I’m Just A Wild And Not Funny Guy (True Story V)

True story:

Some years ago now I was working as the interim history department manager at a Borders Books & Music in Los Angeles, California.  (Now, are you more surprised by the fact that Borders has an interim history manager, or by the fact that I was, you know, working?)  Before I was ostensibly promoted to second-in-command of the magazine rack (these were heady days, people!), I was in charge of shelving inventory in history, assisting customers with their history-book-related needs, and even designing what we in the trade call ‘end caps.’  (Indeed, my award-winning end cap dealing with the disputed 2000 election netted me a Borders gift certificate.  I think it’s fair to say I missed my calling.)  And of course all Borders employees took their turns at the cashier and the information desk.

A truly worthwhile read, by the way.

Now, this being (cue the music) Holly-wood, we were the celebrity bookstore.  I once helped Seth Green pick out an audio book.  John Cusack shopped there.  Aylssa Milano learned how to read there.  I even once had a conversation with a very gracious Paul Giamatti about a certain book I had read about a certain baseball scandal.

One day I was at the information desk, minding my own business (i.e., explaining to customers we were sold out of the latest Harry Potter), when, suddenly, every known Borders employee within a 500 mile radium crowded the information desk.  Whoa, I thought.  I was the interim head of the history department.  I was allowed to be here.  Who the hell are these yahoos?

And then, in front of us, almost like an apparition, appeared the reason:  Mr. Steve Martin.

Now, I’ve met a fair share of celebrities in my life: Al Pacino.  Katie Holmes.  Last night, Andy Samberg (true story).  But:  Mr. Steve Martin.

Who wouldn’t be awed by this classic-screenplay-writing, King Tut-singing, Oscar-hosting, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels-starring, Mark Twain-prize winning humorist?  He was in the store, along with a fetching young blonde straight out of central casting, to sign copies of his novella Shopgirl, which I had devoured and loved.

Oh, I know that look.

So we all gawked as Mr. Steve Martin signed books.  When he was finished he inquired as to whether there were other copies to sign, I, like a giant idiot, like a wild and not funny guy, attempted a joke.

In front of Mr. Steve Martin.

I said:  “Would you sign copies of books you didn’t write?”

Oh, reader.  It hung there, in the air.  For an eternity.  I withered, until I looked up and received a sad, little courtesy laugh from the Central Casting Blonde.  And a slight glare from Mr. Steve Martin, as in, Really?

True story.

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4 Responses to “I’m Just A Wild And Not Funny Guy (True Story V)”

  1. The Rabbi Says:

    I actually had the same exact experience at my Barnes & Noble in November, but it was Albert Pujols. And nothing gets past Mr. Pujols.

  2. “There is no off position on the genius switch.” (VI) « Wally's Blog Says:

    […] True story. I couldn't think of any pictures for this post, so I thought you'd enjoy this classic shot from my high school days. […]

  3. And A Duck To Be Named Later (VII) « Wally's Blog Says:

    […] A comforting thought to remember, if you’re ever traded.  True story. […]

  4. True Story (VIII) « Wally's Blog Says:

    […] as other similarly geek-y friends (and God knows when the books first came out, when I was working at a now-defunct Borders in L.A., I resisted the series, feeling a wee ‘above it all’), but I’ve traipsed […]

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