I Google my name pretty much every day. Sometimes twice a day. There were a couple of newspaper features on me last week. There really were! I don’t really tell people about it, but I like them to know. That’s because I’m vain.
Some people aren’t at all vain though. They really aren’t. My brother’s one. I sat down with him once, a few years ago. I hadn’t seen him for a while. I said ‘how things?’ He said ‘OK’. I asked what he’d been doing. He wasn’t going to mention it, but he’d been paragliding in some big paragliding competition up on some huge mountains in Europe somewhere. I asked to see the photos. He got them out. Someone had taken some photos of him getting his parachute ready, and some of him flying. There was a photo of him talking to an old man. I asked who the old man was. He said he was an astronaut. The astronaut’s name was Neil Armstrong. I said ‘what, the Neil Armstrong?’ He said ‘yes’. No big deal!
It turned out that my brother had been chatting away with Neil Armstrong for some 20 minutes. They’d been chatting about the future of flight. I think Neil had actually sought out my brother to talk to. But my brother doesn’t really talk about it.
But me, I would talk about that a lot. That’s Neil Armstrong! That’s the first human being to walk on the moon! That’s the first human being to step foot on another planet! In the whole history of the human race, there is only going to be one person to ever be that first man. I happen to think that’s quite a big deal. If Neil Armstrong ever sought me out for a chat, I’d want everyone to know about it. I really would! That’s because I’m vain. I’m as vain as hell. But my brother isn’t. He really isn’t! I have to contact him every so often just to find out if anything’s happened. I mean, anything could have happened, and he wouldn’t tell anyone. I have to probe him: “any news?”
(P.S. I’ve been reading Catcher in the Rye again. So, sorry for the Holden Caulfield impressions. I couldn’t help it. I really couldn’t!)