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I know a real life Lazlo Hollyfeld. I swear I am not making this up.

I met him when I was at college, a large university with a small amateur theatre program for which I often acted and did tech work. He's a man who appears to be in his late thirties or early forties, heavyset with a grey beard and a shoulder length pony-tail. A quiet fellow most of the time.

He'd come to the late night tech sessions for the various shows going on at the time and he'd help out -- mostly with cleaning and little things. As I worked with him, I found out more and more about him. First of all, he knew more about theatre tech then he would let on, and I got the impression that he'd been doing this for a long, long time -- in fact he knew about the kinds of shows that the group ran and the people in them going back for 20-25 years as best we could figure.

Second of all, he was a student. A student in what, we couldn't determine. And this is where the rumors began. He was an eternal academic. He had a trust fund that he was living off of for the past 20 years. He had 8 master's degrees. He would disappear now and then for months at a time and then appear, giving no account of where he'd been -- so of course it was painfully obvious that he was a secret government agent come to spy on the school under the pretense of being student. Ha-ha. Ha-ha.

One day, a friend of mine under the employ of the electrical engineering department found the name of our Lazlo in one of their files. This was because he had his Ph.D in electrical engineering. This was, however, only the first Ph.D that he received from the university; he had in fact gotten three more doctoral degrees in the engineering school (CS and CE were two I believe) since then.

So what exactly would you imagine he'd do with those degrees?

So one day another friend of mine noticed that he was no longer using his school email address, and was instead using an address with an unfamiliar domain. Being the snoop that he was, he managed to trace the domain to a small, local business that -- as far as he could tell -- was a consulting firm or software development firm specializing in some sort of encryption.

Creepy, huh?

Oh, but wait, there's more: A little more snooping revealed the the sole client of this small local company is the National Security Agency -- and that the company offices are quite close to the local NSA branch office.

So, needless to say, we were terrified out of our wits to find that our quiet and unassuming academe really was a government spook. And, needless to say, we were very careful about what we said about this. In fact, I really hope he's not now reading this and picking up the phone to call the men with the shotguns . . .

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