My name is Self-Appointed Expert, and this is my blog. It is part memoir, mostly fiction, and above all just trying to be funny. Some of is based on stuff that happened to me, some is based on stuff that happened to people I know, and a good deal is just entirely made up. So, if you find yourself offended, just remember - it's a joke. When you give me that look, it's a joke. Consider it my homage to the Secret Life of Walter Mitty, A Million Little Pieces, John Hodgman, and Christopher Guest.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Stories of my life, part I: The Lamar Alexander Story

I tell a lot of stories. As a kid, I moved around a lot, so I'd often find myself in groups of people I didn't know. The only way I could relate to them, I found, was to discuss things that had happened to me in the past - funny or interesting things that were somehow related to something that we were currently experiencing together. It was nice - it helped people get to know me, and, even more importantly, it let me be the center of attention for a few moments. Which is really, you know, my single motivating goal for virtually every waking moment of my life.

Anyway, it's occured to me recently that I have a set of stories that I like to tell and re-tell over and over again. I reached this realization mostly because between recruiting for jobs and dealing with a new school, I've spent most of the last year around people I didn't know very well - and as a result I've sort of slipped into my old get to know you habits. At the same time, however, it's occured to me that as time passes I remember some stories better than others - and it's a pretty frequent occurence that I'll be around my college friends and be reminded of crazy adventures I hadn't thought about in years. So, in the interest of preserving these memories, letting you all get to know me a little better, and allowing myself to be the center of attention, I present to you a series of stories of my life.

Tonight's story takes us back to my sophomore year. Adam, my best friend, and I were working at the Institute of Politics one night when a particularly crowd-worthy speaker came to address the ARCO Forum. (What's funny is that I can't even remember who it was.) Anyway, it was a big deal speaker, and we were kind of a big deal at the IOP. Unfortunately, we were late to the event, and all the good seats had been taken by the time we decided to show up. Using our cache and the resulting access it granted us to the innards of the Kennedy School, we decided to just grab some chairs from outside someone's office and make our own seats in the audience.

As we were walking through the empty halls to find our seats, we passed by the office of then former-governor Lamar Alexander, who was hanging out at the IOP for a semester to prepare for his bid to replace Fred Thompson as the TN Senator. As we walked by, I recalled to Adam an interaction I'd had with Mr. Alexander a few days before.

"He told me I could come by his office anytime I wanted to talk about Tennessee politics," I said.

"Sounds pretty cool," said Adam.

"But then I realized, I don't care about Tennessee politics!"

"Yeah!" Adam chimed in, "Screw you, Lamar!" Mid-sentence, Adam turned, and about the time he reached the second syllable of "Lam-ar," he looked up to find himself face to face with, you guessed it, Mr. Alexander.

"Hello," he said. And we were off.

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