In my line of work, you sometimes get phone calls from people who want you to advise them on how to do business with other people vaguely in your line of work. It’s like, if you coached a flag football team and had to randomly field calls from people who want to get into the NFL, but don’t quite know how.
Sometimes, you can offer them general advice just based on what they tell you over the phone–“Well, you’re going to need an agent, first”; “No, I don’t know of any teams that give special preference to people who’ve been to Korea. Yes, I understand ‘during the war.’ I’m just saying…”
And sometimes you can’t really help them because, even though what you do is called the same thing as what they want to do, the fact is, they’re very different things.
Often, the people calling you know this. It doesn’t stop them from going on for ten, fifteen, sometimes twenty minutes with their whole life story. Sometimes, you can tell they just really think that, if you hear about their project, you will break all the rules and give them a contract. Sometimes, they just need to say stuff out loud and have someone listen. And sometimes they start going on about open sores or how they just need $3,000 to go to Israel to dig under Golgotha because that’s where the Ark of the Covenant is hidden and, inside it, the Holy Grail, which they have discerned through means they cannot tell you about.
Needless to say, I prefer the second kind. Which, the open sores/open source guy turned out to be.
He’s going to get Ray Bradbury to help him, he says, which makes me think that he might have been slowly leaking over into the third kind of caller, but he got off the phone a lot quicker than those guys tend to do, so it’s hard to say.