My Lost Moment of Fame

Very few people are actually famous, and–in spite of the number of my books sold–I’m not famous. Or even vaguely well known. And generally that’s probably a good thing. I couldn’t see myself in the position of autographing dirty paper napkins or crashing into a telephone pole while trying to escape the paparazzi.

Nope. I’m far too quiet a person for that. And I have enough self-confidence that I don’t need fame to feel fulfilled.

Nonetheless, there was one time, just one when…

I’d flown to Melbourne, Australia, to teach a computer programming seminar. All expenses paid, not counting probably a hundred hours or more of preparation. While there I met Jyl, the friend I’d been corresponding with, the one who talked me into applying to teach the seminar–and I’m sure she put in a good word for me. In addition to treating me to a performance of Phantom of the Opera, Jyl had invited me to fly to Sydney after the symposium to meet her family. That was a wonderful experience.

(I’m not sure whether the rest of this story took place during that visit or one of my subsequent ones. But it’s true and accurate to the best of my memory otherwise.)

Jyl took a sick day to show me around Sydney. Since she and her husband live in the Bondi Beach area, that was first on the list to see. But soon thereafter we headed to the Circular Quay there at the harbor. And of course that meant visiting the Opera House. Although that wasn’t my first visit to Sydney, I never tired of seeing the Sydney Opera House.

It was mid-morning by then, and Jyl suggested a snack at an outdoor cafe. Sounded fine to me.

The server led us first to one table–practically all of them were empty–but, just as we started pulling out chairs to sit down, he said, “Oh, I’m sorry. I can’t let you sit there.” No explanation. A little strange, but no biggie.

He led us to another table, where the same thing happened. At the third table we managed to sit down.

He started to hand us the menu, but then said, “Oh, this is the wrong one.”

By then I was super curious, but Jyl was boiling. In no uncertain terms, she insisted on having that menu.

A moment or two later, someone came up to us and said, “You’re on YOU’RE KIDDING.” I may have that name wrong, but it was a very popular show on Australian TV at the time. Comparable to America’s CANDID CAMERA.

We signed release forms for them to use the video they took of us. I thought the whole thing was pretty cool, although I wondered how Jyl felt about the possibility of her employer discovering she hadn’t really been sick that day.

It probably didn’t matter, though. From the feedback I’ve gotten from several of my Aussie friends, they must have decided Jyl and I hadn’t been funny enough and didn’t use our video.

Okay, so YOU’RE KIDDING wouldn’t have made me famous. But considering how I feel about fame, maybe broadcasting our video would’ve given me just the right amount of notoriety. Enough for my Aussie friends to be able to say, “I know him.”

Are you well known for anything? How about leaving a comment? This is an invitation to brag.


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