Not everybody was a fan of Pop artist Andy Warhol: his film oeuvre started at inaccessible and worked its way inward, and to some sensibilities there was something dreadfully wrong about painting a can of Campbell's Tomato Soup, let alone getting paid big bucks for it. But he was a quotable fellow, and his most famous comment, in this age of blogorrhea and YouTube, has been demonstrated to be almost scarily prescient: "In the future everybody will be world-famous for 15 minutes."

I'm not sure what I think of this pronouncement, especially since "everybody," by definition, includes me. By some standards, not necessarily mine, I have accomplished much in this lifetime, and there's nothing wrong with a quarter-hour (whatever the exact timeframe) in the spotlight — except for the minor detail that I don't much like the spotlight. For one thing, it's hot. For another, it's unforgiving: the shadows are few, and hiding within them is difficult.

The odd thing about this, I suppose, is that before reaching adulthood I was apparently something of an exhibitionist, and not in the flasher sense: my brother once asserted that one day in grade school he was warned that he would not be allowed to pull the sort of crap I had. I had to think about that for a moment — for the specific grade in question, I didn't remember any crap I had pulled — but no doubt he was correct, since (1) he tends to remember things like this better than I do anyway and (2) he was on the receiving end, which tends to fix things in the mind rather more firmly than one would like. Still, all the way through high school, I had at least something of the show-off about me, with the notable exception of that mysterious boy/girl business, which I found frightfully easy to avoid.

After all that, a touch of humility was inevitable: as mythologists will remind us, Hubris is followed inexorably by Nemesis. My term in the Army was nothing special, although I did somehow earn a medal for meritorious servic