The way cool relative
This weekend three of my cousins came to the house for an afternoon visit. Mostly they wanted to see their aunt and uncle who are now living at our house. It was the normal family thing. The cousins were talking way and their kids had no idea who I was or why they were there. After all I hadn't seen any of them since 1982. Then out the blue the 17 year old son of one of my cousins looks at me says, "Do you work on Java?". His dad quickly piped in, "Can't you tell from his shirt?". I was wearing one of the Java.Net T-shirts.
Generally I try to keep things simple at this point. I said I was the JavaDesktop Community Leader and the lead engineer on JavaHelp. After a few more questions he asked, "Do you have any Java T-shirts?". As it turned out I had a couple of Java.Net and JavaHelp T-shirts.
As I gathered the shirts he starting asking more and more questions. At one point he asked if I could teach him Java. While I declined, I did tell him that if he was interested he should learn because the Advanced Placement test for Computer Programs was now based on Java instead of C++. We talked a little more about the differences between Java and C++ and other advantages Java has over C++. I also pointed him to the java.net Games Community since that is where his, and probably every other 17 year old developer, interest was.
After a quick tour of the Games Community and the Java3D project he turned to his dad and said, "Dad, you never told me we had any way cool relatives!".
Everyone laughed but I have to admit it's pretty satisfying to know that the work you're doing is viewed by a 17 year old as making you the "way cool relative".