REALITY CHECK: My book signing was a success … for Sweet Annie
I picked up enough cash at my Saturday book signing to pay the bar tab I ran up later that evening. I didn’t pay it, Sweet Annie did, but I could have. And we had prime rib, so, all in all, I consider the signing a rousing success.
As I mentioned in a previous column, I was scared shirtless (that’s not a typo — this is a family newspaper!) about doing a public event. I needn’t have been.
The folks who showed up were very nice, especially Lois, who said I was “handsome.” That’s not a typo, either, and she said it with a straight face! Yes, really. All I can say is, Lois must be a heckuva poker player.
Since I’m not Stephen King, there was no long line out the bookstore’s front door and I had plenty of time to chat with everyone who stopped by.
I spoke with snowbirds June and Mike about their upcoming trip to Arizona, where they plan to hide out until the ice melts next April. I offered to accompany them as their houseboy, but apparently, they can do better by way of domestic assistance.
Carla bought a copy of my book for her son, who lives in the U.P. Carla sends my newspaper column to him every week, in part because I remind her of her son. I hope Carla hasn’t mentioned this to the poor kid, since a comment like that can only be interpreted as an insult.
My neighbor, Linda, from across the lake, also attended, even though she could drop by my place any time if she really wanted a copy of my book.
So rather than being the flop-sweat fest I had anticipated, the signing was … well … kinda fun.
Also, I liked hanging with Kevin, the guy who manages Robbins Book List, where the signing was held. He’s the first person I’ve met who likes beer as much as I do. Plus, he’s a Gove Scrivenor fan. (You would be, too, if you’d ever heard him play, which you haven’t, because almost nobody has. That’s another story.)
The only downside to the whole affair was this: I couldn’t get over the feeling that nobody was really there to see ME. They were there to see my g-friend, Sweet Annie.
Annie stood by my side, like a good woman in a bad country-western song, to lend moral support. But it wasn’t long before I noticed a disturbing trend: Everyone — EVERYone — who showed up, shook my hand, introduced him-or-herself, and then turned to my honey and said, “And YOU must be Sweet Annie!” At which point they would toss me a copy of my book for signing and thereafter ignore me completely.
Annie, more poised than Marie Antoinette prior to her “Let them eat cake” faux pas, engaged each reader with a charm and grace any political candidate would spend millions to replicate. She was definitely the star of the day.
I was the schmendrick sitting next to her.
But I don’t mind. In fact, watching her converse with these folks, genuinely interested in what each had to say, I couldn’t help but feel proud.
You know that scene in “The American President” in which Annette Bening suddenly begins conversing with the French ambassador in his native tongue and Michael Douglas is duly impressed? It was like that.
I was hoping somebody from France would show up, just so Annie could speak French to them (she does, you know; speak French, I mean).
At any rate, I now have a plan for all future book signings or other public events I’m coerced into doing. From now on, I’ll simply stand by the door, shake hands as folks come in, and then point them to Sweet Annie. She can take it from there.
I’m crazy about that girl. After all, she did pick up the bar tab.
Mike’s book, “Looking at the Pint Half Full” is available at Robbins Book List in Greenville and in ebook format from Amazon.com.