I've said it before and I'll say it again -- the world is a funny old place, and no mistake. According to a newspaper in England, I'm now billed as "The world's go-to techno guy." This certainly brought a flush to my cheeks (and my face went red as well), but how did this all come to pass? Well…
I spent the week-before-last visiting my 83-year-old mom in Sheffield, England. As an aside, she recently bought herself a Smart car with which she's now happily tootling around town, terrorizing the other inhabitants of the city. (You can tell when she's been in the vicinity by the trail of shell-shocked citizens climbing out of trees, staggering out of ditches, or extracting themselves from hedges.)
My mom about to embark on another trip of terror.
(Don’t let the smile fool you. Be afraid. Be very afraid.)
It constantly amazes me how many people my mother knows. (See my earlier blog about her twisted relationship with Lord Voldemort, for example.) In one of her incarnations, my mom was a senior lecturer at a college in Sheffield, where she taught shorthand and typing. Thus it was that, in the middle of my recent visit, we were sitting watching the national news on television one day when she commented that the presenter had been one of her students.
This sparked a trip down memory lane and prompted her to recount a number of tortuous tales of academic daring-do. I'm afraid I dozed off for a while. I eventually returned to consciousness to hear her say something like "In fact, one of my students, Nancy Fielder, is now a reporter at the Sheffield Star -- I should email her to tell her that you are in town and that she should interview you."
I should probably mention a few things at this point: (a) Sheffield is quite a large city of more than half-a-million souls. (b) The Sheffield Star is the city's local newspaper. (c) My mother has grown to be something of a diva with the iPad I gave her earlier this year. Thus it was that, while I was still trying to wrap my befuddled brain around what was transpiring, my mother whipped out her trusty iPad and -- with a blur of fingers -- sent an email winging its way across the Internet.
To be honest, I didn't think anything would come of this, but the next day at my brother's house I received a telephone call from Martin Smith, who is the features editor at the Star. Martin told me that Nancy had told him that my mom had told her to interview me. (This all made my head hurt.) Unfortunately for Martin, there was no one to whom he could delegate this task, so he had been "left holding the bag" as it were.
Anyway, Martin and I ended up having a jolly good chat, with me doing most of the talking, which is just the way I like it. As you know, I can waffle on about science and technology for hours -- the real trick is to get me to stop. There we left things. A couple of days later I returned to my home in America and forgot all about it. If you had asked me to take a stab in the dark, I would have guessed that -- if we were lucky -- we would have ended up with a tiny column buried somewhere deep in the bowels of the paper. So you can only imagine my surprise when my chum Steve (who lives in Sheffield) emailed me photos of the front cover and a two-page inside spread featuring yours truly.
In the case of the front cover, as shown below, I appear towards the bottom of the right-hand column billed as "The world's go-to techno guy."
Meanwhile, the inside spread features all sorts of things, including tales of my dad dancing on the variety hall stage before WWII and my pontifications on the world of the future, technology-wise.
It was obviously a slow news day in Sheffield. I was still reeling in shock when my mom called me to say that her phone had been ringing off the hook. The news was racing around our family and her friends with bewildering speed. She immediately leapt into her Smart car and rushed down to the newsagent to purchase a bunch of copies -- presumably so she could hand them out to any visitors who managed to miss the epic event.
Knowing my mom, she will be dining out at the hairdressers for months on this. For myself, I'm wondering what to do with my new-found fame. We can only hope it doesn't go to my head. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to start looking for a personal hairdresser and makeup artist…
— Max Maxfield, Editor of All Things Fun & Interesting