I’ve spent the last couple days in Boston, where I did a book signing and ate a steak. The steak was better than the book signing. They put me in a brand new Borders in the town of Wareham, which is about forty five minutes South of Boston proper. This was their Grand Opening Weekend, which was incredibly exciting, as evidenced by the tens of people in the store. There were events scheduled throughout the weekend, and I was sandwiched between a cake decorating class and a Fancy Nancy dress-up party for little girls. Later in the day I’m told some storm troopers were going to show up, although it was unclear to me whether these were going to be storm troopers from the “Star Wars” films or from the Third Reich. Either way, it sounded pretty cool.
They put me at a table in the front of the store so when people entered they could see a guy sitting by himself at a table surrounded by unsold copies of his book. This did not do much to bolster my self-confidence. On the other hand, it gave me the opportunity to practice saying, “Welcome to Borders,” which is what I anticipate myself doing in the near future if I can’t get something off the ground.
Apparently this new Borders was a “concept store.” The concept, as best as I could tell, was that it looked like every other Borders store. No, I was told when I mentioned this to the store manager, this Borders has a new color scheme and wavy book tables. Yes, wavy book tables instead of straight-edged book tables. That way, when browsing books, customers can experience the slight nausea associated with cruising on an ocean liner. When I asked if the new concept included nausea, the store manager said it did not.
I was scheduled to be there from 2:00-3:00, but the meager line of people waiting to get their books signed was pretty exhausted by 2:15, even though I wrote very long inscriptions in people’s books so I could extend the illusion of there actually being a line as much as possible. Sample inscription in a book:
“Hi, (fill in name here). Thanks so much for taking the time to come to the Borders here at Wareham today to come see me. That was really nice of you, especially considering this store is in the middle of nowhere. I hope you don’t get a disease. Your pal, Michael Ian Black”
In retrospect, I probably didn’t need to write that I hope the person doesn’t get a disease because I think it’s commonly understood most people hope the people they’re speaking with don’t get a disease. The only time to write anything about diseases at all is if you feel the opposite, in which case you might write, “I hope you do get a disease,” but that would be a horrible thing to write to somebody who just bought my book.