I have the unbelievable privilege to report that I have received the highest honor that can be bestowed by my home state, the Commonwealth of Kentucky. I am now a Kentucky Colonel. Yes, I can in fact put "Col. J.C. Hutchins" on my business cards. While you need not hail from the Bluegrass State to receive this supercool distinction (and true honor), I suspect most Kentuckians grow up hearing about the Colonels and maybe -- in their secret hearts -- quietly hope they might someday become a Colonel themselves. I certainly know I did. The title is an honorary one (it's the best deal ever -- it requires no duties, and carries no pay or compensation other than membership in the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels), but is absolutely awesome.
How did this come to pass? Thank Jack Staples (left), a fan of my fiction. Jack secretly nominated me for this honor, which apparently survived the vetting process and was presented to Governor Steve Beshear for consideration. (Only Colonels can nominate others for commission; Jack himself is a Colonel.) Today, I received a package containing an 11"x17" certificate signed by Beshear and Secretary of State Trey Grayson. Also included was a hand-written note from Jack:
While no one can speak for the Governor as to why he writes a commission, I can tell you why I nominated you. It was for your selfless dedication to the people around you as you rose in the ranks of podcasting, as well as your contributions to the field of podcasting.
As I told Jack, I'm absolutely humbled that he believed anything I've done in the New Media space warranted such attention. The fact that this potboiler-writing (and pot-bellied!) wordherder was approved further stupefies me. :D
According to a document that accompanied the certificate, Kentucky Colonels are "Kentucky's ambassadors of goodwill and fellowship around the world." This is very cool, but it's got me wondering: Does this mean I have to behave myself?
Unbelievably, I'm now in the company of Colonels such as Johnny Depp, Muhammed Ali, Elvis Presley, Winston Churchill, Whoopi Goldberg, Tiger Woods, Betty White, Babe Ruth and Pope John Paul II. I take greatest pleasure in knowing I have the same honorary Colonel-dom bestowed to Harland Sanders (the KFC colonel) and Tom Parker ("The Colonel," Elvis Presley's manager).
Personally, I'm hoping someone cooks up a fan-created "Novelist Version" of the Clue board game, if only so someone out there can someday say: "Colonel Hutchins in the Library with the Revolver!"
In all sincerity, I'm absolutely honored to be a Kentucky Colonel, and am especially grateful to Jack Staples for finding me worthy of nomination.
Call me Colonel,