Reflections of a Runner-Up

| illustration by Charles Marsh |

Like me, many of you were probably shocked that my name did not appear on the "10 most interesting people" list, which is the main topic in this month's issue. 

After checking out an early edition, I of course stormed into my editor's office and demanded some answers. I gradually began calming down as security arrived for a couple of reasons. First of all, the Tasers momentarily incapacitated me. And secondly, right after I was able to crawl to my feet, she explained that I was actually one of the runners-up. I felt much better knowing that I was on a list that she had meticulously whittled down to everyone else living in Fort Worth.

But my editor was also nice enough to offer some tips that might help me contend next year. I'm going to share those and a few of my own observations with the rest of you finalists.

For starters, change makes for an exciting life, which in turn makes you more interesting. It's fear of change that leads to a stagnant existence, which in turn will get you quickly labeled as boring. The changes don't have to be drastic. Start slowly. For instance, if you've always worn pajamas, try sleeping in the nude. Even on buses.

Boring people also seem to follow the same routine over and over. Interesting people like to explore new places. Try a different vacation spot every year and have fun while you're doing it. Unfortunately, sometimes I try to have a little too much fun. That's why I always try to vacation in a city where I wouldn't mind returning for a court date.

Try to develop an air of mystery. This actually can easily be accomplished by constantly staring at your Smartphone. And surprisingly, it's also a great way to interact with new people. You see, the great thing about tweeting while driving is all the people you wind up running into on the sidewalk. With women, I've noticed that the more yoga attire they own, the more text messages they send. So becoming more interesting might just hinge on a couple of extra pair of lululemon pants.

What also may surprise you is that interesting people are generally the ones who say the least. They always appear interested in what others are saying or pay compliments when they're unexpected. This can actually be accomplished quite easily. The next time the cashier at Tom Thumb asks you if you found everything you're looking for, gently take his or her hand, then lean over and whisper in his or her ear, "I have now."

I also discovered years ago that sometimes even simple possessions can suddenly make you interesting. Back in the early ’80s, I happened to wind up with an old telescope after a poker game. I kept it along with all the lenses in a box in my office, which at the time was downtown and directly across from the Worthington hotel. Our offices had a direct view of the rooms with attached sun decks. It was also where the flight crews from Lufthansa stayed on their overnights. One afternoon I thought we were having an earthquake, but as it turned out, everyone in our building was rushing to the windows on our side of the building. One of the German stewardesses had decided to take some midday sun, and it was pretty obvious that she didn't want any tan lines. Word traveled fast. I watched entire office buildings empty out all over town with hundreds of guys heading in our direction. Some even drove over from Dallas. Word also got out that I had a telescope. For the next four hours, there was not one lick of work performed in downtown Fort Worth. I don't know how many folks came through my office to look through the telescope, but if I'd had a nickel for every one of them, well, I'd have made half as much money 'cause I was charging a dime. It was my most lucrative day as an attorney.

As I was leaving, the last advice my editor gave me was to never pretend to be something I'm not. Then she looked at me and said, "Except sober."