Several months ago I received an email from Susan Bubak, a contributor to the University of Guelph alumni & friends magazine known simply as The Portico1. She wanted to know if she could come chat with me for a piece in the magazine.
My first thoughts were Me? Seriously? You must have me mistaken with some other Dan Gillis2.
And then I probably giggled nervously to myself, and grinned like an idiot – as is customary when I realize that someone thinks I’m a responsible adult who knows stuff about things.
I hit reply and wrote sure thing or something equally cheery and cheese-tastic. I then spent a minute or two contemplating what I wrote and whether or not I should follow through. And then I clicked send.
Holy crap, what did I just do? Now Susan is going to come and interview me and realize that I’m a giant dork and then the entire world will know because she’s going to write an article about me that says that I’m a huge dork and people will wonder how I ever got my job because I’m too dorky to have a job and I’ll end up broke and penniless trying to sell equations or numbers to random passers-by.
But then I realized that my dorkiness wouldn’t be news, and I should probably just relax.
Shortly after that initial email exchange I met with Susan and we chatted and as far as I could tell, she ignored my obvious dorktacular traits and instead decided to focus on my research. Clearly I owe her huge.
After our chat, she went on her merry way and performed her magic – turning my wordstuffs into something that people would actually want to read4.
Flash forward to this evening when I arrived home to find my new copy of The Portico in my mailbox. I’d like to say that I didn’t immediately search for my article, but we all know that would be a lie5. I also would be telling a lie if I were to write that I didn’t squee just a little.
The article – found on page 6 of the CPES6 Alumni News section (which will be available on the interwebs soon) begins:
“It’s easy to spot Dan Gillis lounging on a beach: he’s probably the only one reading a math or statistics textbook.”
Every time I read it, I can’t help but smile like an idiot.
1 The Portico is named after the limestone structure – the Portico – that stands on Johnston Green. Originally a doorway for students in 1874, it’s now a traditional place for photos during graduation.
2 Believe it or not, there are several of us in Guelph, and this wouldn’t be the first time that someone has contacted me when they were actually trying to contact them. In one situation, I chatted with someone on the phone for 10+ minutes before we both realized that neither of us knew who we were talking with3.
3 Yes, I really am that brilliant. Sigh.
4 Come to think of it, I should probably have her translate all of my work so that people might actually want to read it.
5 A bold-faced lie. Get it? Ha! I kill me.
6 CPES, also known as the College of Physical and Engineering Science.
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