HackMIT Stories
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HackMIT Stories

Kefa, Kenobi, and Andrew: Iconic Help Emails of HackMIT 2020

So registration for HackMIT 2021 just opened because we just completed our registration software. You can imagine the colossal frustration that some Hackers might be experiencing trying to use this 1000-line code conglomeration that was cobbled together over the span of one week with immense sleep deprivation and exceptionally mediocre CSS; in fact, I’d estimate about 40% of users can register without issues, which is a comparable success rate to North Korean missiles, so this is basically a win. Anyways, our customer service hotline email, help@hackmit.org, gets more traffic during registration than the Walmart Charmin’s Ultra Soft toilet paper section during a global health crisis, so we’ve received a diverse assortment of help emails written by middle schoolers, middle-aged mothers, mid-life-crisis-inflicted college students, and modern myths and legends. Here are a few spicy emails from last year’s HackMIT 2020:


We got hella emails from moms, suprisingly. Mrs. Zhang reached out in July to register her 10th grade son, which kind of makes me wish that my mom did stuff for me like that; the most she did was exile five-year-old me from the apartment for a few hours after I wet the bed and had no pants on. Sheesh… In addition to helping her son, Mrs. Zhang’s was also kind enough to include in the email a Berkeley Research Group LLC “Terms of Service Agreement” and a full blown “Tax Advice Disclosure” that prohibited me from using the contents of Mrs. Zhang’s email for the purpose of avoiding Internal Revenue Code tax-related penalties and distributing financial information discussed in the email. The vibe seemed pretty serious in this email chain, so I of course responded as formally as I could:

The Second Coming of Comic Sans

I thought I’d never see Comic Sans again since the 7th grade biology, but Andrew decided to rekindle my love-hate relationship with Comic Sans in his help email. Comic Sans does kinda shlap; it’s become an iconic meme font, which is enough to justify its existence, and I do always enjoy a good use of Comic Sans, such as in emails, children’s books, danger signs, gravestones, war memorials, and 7th-grade biology PowerPoints describing the slow, agonizing way cancer destroys the human body. Anyways, I sent Andrew a nice, professional reply, letting him know that I had resolved his issue and would always be happy to help:


I knew HackMIT 2020 was open to high schoolers and college students, but I didn’t know it was open to MEN. It was truly an honor to receive word from Rohan the Warrior, who hailed from http://www.warriorlife.net, an elite academy that turned hundreds of boys into battle-hardened men. Rohan was the paragon of valor at this institute, donning the title “Slayer of Dragons and Cats” for his quotidian routine of slaying dragons in the morning and slaying cats at night. It was said that during his graduation from the academy, Rohan announced his own name at the beginning of the ceremony, picked up his diploma, and slammed the building’s revolving door on the way out. Rohan’s name was quickly cemented into legend after his graduation, so much so that Google and Facebook no longer allow “Rohan” to be used as an account password as it is “too strong.” Even more impressive, many have said that Rohan is the type of man to make eye contact with you through the cracks of a bathroom stall. In fact, so potent is Rohan’s existence that according to legend and my personal experience, Rohan’s emails are so inundated with testosterone, that they can cause any prepubescent teenager who read them to immediately finish puberty and develop regions of big boy hair akin to the densest regions of the Amazon Rainforest. By the way, you should check out http://www.warriorlife.net, it’s pretty enthralling.

Hello There!

Obi-Wan Kenobi… Now that’s a name I’ve not heard in a long time… Jedi Master Kenobi’s email was a pleasant surprise; I thought he had far greater aspirations after spending many years mastering the Force and fighting the Confederacy and Galactic Empire, and I never expected him to consider attending a small, humble programming event — though it’d be unwise to make such assumptions, as only a Sith deals in absolutes… As thrilled as I was at the prospect of having a Jedi Master attend our event, I still needed a picture of Master Kenobi’s school ID to whitelist his personal email address, as not following the proper procedure of registration would be… So uncivilized… Thankfully, Master Kenobi complied, and to my delight, the negotiations were short. While Master Kenobi was accepted to HackMIT 2020, I couldn’t find him in the event Slack group. Perhaps the archives are incomplete.

Kefa the Commander

“Want to join.” No words in history have been as monumental as those three by Kefa. Every child learns from birth that the command of Kefa is the command of God. When Kefa speaks, one listens… Legend says that Kefa was born eight months premature because at one month in the womb, the young fetus asserted, “Want to join.” God, hearing this command, had no choice but to break the water of the womb, allowing the man, the myth, the legend, to enter this small, humble world. With his unparalleled imposing presence and his ability to make his wish the command of the land, this magnificent man went on to earn many titles: Kefa the Commander, Kefa the King, Kefa the Compeller, Kefa the Convincer. When Kefa was a toddler, he walked to the entrance of a club, before being stopped by the 6’4” 255lb bouncer, who declared, “You must be 21 to enter.” Kefa replied, “Want to join.” The bouncer immediately stepped aside and conceded, “You will join.” That story is the least impressive of Kefa’s encounters. Many have noted that if he walked into a public restroom when all stalls were occupied, he could utter, “Want to join,” and every door would immediately be unlocked for his convenience. With this power, applying to university was a trivial task for Kefa, who simply submitted an application containing the words “Want to join,” which instantly moved the admissions officers to tears upon reading it. Needless to say, he was accepted. That’s why when Kefa sent his renowned HackMIT help email, I was understandably nervous to inconvenience this unstoppable force with a request for his school ID. Thankfully, Kefa had mercy on me, and in a rare moment of history, he listened.

So that’s about it. We get a lot of help emails throughout the summer, so it’s always refreshing to get a few that are rather unorthodox. In other words, I better see more help emails from strange email addresses that have less than ten words written in blue Comic Sans — maybe I’ll feature them next year.



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