I have to confess that being named Time's 2006 "Person of the Year" came as a surprise to me. Sure, I managed a good GPA and made decent use of time as a research assistant. But I never once thought that anything I had done was earth-shattering or particularly meaningful to the world. However, as Wylie Burp told Fievel, sometimes the real hero is the last one to know about it. So, it is with such a humble spirit that I acknowledge the wisdom of naming me a recipient of this award last year. After all "it is a great accomplishment, which requires skill, longevity, and determination," as Hammerin' Hank might say. Being a student and part-time research assistant who tries to find the time to watch the occasional YouTube video is tough work, though I dare say Putin's 2007 has even surpassed the greatness of my 2006. I move over now and offer my best wishes to President Putin with the hope that his accomplishment will inspire others to chase their own dreams, whether it be watching streaming video on YouTube or leading entire nations.
President Putin, I suspect, will discover as I have that living with the burden of representing Time for a whole year will lead to immense bouts of self-doubting and anxiety. Once people associate you with "Person of the Year," it becomes difficult to meet their expectations. Yet, in spite of the tribulation, I do not regret the journey. Like an Olympian, I pass this prestigious torch. Though my light may fade from the public scene, we can only hope and pray that Putin's lantern has only begun to show us the way for a better 2008.