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July 20, 2008

Boston

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.


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Lindsay

I work at that Borders store in Wareham. And I mentioned to you that I came in early to work just to see you. (Not that you care). But I can assure you, you wont get a disease from Wareham.. I haven't received one yet.

But I do appreciate you stopping by our store and it was a great experience meeting you. Thanks Michael!

And yes, you did miss the Storm Troopers, the star wars ones. They changed in our break room which was quiet awkward when I was trying to eat a piece of that cake from the cake decorator, but nonetheless you should of stayed!

Lauren

my friend and i drove an hour to go to the wareham book signing just to see you for like 8 seconds so i hope that boosts you celebrity self esteem. i was wearing an "I <3 Jesuits" shirt and you wrote (Jews!) in my book and it was the best moment of my life. please come back to massachusetts, but closer to my house.

bryan

aww, if i had known you were going to be in the boston area i'd totally stop by to get a copy of your book signed.

Molly Mary

I am so dumb. I misread the schedule, and I have several friends all set to go to your book signing tomorrow in Boston, when clearly there isn't one. Now when I read your book, it will be tainted with the bitter knowledge that I can't actually read, and that I'm just sitting in my house staring at nonsensical markings on a page, laughing on the outside, but crying on the inside.

Alison

Wow, I can't believe they stuck you in Wareham. That's ridiculous.

Cowgirl

So....was it the 501st? Yeah, yeah, make fun of me. :P I'm a babetrooper, what can I say. ;)

Earle

I was at that book signing and I saw those wavy bookshelves.

Luckily, I always wear several anti-nausea bracelets so I didn't puke all over the place.

Two old people next to me did puke though. All over the many unsold copies of your book.

How do you like that ?

No seriously, it's a fun-knee book. Especially all of that erotic fiction you write so cleverly.

Mike Medeiros

Wareham, Ma.
I drove only about 30 mi. but fortunately I came from the south so I avoided any traffic but I still got there an hour and a half early just to make sure. I anticipated having to get in line about an hour before.(I ended up being 4th in line anyway) Well I couldn't even get 3 employees to give me the same response as to where you would be situated or where the line would form. And 1 of those women (an older manager) looked like she didn't want to be bothered. I was able to kill the balance of time before you arrived by hiding in the back of the "cafe" away from the coffee snobs and start reading your book and quietly laughing to myself. So it doesn't surprise me your visit was less than memorable.
I think that Borders (and many chain bookstores are like this) looked upon us as the way they may see comic book fans. They didn't consider you or us a respectable or important cog in their literary machine. BOOK SNOBS.
Well the laughs will be on them because your book is a classic.
And remember sometimes it's better to have dedicated rabid fans-in small numbers- thrilled to see you who will then go out and talk up your book and spread their enthusiasm. The 20-30 ppl. who were in line are worth hundreds that might not even read it and who know nothing about you or support any of your other art. Quality not monochromatic mobs of summer home Danielle Stelle reading quantity.
Fuck Borders. Next book we have a fucking TACO PARTY !

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