Monday, July 20, 2015

Bravely bold Sir Ed

Julia Child wrote her first cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, at 50. Momofuku Ando sold salt and even spent two years in jail before age 48, when he used his noodle to invent instant noodles and make a fortune with his company, Nissin Food Products. But while the rest of us tend to hit our stride once we hit middle age and go no higher, I’m one guy who’s not going to hit his stride lying down. Or something like that.

All this arose from an epiphany I experienced in that most tranquil of destinations. Okay, okay, it was Las Vegas, and I was one of more than 175,000 people who attended this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. I was rushing to a meeting through a morass of people I would swear paid for CES entry solely to plant themselves in front of people with someplace to go (a.k.a. me) when I looked up and glimpsed the sign. First one, then another. My eyes widened as I planted my feet in place. I eventually counted four people carrying tall poles with vertical signs held high above the throngs. They bore the name of an industry pundit, one Shelly Palmer.

I had no idea who Shelly Palmer was, being the sole attendee at CES who didn’t cover electronics. (Don’t ask.) I didn’t even know for certain he was a pundit until hours later, in the hotel room, when I saw him on TV talking about the significance of the day’s CES announcements. (Don’t tell. What happens in Vegas is supposed to stay in Vegas.) But from his simple presence heralded by sign-carrying flunkies, something told me: This person matters.

Yes, I’ve seen this sort of thing before. So have you if you have a pulse and lived through the ’70s. Who could forget Sir Robin, in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, who went everywhere with minstrels who would sing his praises? Of course, the lyrics invariably took an uncomplimentary turn. (“When danger reared its ugly head / He bravely turned his tail and fled.”) But hey—the minstrels must have been underpaid members of SHRE local 381. Songsters of the Holy Roman Empire, natch.

These days, though, you probably don’t have to pay much more than minimum wage to get competent sign carriers to wave your banner for all to see, even if you’re just taking the trash out to the curb. Even faster than those noodles, your flunkies-for-hire would proclaim you instant someone.

For me, that’s the ticket. In a world where a Kim Kardashian could become famous merely by pretending to be someone famous, why couldn’t I put my name on everyone’s lips by mere suggestion? In time, I’d need to hire a publicist; I hear Mariah Carey’s is available. And before you know it, I too would have my own reality show and be set for life. Maybe something like Keeping Up with the Perratores. Creative, huh? It’s better, at least, than 2 Kids and No Longer Counting.

I know what you’re thinking, and it’s probably something to do with flying pigs or snowballs in hell. You might be right.

But there’s more chance of my getting a reality show than of my publishing my latest cookbook, The Real Poop on Rustling Up French Grub.