Friday, May 16, 2014

Just frikin' super cool.

Wow... the most amazing thing happened today at work. I can still hardly believe it. I don't think I've ever been so completely discombobulated as I was today, when I had the flummox forcibly ejected right out of my brain by a fistful of unexpected, unfettered flabbergast. So this is what happened:

There's this regular customer who has been coming into the store for years. His name is Travis Lee, and I've known him as a close acquaintance for most of that time, as he comes into the store several times a week.  So, today when he was in the store, Jennifer complemented him on this really cool, bizarro alien octopus thing he had tattooed on his shoulder. I expressed my appreciation along with Jennifer, for It was indeed a pretty cool tattoo, and I asked him what the story was with that thing, to which he replied that his dad was a science fiction author, and that it was inspired by something he had written.

This of course is piqued my interest, so I asked if his dad had anything published, expecting the answer to be either no, or that he was self published with only a few dozen or maybe a hundred or so copies of whatever mediocre novel it was that he had written ... so when Travis replied that yes, his dad was published, and in fact was the author of several works which had spent several months each on the New York Times bestseller list...

...this was about the time that my jaw began to come unhinged, as I just kind of stood there staring into space, wondering vaguely who this kids dad was while he stood there, smiling and obviously waiting for me to take a guess. Finally he said, "My dad has co-authored several books with Arthur C Clarke."

He had barely uttered the last syllable when I blurted out, "No fucking way (pardon my French), your dad is Gentry Lee?!" followed by several back and forths consisting of no way, yes way, holy shit, yup, wow, I can't believe it, yep, it's true, wow, yup, and all this time I never even knew, yup, it's pretty crazy huh, which went on for a good two or three minutes, with me reaching over the counter and pumping his hand up and down like a lunatic.

Now, I realize that most people reading this have never even heard of or know who Gentry Lee is or what he even does, with no idea that in the world of science fiction authors he is a major player; one of those rare heavy hitters who actually, really did experience the privilege of co-authoring several books with Arthur C Clarke himself, the man who wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey and Rendezvous with Rama, along with a myriad of other classic science fiction books throughout his decades-spanning career. Oh, and he also came up with the idea for communication satellites.

So, suddenly finding out that this guy who I have known as a fairly close acquaintance for the past several years is, and has been all along, the son of Gentry Lee, a science fiction author with who's works I have been intimately acquainted and have respected for the past 25 years, was probably the biggest surprising shock that I've ever experienced, ever. At least, I can't think of anything else that has completely knocked me out of my socks like that.

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