No matter, I’m sure he will manage to contact me in due course, when he has some important news to impart.
Meanwhile the club forges ahead under its own impetus, the only restriction on membership being this, in the words of the president himself:
“As everybody knows, members are forbidden to contact you, or praise in any way your unmatched wisdom, your gracious manners, and your unrivalled literary skills. Because membership is automatic until a member is expelled for overtly admiring you, you have the biggest fan club the world has ever known.”
It’s extraordinary how good people are about complying with the rule. For instance, I’ve not heard a word from Queen Elizabeth, bless her heart, although she must have been busting a royal gut to include me in her diamond jubilee address to the nation. President Obama has kept himself under tight control, too, much to his credit, and has manfully refrained from congratulating me on my unmatched wisdom and gracious manners. Aung San Suu Kyi must have had me foremost in her mind when she collected her Nobel Prize the other day, and it was probably all she could do to prevent herself from proclaiming my magnificence in her beautiful, precise English accent.
I must say I am most grateful to them, and to the billions of other members of the Silent Fan Club all over the world who, when pressed, will pretend never to have heard of me rather than forfeit their membership.
Actually, for me the most wonderful thing about the Silent Fan Club is not having to handle fame. Nobody recognizes me in the street. No curvaceous blondes rush up to me and say: “I want your children.” Well, very few lately, anyway.
I must confess that I don’t think I could handle the pressure of being lauded, and hounded by the paparazzi, like a Hollywood star. I prefer the smug anonymity that allows me to sup my beer without some damn nuisance asking for my signature every couple of minutes.
Even those who write against fame wish for the fame of having written well, and those who read their works desire the fame of having read them.— Pascal, Pensées.
Tailpiece“Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup.”
(3)“Goodness, sir, but he’s a slow eater. His friends are on the entree already.”
(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a new Mainly about Boats column.)