Friday, February 01, 2008

Jeff Grubb Day

Well, this is just ducky.

Just as I'm clearing out the deadwood in my rant files, confident that no one is really reading this stuff, old friend Steven Schend goes and recommends me to a host of strangers over at Jim Hines blog So now I feel obligated to provide, you know, CONTENT.

So how about the story of Jeff Grubb Day, which he mentions in his post?

In a nutshell, Jeff Grubb Day is about identity theft, in the same way that Christmas is about breaking and entering (Well, what do YOU call it when a fat guy gains access to your living room via the chimney?). Here's the story:

Many years ago, at TSR, we got a phone call from a gaming convention in Texas. A young lady was trying to convince the con that she (and her husband) were Jeff Grubb. No, really. They told the convention committee that Jeff Grubb was house name that TSR had created, and that there have been a number of Jeff Grubbs, and she and her husband were the PREVIOUS Jeff Grubb. There was NEW Jeff Grubb, so they couldn't say what Jeff Grubb was working on, but they were an OLD Jeff Grubb. And apparently they were pretty convincing to the con committee.

The front desk thought this was amusing, and sent the call up to me, and I patiently explained that I was Jeff Grubb, that I have always BEEN Jeff Grubb, and that there were no previous Jeff Grubbs writing for the company (though I can see the point, since I really enjoyed working on a number of games and worlds, and was generating a lot of text in those days). The convention thanked me very much, told me they would talk to the woman and tell her not to pretend to be me, and that was the end of it.

Well, not quite. Anne Brown, one of our editors over the cube wall, heard all this, and decided that it would be fun if EVERYONE was Jeff Grubb. So the next Monday, everyone had name tags that said "Hi, I'm JEFF GRUBB". Everyone greeted each other as Jeff Grubb. The meeting notes for the day said "Attending: Jeff Grubb, Jeff Grubb, Jeff Grubb, and Jeff Grubb. Jeff Grubb suggested a new product line for the Forgotten Realms, but was hooted down by Jeff Grubb, who said that it was one of Jeff Grubb's worst ideas ever." Even TSR's vice presidents got into the act, wearing name tags on the undersides of their ties and flashing people in the halls (yeah, our vice presidents had a sense of humor).

It was all in fun, but the reason it is burned in Steven Schend's memory forever, was that this was Steven's first day of work at TSR. And EVERYONE he was introduced to was named Jeff Grubb. Worse yet, he just moved to Lake Geneva, and discovered that his next-door neighbor was ... the real Jeff Grubb! Its a wonder he came back to work the next day.

And that's the tale of Jeff Grubb day - a bit of corporate foolishness, when my minions, for one brief, shining moment, became legion.

Oh, and my name tag on Jeff Grubb day? I read "Hi, I'm Roger Moore." But that's a tale for another day.

More later,