I actually believed him at first. Why wouldn't I? I generally take people at their word unless they've given me reason not to. His claims might have seemed extraordinary, if I hadn't met enough improbable people that I tend to give the benefit of the doubt.
He said that he had a photographic memory, and never forgot anything. Sure, okay. Not a problem. Whatever. I've met people with scary-good memories before.
But then with my own rather undistinguished memory, I recalled something he didn't. Still not a big deal, I thought. Even purportedly photographic memories are usually not perfect.
But he would not let it go. According to him, I now had a terrible memory. Never mind that other people remembered it the same way I did. He did not remember it at all. Therefore, it did not happen. End of discussion.
But it wasn't the end. He began accusing me of trying to outdo him in the memory department. I must want to steal the fame and money that could be his any time he wanted it. Why else would I claim to remember something better than he did? I needed to tone down my grandiosity. He'd never met anyone with as amazing a memory as him and he doubted he ever would.
These events repeated themselves enough that I began to realize that his memory was no better than average, he simply rejected the idea that it was fallible. Anything he remembered must have happened exactly as he remembered it, and anything he did not remember must never have happened. He would suffer no argument from the rest of us peons with our meager memories. We were just jealous.
This was only the beginning of a list of claims too great to catalog. They were not always unbelievable on first sight, but rapidly became so as you observed him more closely. He was the first person to do this. The best person to do that. The only reason he wasn't famous was because he didn't want to be. The only reason other people had done things before him or better than him or was because they wanted a piece of that fame he rejected, maybe even money. All of them had got their ideas from him. Since they wanted fame and fortune, they clearly lacked his prodigious levels of humility and modesty. I'm not kidding.
I started avoiding him for my own sanity. He began to harass me, and I found better ways to avoid him. Last I heard, he was telling people that I rejected him for not allowing me access to the recognition I could get through him. It was uncannily like meeting Gilderoy Lockhart, only this guy wasn't even famous for all his efforts.
Gilderoy Lockhart was the only character in the Harry Potter series based on a real person. Of this person, the author says:
You might think it was mean of me to depict him as Gilderoy, but you can rest assured he will never, ever guess. He's probably out there now telling everybody that he inspired the character of Albus Dumbledore. Or that he wrote the books and lets me take the credit out of kindness.1
I don't think this guy would recognize himself in this node, either.
I later found out that he had grown up miserable, lonely, and anonymous, without parents, money, or hope. Maybe the things he told me are the fantasies he told himself in order to survive. Or maybe he's just like this naturally. Whatever his reasons, I wonder if he will ever realize how much happier he would be if he joined the rest of us mere mortals. I guess sometimes you make yourself lonely even though you don't have to.
1 Rowling, J. K. J.K. Rowling Official Site. http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/extrastuff_view.cfm?id=9 Accessed June 8, 2007.