Part of the fun of working in the same inbred field in the same geographic area as one's father is the ever-present comment, "Oh, so you're so-and-so's son." Now he's starting to get the opposite. That's not too surprising given that I've been working in a library for a decade now, and the normal turnover rate plus working in a consortium of libraries means that some people meet me before they meet him. While it made me chuckle to learn this, I didn't think much of it.
At a meeting several months ago, I had someone come up to me and ask for my autograph. She explained that it wasn't for herself, but for a friend who wasn't able to attend the meeting. I thought she was joking. She wasn't, and was obviously giddy at the chance to meet me. I didn't know quite what to say or do, so I gave her an autograph, addressed to her friend. This made me shake my head with wonder, but so do a lot of things some of the weirder librarians out there do.
More recently, I received an e-mail at work stating that my name came up quite a bit at a recent library-related mini-conference in the area--apparently usually with a tone of quite some reverence--and that lots of people really, really, really want to meet me in person. (The original e-mail was simultaneously much funnier and more scary, but I don't have permission to quote it here. Let's just say the terms "cult figure" and "genuflect" were prominently featured and, while obviously exaggerated, said without sarcasm.)
How did this happen? For most of these people, all I've ever done is take the time to answer their questions on various mailing lists when I knew the answer, translate corporate babble into library jargon, and write the occasional freeware computer program to automate routine tasks. Is altruism that really that special?
This is way cool, in a Bizarro world sort of way, but my inner gawky 12-year-old with low self esteem finds this somewhat distressing... I keep waiting for a shoe factory to drop.
If that autograph turns up on eBay, then I'll know it's time to start worrying...
Feudalism: Serf & Turf