On Saturday Lee & I concluded our summer tour of fine bookstores across Southern California by visiting the Barnes & Noble in Calabasas. For reasons I'm not entirely certain of, instead of being in a kind of dedicated area with chairs and a microphone and such, we instead were positioned right in front of the front door of the store behind a table next to a poster featuring our names and our books. In terms of density of people, it was a very good thing as we ended up selling lots of books just because we were standing there talking to friends and family and fans, which made people walk up and see us and buy our books and all that good stuff. So, yeah, it was a mitzvah.
The downside was that standing in the front of the store like that invited every fucktard on the planet to ask me -- only me, not Lee, because somehow Lee repels fucktards (except maybe the ones he's arguing with here, which a commenter rightly called a "fucktardathon" -- a word I have now added to my lexicon -- and which is highlighted by that very odd woman who thinks Lee has a twat, or is a twat, or something like that, and claims that Lee is homophobic, which is odd since I always thought he hated everyone and wasn't really very specific about it) questions of such brazen oddity that I really began to think I was being filmed. There was a highlight, however, which I will get to in a moment. First, fucktardapalooza:
Woman: [Walks up to the table and begins emptying her purse out on my books. Looks up. Sees me. Sees my books.] Burn Notice.
Woman: I used to love that show McCloud.
Woman: Then he became my step father.
Me: Who did?
Me: Dennis Weaver?
Woman: It was very complicated. But McCloud was very nice to me. He wasn't really married to my mother, but he treated me like a daughter.
Me: Dennis Weaver?
Woman: He had this great house up on Mulholland. We used to also go to Universal and run around. Did you ever watch McCloud?
Me: A little before my time. He's dead now, though, right?
Me: Dennis Weaver. Dennis Weaver is dead.
Woman: Oh, I have no idea. That was a long time ago.
A man walks up. He has the look of a man about to ask me to read his novel, which is in his trunk this very moment.
Man: You wrote these books?
Me: I did.
Man: I'm looking for some advice on writing books. Your brother says you're a professor. Are you a professor?
Me [glaring at Lee as he slinks away like the vile homophobic twat that he clearly is]: I am.
Man: What do you teach?
Man: Well, see, here's the thing. I don't know how to finish my book or get it sold.
Me: What's it about?
Man: It's set in present day and it's about a Holocaust survivor who is chasing down his Nazi captor.
Me: He must be chasing him down very slowly.
Man: What do you mean?
Me: Well, even if both of them were newborns at the time, they'd be in their sixties now.
Me: My point being that you might want to rethink that present day angle.
Man: I've done a ton of research. I know all the things there are to know. I know [goes on for about 30 minutes detailing what he knows]. So how do I sell it?
Me: Wait, wait, wait. Have you actually written any of it yet?
Me: Not a word?
Me: That might be your next move before trying to sell it.
Man [picks up my book, flips through it] Is this realistic?
Me: That depends. Have you ever been a burned spy?
Man: Like that show?
Me: Like that show, yes.
Man: No. That just seems foolish to me.
Me: Then you will find this pretty authentic.
Man: [flips through it again] All right. Sold.
Me: [Signing: I hope you like this better than that foolish show.]
Finally, at the conclusion of the day, we had our lone celebrity interaction -- apart from the celebrities who are our friends who showed up, of course, and our sister Linda, who didn't end up beefing with any scrapbookers, sadly -- when Stephanie Edwards, the host of the Rose Parade and the voice of 8 million Lucky's commercials, stopped and said how much she enjoyed my article in the LA Times about writing The Fix. Sadly, Lee offended her (supposition on my part, but it feels like a real possibility) and she left without buying either of our books. It wasn't too disappointing, particularly when you consider one of the greatest fucktard experiences I've ever had at a booksigning. The following happened at a Borders in Rancho Mirage where I was signing Living Dead Girl.
Woman: This looks like a book Tony Robbins would really love.
Me: That's the first time I've heard anyone say that sentence.
Woman: No, really, he'd love this. Would you like Tony to have a copy?
Me: Sure. If you think he wants it, I think he should have it.
Woman: Oh, see, I work for him.
[She hands me a card that says something along the lines of I Work For Tony Robbins.]
Me: So, you're a lifecoach or something?
Woman: I help motivate people.
Me: I see. Well. Okay. Do you want me to sign the book to Tony?
Woman: Yes. Make it to Anthony, actually.
Me: Okay. [Signing: For Anthony, I owe it all to you.] There you go.
Woman: Thanks! [She walks away with the book in her hands and heads for the door, which begins beeping and blaring.] What's going on?
Me: Oh, you have to buy the book still.
Woman: I'm not buying this.
Me: You can't just have it.
Woman: I thought you said you wanted Tony to have it.
Me: That doesn't mean you get to walk out of Borders without paying for it. You have to buy it.
Woman: That's crazy. Why would I buy this when you want Tony to have it?
Me: I don't want Tony to have it. I want you to buy it. There's a difference.
Woman: Why would I want it when it's made out to Tony?
Me: Ma'am, let me put it to you this way: I don't own the books. Borders does. You want the book, Tony wants the book, Deepak Chopra wants the book, you gotta buy it. This is a for profit business.
Woman: You're not a very good spokesperson for your own books if you're not willing to give them away for free to someone like Tony Robbins. You just lost a lot of sales! [slams down the book and walks away]