"Were you once in Harry Hill?"
Apart from the distinctly 'tabloid' (and, when you come to think of it, rather personal) nature of the question, I had to acknowledge that the answer was indeed in the affirmative.
"Yes, I did briefly make an appearance in the programme Harry Hill's TV Burp back in 2003". I smiled at the student whom, I couldn't help but noticing, had probably been around 4 years old at the time.
We had just come to the end of a long (but I like to think profitable) dissertation meeting, outlining in detail the nature of the Harvard Referencing system, but I could already feel my synapses starting to decay. I could also, however, sense that the student was awaiting further input.
"It was a piece on the Piltdown skull, a riff based on something I'd said in another programme about how strange it was to think that the earliest human could have come from the Home Counties of England"
"and that the skull may therefore have been a bus conductor from the 1970s ITV situation comedy On the Buses"
[more silence - this time accompanied by awkward shuffling]
I guess you had to be there.
Still, at the time, I recall that this 9 second appearance gained more attention than anything I had ever written, researched or previously published, to the extent that even the man in the Off Licence later greeted me with a "ere, didn't I just see you on the telly? Sandra, Sandra, this man's a friend of Harry Hill" (followed by an ultimately futile attempt to explain to both the owner and Sandra that although yes, I had appeared on Harry Hill's programme in a pre-recorded clip, no I hadn't actually met Harry Hill and therefore couldn't really think of him as an acquaintance).
I felt that it was now my turn to ask the student a question: "why do you want to know?"
For a moment he looked a little non-plussed. "Well", he confessed, "it says on Wikipedia that you were once his TV expert of the week".
Ah yes, how everything else you may have achieved in life ultimately fades to nothing when it comes to the extraordinary power of the goggle-box...
...is term over yet?