is that if you're eating at Taco Bell, a quarter for the paper is a luxury.

Suddenly, a sleek black convertible pulls up to the curb and two very angular, very blonde men begin speaking to me in thick German accents.

"Excuse us, please. Can you tell us how to get to... the 10?"

"Sure. Just continue down Santa Monica and take the 405 south--"

"South? We want to go north."

"Then you've got a problem. The 10 is east/west."

They look at least other for a moment, then the passenger looks at the map he's got open in front of him.

"Maybe the 110?" I say.

"The 110?"

"Or 101."

They blink in the bright sunlight.

"Malibu," says one.

"Santa Barbara," says the other.

"Ah," I say, "The 1."

"The 1?"

"The 1. Pacific Coast Highway."

"Coast Highway!" they both say.

"Just turn around and head to the water. Take a right on Ocean and a left on California."

"Thank you," they say. "Thank you." And they speed off.

And I'm sure the first thing they said to each other after driving off was, "Man, he looked nothing like David Hasselhoff."

So I'm wandering through the fine china section of Macy's or Bullock's or Robinson's or one of those damned stores and I'm carrying a purse. I'm carrying it in the prescribed guy-style, the strap all bunched up and held in a fist, and I'm radiating I'm-here-because-my-wife-is rays.

After spending as much time as I can stand perusing different random, expensive, ugly crystal thingies -- thirty-five seconds -- I wander over to the bridal registry because, hey, it's a computer and they've got some sort of weird power over me.

I switch hands with the purse and start punching up random names, just to see what people want when they get married. "Groom," I tell it. "Smith. A."

"Adrian Smith," it turns out, is a pretty common name and there're several registered wherever I am. But a particular Adrian Smith catches my eye: Adrian "Bink" Smith.

That's what it says in the registry: Adrian "Bink" Smith. This means that someone who goes by the name "Bink" is old enough to get married. His fiancee calls him "Bink." His co-workers call him "Bink." His children will call him "Bink," then giggle and run away.

I wonder how badly you have to hate the name "Adrian" to go with "Bink."

So anyway, I print out the registry for Bink and his lovely bride. It's pretty typical stuff, all the things that young couples need -- like random, expensive, ugly crystal thingies, for instance.

But at the bottom of the list is a surprise: camping gear -- a tent, two sleeping bags, a gas stove, a lantern. And at the top is the address where gifts can be mailed...

Ever since Joanne forbade me from stealing business cards out of the win-a-free-meal fishbowls at restaurants and calling the people up to tell them they're no longer in the running, I've been nursing a bad need to introduce weirdness into the lives of strangers.

So Bink's going to get some mail soon, and I'm going to claim we met camping. Remember the great time we had, Bink, old boy? Ha ha! Remember when we got lost hiking? And remember when the girls fell in the river? Ha ha! Oh, and remember you borrowed twenty bucks?

Hi there! My name's GREG KNAUSS and I like to make things.

Some of those things are software (like Romantimatic and Buzz Clock), Web sites (like the Webby-nominated Metababy and The American People) and stories (for Web sites like Suck and Fray, print magazines like Worth and Macworld, and books like "Things I Learned About My Dad" and "Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard").

My e-mail address is greg@eod.com. I'd love to hear from you!

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