Sunday, September 23, 2007

Now this is truly, deeply, weird...

So I get back in from a hard ten-mile cross-country hike with the dog — getting in shape for deer season, you know — and The Mrs hands me this Post-It note with a name and a phone number on it: Michael somebody, from the 504 area code. "This guy called while you were out," she says. "He was really rude and pushy, and said he needed to talk to you right away."

Well, I don't recognize the name, and a quick trip to doesn't return a useful address, but the area code is a long-shot possibility for someone I know. So I think about it for a while, and finally decide that if nothing else, I should call him back and find out what his issue is, if only to head off a follow-up call at a more inconvenient time. So I give the number a call...

It turns out to be the worst cell connection I have ever had. So I try again on a land line, and this time it's still a terrible cell connection, but I hear him well enough to get the gist of it. He's just read Rebel Moon, thinks it's a great book, and wants to talk about it.

People ask me why I have a penchant for large dogs and shotguns. People also ask if it's a good idea to use a pseudonym. The answers to the two questions are interrelated: in the case of the latter, it's an emphatic yes, I wish I had, and in the case of the former, it's because life gets very weird when you're a public figure — even as minor and irrelevant a public figure as I am. There is a small subset of the species who seem to think that just because they've read and liked something you've written, that you're their best friend, and they can phone you whenever they like. Or show up on your doorstep, and expect to be invited in. Or in one particularly memorable case, walk right into your house, under the assumption that you will be delighted to see them and eager to drop everything and talk about writing.

Luckily, that particular incident happened many years ago. I wouldn't try it now. The current Mrs. Brb is the daughter of a Marine Corps combat veteran and career cop, who taught his daughters to apply .357 first and then ask questions. And she is damn good with that .357.