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Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Meet Time's 2006 Person of the Year: Me!

(Special to, a column not heretofore published, but now, with newly lowered standards, available for public perusal, in a not-so-subtle bid to get Time to repeat me as Man of the Year.)

AS A RELATIVELY NEW COLUMNIST I feel I need to introduce myself. (If you have already heard of me, please ignore what you have heard previously.)

If you not have seen the end-of-the-year issue of Time magazine, you may not know yet: I am Time's 2006 Person of the Year. I am sure that you are less astounded by this than I am. I never see these things coming. (The one time I did see it coming -- when I won the prize as the best history student in the sixth grade at Forest Hills Elementary School -- it never came. Henry Swanson told me I won, because he saw the initials "GG" beside the listing of "History" on Mrs. Duncan’s copy of the Award Ceremony program. Good data, bad analysis: that goofy Gail Goodson won.)

Some people have said they don't believe that I am Time's 2006 Person of the Year, including several who say they have seen the Person of the Year issue. OK, Time didn't put my name on the cover, but, duh, they did put my picture on it. Look for yourself. Hold the picture on this column up to the Time cover and compare: the same distinguished, graying hair, the same wry but charming smile, the same classically crooked nose from that bicycle accident in seventh grade. Even Narcissus would have to concede that that's me. Anyway, I'm not going to let the willfully blind keep me from basking in the warm glow of my limelight.

This had been a good year for me, even before the Person of the Year award. No detached retinas. (I had had one in 2004 and one in 2005 so I projected at least one in 2006, but I was wrong.) No major arrests or outstanding warrants against me (as far as I know.) Only had a loaded gun pointed at me once. I won a major award at my tennis club (Hollow Rock Racquet and Swim Club's Most Mediocre Tennis Player.) Finally, I became a regular columnist at the Chapel Hill Herald.

Why did I win Time's 2006 Person of the Year? I can only speculate as Time gave little justification for me as their choice. Perhaps they thought it was obvious. I think it was because I symbolize everything that is America in 2006. I am Biedermann. (For those of you not clever enough to have a degree in the modern foreign language of German, Biedermann is Everyman auf Deutsch.)

So, how am I Everyman? Politically, I am confused -- like almost all Americans, except for those few who are very certain and very certainly wrong. Like most Americans, I would like to throw all the bums out.

Physically, I am the very image of America: of average height and shrinking, of average weight and growing. Intellectually, I'm smack in the middle: half the people know they're dumber than me; half think they're smarter.

I know you're thinking, "Well, you're not average in ego, buster!" That is certainly true now that I am Time's 2006 Person of the Year, but you must understand that I must be measured against my peers, of whom there are very few. Compared to, say, Steve Spurrier, Terrell Owens, Donald Rumsfeld or Donald Trump, even my critics would have to agree I am of a quite average ego. So, I am Biederman with a capital "B."

But why this year?

I think Time realized that 2006 might be the last time in long time that a well-to-do white male could be awarded anything, much less a Person of the Year award. (Though I can follow the trends they see, not to mention the very real prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency, I think they are wrong, if for no other reason than I fully expect to be the first person to repeat as Time's Person of the Year.)

But enough of these questions, which are just quandaries to contemplate, nothing that should be allowed to diminish for a moment the radiance coming off my award. Sometimes blessings like this come and you never know why, even when you know you have done nothing to deserve them. The way my wife feels, I'm sure, every day.

For those of you who did not win Time's 2006 Person of the Year (all 6,613,284,045 of you!), I would like to encourage you not to give up on your dreams even if the statistical probabilities say you should, like when, for example, the statistics say each of you can expect to wait 3.3065 billion years before you become Person of the Year.

And for those of you who have not had the chance to congratulate me yet, the line forms at the rear.


Gary D. Gaddy, Time magazine's 2006 Person of the Year, would like to thank his parents, Inez and Clifford Gaddy, without whom he would not have been possible.

A version of this article was previously not run anywhere.  Copyright  2007  Gary D. Gaddy

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 9:49 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, December 11, 2007 9:59 AM EST
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