John Hodgman Down, Picasso to Go

I work in Ann Arbor, a thriving university city with more things to do and places to go then anyone could ever have time for, and I live in Fenton, a pleasant, quiet place in the middle of nowhere. I often end up staying in Ann Arbor late, but that’s work-related. So by the time I m. Because I actually like my wife and children, and I want to get home while they’re still awake if I can.

Actually, in my year-plus in this job, I don’t think there’s been even one time I stayed in Ann Arbor later than necessary, just for fun.

Not until a week ago, when I went to the John Hodgman discussion, Q&A, and book signing.

Maybe you only know John Hodgman as the PC in the Mac ads. But he is also a delightly idiosyncratic writer and self-described minor TV personality. And author of two books, each containing all world knowledge, and each of which I have, autographed. His two volumes of made-up knowledge are worth four in the bush, which is twenty-eight in made-up dog knowledge volume bushes.

He was funnier in person that he had any right to be, and listening to him snapped me out of the bad day I had been having. He mentioned me a couple times while talking, referred to me as Sherlock Holmes because of my hat.

During the Q&A, I asked a question, and he cut me off, “Okay Sherlock Holmes, why are you wearing a deerstalker?”. I told him I always did, and he asked if I ever put the earflaps down. I said “Yes, in wintertime,” and started to ask my question again. Again he cuts me off, this time to ask, “Excuse me, I have to know. Did you say ‘wintertime’ or ‘adventuretime’?” Nicely played, big laugh.

“I *said* ‘wintertime’, but I would like to go on record as having said ‘adventuretime’.”

When I made it through the book signing line, he asked me my real name and it was revealed that he had been assuming that I was wearing the deerstalker specifically for the event, hence all the comments about it.

This seemed reasonable when he said it (which is after all his schtick, to make anything sound credible), but looking back, what kind of fans does he think he has? That when he saw a deerstalker his first reaction was “Oh, someone has come to see me dressed as Sherlock Holmes!” Is John Hodgman big with the Sherlock Holmes Impersonators audience?

I checked the autograph, and in one of the books he had appended a one-word message: “Adventuretime!”, which by then I had decided was one of my mottos.

But things get better still!

Tonight, I get to see my cousin-in-law Mouse act in Picasso at the Lapin Agile, a play by Steve Martin. (Yes, *that* Steve Martin, the banjoist of some renown.). I read the play a few years ago, and I’ve been waiting for the chance to see it on stage ever since. And when you get right down to it, I just like live theater. When I was in college, I’d never pass up an opportunity to see a play. But I haven’t taken the time in five years or more. I am excited.

Two genuinely stimulating activities in as many weeks! So what will be next for me? Will I find time for more exciting exploits?

All I know for sure is that the days are getting colder. Pretty soon it will be time for earflaps.



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