I recently found my now teenaged son’s childhood Inventor’s Notebook, a little spiral bound notepad he received at the age of 8, and in which he listed his myriad and sundry ideas for making the world a better place. The first carefully lettered entry reads, “A waiting room that speeds up time.” He’s always been a Renaissance man.
I can only imagine what an interminable wait he must have had somewhere to come up with that one. But many of his youthful ideas were generously intended, if not already existing in some variant form:
- The Birthday card copier – “a simple machine that copies thank you cards so all you need to do is write down what you’re thanking for”
- A robotic pool vacuum (which “you can also program to do patterns!”)
- The solar sailor – a space sailboat
Last year, he came up with another great idea – the SkypeBot . He tinkered and programmed and researched and had a great time right up until the announcement by Anybots about QB, their new game changing telepresence robot. Oh. That’s what they’re called.
Always the bridesmaid never the bride. A day late and a dollar short. Missed the boat. Again.
But my son’s more of a “Never say die” kind of guy, so he wrangled a summer internship at Anybots last year, to learn from the experts. He’s still tinkering with his SkypeBot with some friends, and considers the whole thing a grand and exciting learning opportunity.
The Hall of Near Fame is highly underrated, even though there are far more portraits on its hallowed walls than in any Hall of Fame gallery. The Hall of Near Fame is peopled with those whose fame doesn’t endure for more than a few hours or a few days; who win second or third place (which is a lot more folks than win first); those beaten to the market by faster inventors or quick imitators; those who sing , dance and act in popular nightclubs, community and dinner theaters; writers whose books sell well but modestly and who will never have their books made into movies, or whose articles we love but who will never win a Pulitzer Prize.
Jessica Dovey has a fresh spot in the Hall of Near Fame, after her compassionate thoughts quoting Dr. Martin Luther King unintentionally went viral earlier this week. She inadvertently but eloquently showed us that a lot of people are more thoughtful about the headline news than might have been expected. Head over to Joe Hero and you’ll see a bunch of other great Hall of Near Famers – people who pick up tabs for strangers, pay groceries forward, who help others without any thought of reward, let alone fame. My son’s in the Hall of Near Fame, because he’s got all the stuff of greatness sans the fame: creativity, intellect, inventiveness, drive, compassion, a good natured sense of humor and an indomitable spirit. He is, in short, like all the other people in the Hall of Near Fame, a good person who lives with spirit and intentionality in a world that needs just that.
The Hall of Fame is an exclusive club that only lets in a tiny percentage of people within a narrow range of achievement. The Hall of Near Fame is open to everyone who works hard and comes close – which is most of us. Come on in!