So I spent Saturday at the Baltimore Book Festival, which is, as described, a book festival in Baltimore. They invited me to come and read from my book, which was very flattering. Ordinarily this would be great except for the fact that it was an outdoor festival and it was pouring the entire time I was there. Rain and outdoor book browsing do not go well together. As a result, what should have been a mob scene of bibliophiles was a smattering of homeless people sheltering in festival tents. One bright spot - when I was fifteen I had my first girlfriend. For the sake of her anonymity, I will call her Kim (which was her name, but I won't say her last name to protect her identity, but it was Lorah). Anyway, Kim and I used to do what teenagers do: make out in her basement. To cover the banana noises coming from our mouths we used to turn on the television, and for some reason, the show that always seemed to be on during our macking sessions was a cooking show hosted by a congenial Asian man called "Yan Can Cook." If her parents ever wondered why we spent so much time watching an Asian cooking show they never asked. Anyway, as I'm entering the little townhouse where authors get their credentials, who do I run into but Martin Yan, he of "Yan Can Cook." Even better, he's wearing a chef's outfit! He's unmistakably himself. Of course I want to tell him that his show accompanied my first forays to second base, but I thought that would have been inappropriate so instead I just said, "Get the hell out of my way," which was probably even worse. I immediately wrote an email to Kim telling her about my run-in, hoping that she would remember: a.) Me and b.) "Yan Can Cook." To her credit, she remembered both, which I thought was terrific.
The reading itself was pretty good. They had me in the "Literary Salon," which was a fancy way of saying the "Muddy Tent." Or really, "One of the Muddy Tents" because there were several. I noticed that the inspirational speaker TD Jakes had his reading in a big museum auditorium, and I would be willing to be dollars to doughnuts that he wasn't nearly as funny as me, or if he was, I can pretty much guarantee he didn't use the phrase "and then I came on her tits" even once during his talk, as I did. To Baltimore's credit, they really showed up for me. Despite the rain and the mud and the fact that according to my favorite television show, "The Wire," Baltimore is a more dangerous place to Chernobyl, the city's population of hipsters and attractive teenage girls showed up to my reading. I was very pleased and I hope I did a good job for them. Unfortunately, there were a couple children in the audience, which made it awkward when I used the aforementioned phrase involving semen and boobs. I checked with the girl's mother before I said it about whether or not it would okay if I said something "filthy." The mother didn't seem to care, which at the time made me think, "What a cool mother," but in retrospect makes me think "What a terrible mother."