I was working with young Franklin the other day (not his real name), and I was shelving a Kurt Vonnegut novel, which reminded me of a Vonnegut title in my own collection. "Hey Franklin. One of my prized possessions is a copy of Slapstick signed by the members of The Clash. It was the only thing I had on hand at the time." His eyes got big. "The Clash? You're kidding, right? 'Cause that's like my favorite band ever."
Finally, I was going to impress someone with my punk rock youth. "What tour was that?" Franklin asked. "Oh," I replied. "It was the 'Cut the Crap' tour, and Mick Jones had already left by that point." Franklin immediately stated that Mick Jones was the more important member of the band and kind of scoffed at the fact that I merely had Joe Strummer and Paul Simonen's autographs in my mass market copy of Slapstick; one of Vonnegut's lesser novels.
Later on The Beatles were playing over the store sound system, and Franklin admitted his admiration for Paul McCartney. I immediately stated that my favorite Beatle is John Lennon, with Paul McCartney being my least favorite, after Ringo and the Dung Beetle. While growing up though, I owned more George Harrison albums than Lennon discs. It's not like I saw the fab four at Shea Stadium! I was only four years old when Yoko broke up the band.
These days the only autographs I'm getting in books, is by the authors themselves. The last book I had signed was The Harder They Come by T.C. Boyle. He was in Seattle, and stopped in our store to sign stock. He was very pleasant, and I chatted with him for a bit. My boss refused to engage him, because he didn't like his hair. Really? Anyway, if you find yourself with some free time this summer, I highly recommend The Harder They Come. It's a literary page-turner, which is the best kind.
I feel like it should be said that I'm really not out to impress anybody. If you knew me, you'd agree heartily. I'm just the grey-haired bearded guy, who is nice to every customer, whether he or she is a bitch or not. Most of my customers are not bitches though, except in the nicest of ways. Okay bitches! What books you reading now? I have a great rapport with my customers.
The Infamous Dung Beetle
The Walrus was Paul