By ANDREA HUFFMAN, Intern A week or so ago, I purchased gas for my car. Without really thinking about it, I wrote the amount and location in my checkbook and moved on. Then, a few days later, I opened my checkbook again and discovered that instead of writing Gas-ExxonMobil, I had written Gas-XOM. Of course, I came to this conclusion while I was out shopping and laughed at myself. The lady behind the cash register asked what was so funny and I informed her, “You know you have been in the energy industry for too long when you use the stock symbols for a company instead of writing it out.” She laughed and told me she understood. Her dad worked for Exxon and, as she put it, she is “now a Shell wife.” I told her that my dad also had worked for Exxon, and then Conoco. It is a small world in the energy business, and though it may be expanding daily, it seems to be shrinking at the same time. Everyone knows everybody else, and in this industry, that is a powerful thing. I have been interning at E&P for just over a month this summer, and I also interned here last summer. I have been immersed in the energy industry since I was born thanks to my father’s profession. And in all that time, I have come to realize that there are indeed signs that you have been in the industry for too long. So, I compiled a list with some help from my co-workers. You know you’ve been in this industry for too long when: You use the stock exchange symbols in your checkbook. You look for offshore rigs when you are at the beach or in an airplane flying over a large body of water. The Houston Petroleum Club’s pecan balls are the highlight of your week. You are picky about which gas station you use based on your preference for a specific operator. You listen to the anti-oil people and laugh when you see that they are using a laptop, wearing tennis shoes, and drinking a bottle of water. You hear the word “spar” and don’t think of a fight, but of a floating deepwater unit. When you hear “OTC,” you think Offshore Technology Conference, not “over-the-counter.” You hear a fraction and think of casing sizes. It is no longer a big deal to fly to London, Stavanger, Dubai, Nigeria, or Auckland. You know what GoM, FPSO, IOC, SEG, SPE, 4-C, NOC, ROV, ROP, MODU, SPE, BOP, AAPG, LNG, EAGE, and E&P mean. You hear “red” and don’t think of the color, but the person. You know it is pronounced Schlum-ber-JZHAY (using the IPA phonetic alphabet: ʃlʌm bɜr ʒeɪ), not Schlum-ber-GER (like “hamburger”). You can name the supermajors in five seconds. You hear the name Total and think of the operator, not the cereal…and you add an accent. A billion dollars seems relative. You stalk the weather channel and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration during hurricane season, regardless of which coast the hurricane will strike. You hear "hawk,” but it’s not the bird – it’s the company, Petrohawk. Your “celebrities” are Marcellus, Bakken, Eagle Ford, Permian, Horn River, Haynesville, Arkoma, and Niobrara. The word “migration” does not bring to mind birds flying south for the winter. Chesapeake is not the bay on the east coast, but an energy company. A Christmas tree is not something you hang ornaments on in December. Artificial lift has nothing to do with plastic surgery. The word “exploitation” does not have a negative connotation to you. You meet someone from an oil company and say, “I know your CEO.” “Fishing” does not involve a rod and reel or bait. The word “pig” doesn’t mean a cute barnyard creature, and “pigging” does not mean eating too much. “Logging” doesn’t mean cutting down trees. So, the next time you are at the pharmacy and you hear OTC, they are not actually referring to the largest technology conference in Houston. Additional suggestions are welcome! Reader Suggestions: You hear the word "POOH" and it doesn’t make you think of a cuddly cartoon bear. You hear the word "Wildcat" and it doesn’t remind you of a school mascot. You know that "Spud Mud" is not what happens when you drop your baked potato in the dirt You know that a "Kill Pill" is not something created by Dr. Kevorkian. You know that "Archie’s Equation" is not something from “All in the Family” You know that "Gardner’s Equation" has nothing to do with planting things in your garden. You know that "swabbing" can’t be done with a Q-tip. Kelly and Derrick are not going out on Friday night. A "shut-in" is not a Meals On Wheels client.