One of my big regrets is that I have achieved my present age and have not managed to become famous. It’s my own damn fault — I never figured out how to play that guitar, and I can’t even sing “Happy Birthday” in tune. My novel is still just a bunch of fuzzy ideas, none on paper, and my cure for the common cold takes two weeks to work so nobody wants it.
That’s not to say my brilliance isn’t known to the world — it can be found all over. The world just doesn’t know it comes from me.
For example, telecommunications executives around the world undoubtedly tremble with desire as they read my crafty writings in lovely magazines like Billing World and OSS Today and Telecom Reseller. The UK-based Vanilla Plus has recently presented my words to a lusty-eyed public, but alas it too is a telecom rag, and not, as the name implies, in the realm of the gourmet. Unfortunately, these industrial dissertations are always published under someone else’s name, which is just as well in case I do ever manage to write that novel.
Real gamers scoff at PDA- and phone-based games, but I was in there early (and left quickly). I wasn’t playing them so much as helping to sell them. The company that created “Slurp” asked me to write some promotional material, and in the process I came up with the game’s name (the original name was quite dull). So now, the world over, when kiddies write “Dear Santa: I really want Slurp for my PocketPC,” they have me to thank.
That gig also had me writing the promo for a game based on pipe fitting. I remember that one fondly, as it produced what may well be the most sparkling prose of my career in marketing writing. To wit: “even if you don’t know a socket-weld elbow from a lift-swing valve, [game] will keep you going for hours with this fast-paced connect-the-pipes game for the PocketPC” and “forget about butt welding, greasy flanges, and tank nipples. [game] will keep you playing for hours and you won’t even get wet.”
It may be the only time I’ll ever get to use the words “butt” and “nipples” in marketing copy — unless my career takes a really unexpected turn.
Then there’s my photography. About a dozen years ago, one of my photos of Pont du Gard in Provence was used at a multimedia trade show in Cannes to promote a series of interactive travel guides. There was no byline on the photo.
I should be more excited about the travel guides themselves, as they included hundreds of my photos as well as narratives I had written and, very oddly, an actor’s voice-over reading some of my text in the first person, using my name. Unfortunately, the series was produced in the then-innovative CD-i format — a format that died about 15 minutes after those travel guides were released. In other words, nobody saw any of it — but a lot of people saw my unattributed photo of Pont du Gard at the trade show!
I recently scored another anonymous hit, this time down under, in New Zealand. If you had been driving around Auckland a few months ago, you might have seen this billboard:
It was put up by the Auckland Media Design School to promote their “Digital Technology Week.” Those of you with a keen eye might recognize those urinals — they can be found in the men’s room in the basement of the Visual Arts building at Concordia University on Boul. René Lévesque in Montreal. I took that photo (minus the characters) in 1993, but it made its world premiere eleven years later when a scan of a work print found its way onto my Monday Morning Photo Blog. That image was noticed by the good people at the Media Design School, and they took care of the rest. (Yes, they paid me for it.)
But of course, no photo credit for the underlying image. What with all those guys pissing on it, I’m thinking that’s probably OK.