I do not, as a rule, use other people as examples of “What Not To Do.” But this particular example was so blatant, I couldn’t pass it up. Besides, it happened to the beneficent Mr. Hall, and he really doesn’t count as “other people.”
On this week’s business trip to Florida (and may I just say here that I find it odd that Mr. Hall’s business trips are invariably in Florida when the weather in Georgia is chillsville. As I also find it odd that Mr. Hall’s business trips are in Chicago when the Cubs are playing…), the beneficent Mr. Hall was boarding the plane when oops! He dropped a novel (The Book of the Dead, if you must know).
The gentleman behind Mr. Hall exclaimed, “Oh, I know that writer! It’s a great book!” I can’t report what Mr. Hall replied, but I’m guessing something along the lines of “Mmmph.” Next, the kindly gentleman said, “I’m a writer.” At which point, Mr. Hall did not say, “Oh, my wife’s a writer, too.” Or, “Really? What’s your name? What have you written?” In point of fact, Mr. Hall was apparently so taken with the fact that another person in the universe was a writer, that he said nothing. Or, maybe it was “Mmmph.”
Now, grasshopper, if you should ever have the opportunity to meet a writer, particularly a writer who points out that he knows the writer of a fine book, do not say, “Mmmph.” Introduce yourself, have a little chat, schmooze a bit. Possibly mention your wife who is a writer.
Particularly if the writer gentleman walks all the way up to First Class and leaves the “other people” (like the beneficent Mr. Hall) way back in the plane with their paperback novels and bags of peanuts.