Thursday, May 10, 2012


My friend Rob tells a story of the time where he and a buddy went to a concert and, after arriving a bit too close to show time, found the parking area frustratingly packed. His buddy had an idea to drive up to the VIP area and to tell the roadies to let them in because Rob was part of the show talent. This was done in jest, a bit of a fun lark, yet it worked to perfection. Without any questions, the men opened the gate and waved Rob right on in. I have always enjoyed this story. It is one of those that you don't forget. Feeling like a privileged big shot can be kind of fun and empowering.

For some reason, I thought of this story the other day and that thought sparked a memory from my own past where I had my own taste of celebrity. A brush with being a rock star scientist. I was attending a symposium at Osaka University in Japan a few years ago. During this meeting, myself and a few of my colleagues, took the opportunity to visit a nearby laboratory that had offered to give a tour of their facilities. Upon arriving, we were introduced to our host, a senior administrator of the site. When I introduced myself, the tour guide bowed very low and told me how honored he was to have me visit his humble facility. O.K., that doesn't sound like much more than common courtesy extended to all visitors. However, he then went on to gush about how my reputation preceeded me and how my body of work was world reknown. Of course, there was no way that this man had the slightest clue of who I was. Regardless, I still got the VIP treatment from start to finish.