Now that the media frenzy surrounding my appearance in the Washington City Paper has finally died down, I have some time to reflect on fame. Well, I guess there isn’t much to reflect on. It was certainly a lot of fun to see my mug in print as well as to see my Womenfolk quest reaching a wider audience, but I wasn’t exactly mobbed on the way to work. It was really nice to get email from a few strangers who had similar affection for the Womenfolk and a few people who were friends with or were related to the late Joyce James. And I think some of my friends finally paid attention (for the first time) to MyPorch. But a week in the life of the City Paper goes by pretty quickly and soon all the old copies laying around in coffee shops and on the Metro are replaced by the newest issue. A few years ago I read a story about Dr. Heimlich of the Heimlich Maneuver fame. Apparently he was ill and reaching the end of his life and had never had the opportunity to actually use his maneuver on a choking victim. Despite all of the lives he had indirectly saved he was troubled that he never got to use the maneuver himself to save anyone’s life. So he started hanging out at restaurants and other places where people eat in public as much as possible just hoping that someone would begin to choke and need his assistance. For a moment I felt a bit like Dr. Heimlich, albeit without having saved any lives, directly or indirectly. But I did manage to resist the urge to place copies of the City Paper (all opened to page 42 of course) around various Starbucks and on benches, and other places where people are bored enough to start reading a random article.
Although I didn’t become a media star I did get some fun reactions from people who know me. There were two things that came up almost universally in comments from my friends and family:
Adams Morgan is not a travel agency
Those who aren’t that familiar with Washington DC, thought that “Adams Morgan travel agent” meant that I worked at an agency called Adams Morgan. Rather Adams Morgan refers to the neighborhood I live in. I actually work for a firm in Alexandria, Virginia–if you need help planning your next vacation drop me a line, I do fantastic work if I do say so myself.
Working for the Federal Government
Almost everyone I know commented on the quote in the story about having done much of my Womenfolk research while I was a federal employee. First I would like to say that most of that happened while I was on lunch break or after hours. And GSA has a policy that allows such reasonable use on our personal time. Now, I know that many government employees do really amazing things, saving lives, sending people into space, predicting hurricanes (that other government employees ignore), but there are also a whole lot of federal employees who do nothing or next to nothing. Or if they do manage to get something done, you wish they hadn’t because their level of incompetence is so stunningly bad. For most of my time in the government I outperformed and outworked most of my peers, always did what was asked of me (and more), always put in great effort to produce excellent work. So taxpayers need not worry that I bilked the government, but they should be worried that thousands of others do day in and day out.