“Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” – Albert Einstein

Sorry to wait so long to respond to my own quote.  My reticence to throw in my own “quote post” is in part due to my desire to see how other people interpreted Iron Maggie’s words first.  But a chunk of the delay just comes from having other things on my mind lately.  More on that later, but suffice to say that it has left me struggling to slip this one in under the wire, while simultaneously juggling the joy of Harry-the-wonder-toddler trashing my office and trying to renegotiate an analytical chemistry contract with a pissed-off chemist.  Yep.  I’m a multitasker.

 Being powerful is like being a lady; if you have to tell people you are,
you aren’t.
   ~ Margaret Thatcher

When I picked the quote what was on my mind was namedropping.  Specifically, SCA namedropping.  I had a person that popped to mind when I first saw it, but I don’t think there’s a message going out to anyone in particular.  Every one of us knows that person who has to fit their association with a well-known personage into every other sentence of a conversation, when they are not listing their own good attributes and touting martyrdom.  Cliches are cliches for a reason.

Now, I am not going to refer to the concept of power in the SCA as imaginary. If by power, we mean the ability to influence people and change their behavior, no “power” is really imaginary, is it?

But we are talking about power in an organization whose basis is pretty escapist in nature and limited in scope.  We can’t stop war in the Middle East, change the price of gas, or even get first in line for a coveted TMX Elmo.  Okay, well, I have gotten that last bit based on SCA contacts, but it’s a long story.  Sorry, toddler-mommyhood took over my brain priorities there for a moment. 

So, we have a organization where perceived power is fairly limited to the internal structure, and an organization that is largely based on imaginary constructs.  Now, you add the once-removed referent power exhibited in NAME DROPPING, for crying out loud.  This is basically, an enhancement of one’s perceived influence by who they associate with (and I have seen the concept of “association” used pretty damned loosely).  You can see where this is leading.  It has a sad humor not far off of the infamous Reno 911 “Boots of Escaping” video.

So every time I hear “I was just chatting with Duke So-and-so the other day” noticeably dropped into a casual conversation, I have to fight the urge to either drop giggling to the floor or (more dignified, but not nearly as sastifying) just roll my eyes.  Sometimes it’s because one of the name-droppees has gotten blue-blind paralytic drunk and passed out in my catbox.  It’s hard to get impressed by an association with somebody you have seen with drool and kitty litter covering one side of their face.  There you go, that’s MY kind of name dropping.  If it’s not embarrassing and image debunking, what good purpose can it possibly serve?  If I ever start feeling my own ego, I always have Stephan behind me to tell the story of me coming out of the shower, half naked and oblivious, calling for court business and a towel simultaneously.  What can I say – I get distracted easily. 

But, the name-dropping itself is only a symptom of something sadder – the need, if not to BE somebody, then to at least touch shoulders with somebody who is somebody.  People who are comfortable with who they are, don’t feel the need to advertise it quite so insistently.  People who are content with their accomplishments don’t need to run around staking their claim on every remote aspect of them.  It’s called self-contentment and self-awareness.  And it isn’t nearly as smug as it sounds. 

November 20th, 2006 at 3:24 pm
4 Responses to “And now, a word from your sponsor…”
  1. 1
    Paul Says:

    We all have our little pet stories about each other. They serve very well to remind us that we are all human with our human foibles. You should just count yourself lucky that it is me standing behind you. I get Moose spouting a dozen different “Lillies” stories taking slices from my ego whether my ego needs trimming or not. Thank God it grows so fast.

  2. 2
    cinnkitty Says:

    OMG!!! I just want to know who it was you caught drunk and sporting a face full of kitty litter. THAT is one for the record books. Right up there with folks who have been caught peeing in a dresser drawer because they were so far gone they thought it was the toilet. ha..ha.ha…..

    And name dropping…… I know I hang out with a crowd of “names”, it just happens that they are my friends. But I always try my best to just sit back and listen, not be the person who has to jump into the conversation with a better story about so and so doing such and such…. I TRY…I really do. I don’t always succeed, but I do try. Internal monitoring…it’s a pain! 🙂

  3. 3
    Salih Says:

    You SO summarized my thoughts, on recent happenings on this side of the fence!! On Monday, who gives a damn? Heck, Sunday afternoon, for that fact. If people, don’t respect you, well….. who are you anyway?

  4. 4
    Kat Says:


    oh man… I spent a good part of a weekend avoiding someone of that ilk. GEEZ.

    Maybe I’d name-drop more often — if I could only remember the names…