The Distinguished Frog

I attended a conference recently. While there, two aspects of my brain were exploding. One was the silly part of it, and of course the other was the real theme of the conference. As usual, I am here to blog about the former, since the latter will be up on you-tube in a series of presentations in one form or the other.

The proceedings started and all the folks were busy gorging at the free Continental Breakfast Line. There is something about these breakfasts that have people starting off with a muffin, then moving on to yogurt followed by orange juice and then coffee before having another muffin. It happened right when folks were stuffing their third muffin into their mouths. A busy looking man with a shiny pate came up to the front of the room and addressed the audience. A respectful hush fell upon one and all. He said a few words about why we were all gathered there, and then said, “Well….this wonderful person here is going to facilitate the proceedings and he, as you all know, needs no introduction!”

I have been to tons of programs where people start the proceedings by saying, “Mr. Gasbag here is very famous and needs no introduction.” When this happens, I settle down deeply in my chair to listen to the 15 minute introduction that follows, ripe with details the audience had no clue about and in some cases what Mrs Gasbag did not know.

But this time it was different. Mr Shiny Pate kept mum after this, while polite laughter broke out through the room. He smiled at the poor fish and bid him to come up to the front of the room. The poor wonderful-person now made it awkwardly to the limelight. I have a feeling Mr. S. Pate might have forgotten his name, but all the same, that was quite a jar.

The whole audience gulped their muffins as one. Because, apart from a handful of folks in the room, the rest did not know the wonderful-person at all. Meanwhile, it was almost as if I could see the debate raging in his head. “Do I introduce myself? Or don’t I introduce myself? Am I distinguished enough or am I not? ” He gulped and he finally decided against it. He decided to test his popularity and it must have hurt him. He was one of those academic types who are happiest when analyzing the result of their latest research paper, not winning popularity contests.

It was the wrong choice. Just as soon as he skirted the introduction and started on the agenda instead, I saw that the room, like myself, was scrambling at the packet handed to us to see who he was.

Well, that shows us doesn’t it? One may be the most distinguished frog in the pond, but when frogs from other ponds gather, where are we?

Image

This picture is so bad, I should have actually gone for the one I liked on google images – sigh!

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