A Dated Story That Has Aged Badly

At UCSB, like any other college campus, they had a daily college paper. And inside this paper was a daily crossword puzzle. And every day, I’d try and do the crossword puzzle, but I was never very good at them.

It seems that crossword puzzles have two levels: Absurdly easy (“3 letter word for Man’s Best Friend.”) to so incredibly vague that you can’t possibly get it in a million years (“Died in 1978.”). The crossword puzzle in this paper was definitely the latter category. I had visions of some geeky nerd with a stack of almanacs in the paper’s office underneath the bell tower, cackling away all night long as he concocted the most arcane crossword puzzles possible with the most useless clues imaginable.

And yet I still tried to do these damned things like every day. I’m such a masochist.

So one time I’m walking to my job downtown after school, trying to work on this crossword puzzle along the way. And I’m like, SO CLOSE to completing it, there were only three words I hadn’t figured out yet, and it was driving me nuts. And just as I get to the corner of De La Vina and Carrillo, the BATMOBILE comes roaring around the corner and pulls up right in front of me!

The canopy opens up, and lo and behold, it’s BATMAN!

“Excuse me,” he says, “Can you tell me how to get back to the freeway?”

“Sure,” I say, “you just have to head up Carrillo here for a couple blocks — Hey wait a minute, don’t you have OnStar?”

“Not anymore,” he grumbled.

“Wow, what happened?

“Well they only gave it to me for free while I was their spokesperson. But then I pulled a Shatner and they yanked the endorsement money.”

“What does ‘pull a Shatner’ mean?”

“William Shatner admitted in an interview that he never used Priceline, and it caused their stock price to tumble.”

“Bummer. Hey, can I ask you a question?”


“What’s a four letter word for Jedi master?”


“22 letter word for bird?”

“Yellow-bellied sap sucker.”

“15 letter word in the dictionary?”


And he was RIGHT.