Friday, December 14, 2007

Nit Wit

A local radio host was holding a book signing at the Barnes and Noble on Wednesday night. I am a fan of his show and I know some people that are fans of his show so I went to the signing to get some gifts.

The store was mobbed, not only with people wanting to meet the radio show host but also with the normal Christmas shoppers. I bought a couple copies of the book and registered with the signing people. They handed me a green colored card marked “B” and told me they would be calling out people in the specific groups. I was Green B. After some conversation I realized I would be in the second group of 100 people to get the book signed.

I walked around the store a bit and then found my way towards the end of the line. The Green B people already were forming a line although they were not announced over the loudspeaker. There was about 30 or so people in the Green B line. The store was hot, and I could tell that the people waiting were getting antsy. I mulled around the front of the line when a woman at the front of the line turned towards me and sneered.

“THIS is the FRONT of the line.” She pointed a bony finger towards the end of the line and said. “The end of the line is down there.”

I guess she thought I was trying to cut in.

I laughed at her attitude and I said. “I bet I could convince at least 12 people at that end that they are the FRONT of the line. Then where would you be?”

I smiled and walked toward the end of Green B Line. More people gathered and the line snaked in and out of the various sections and shelves of books. The longer we stood in the line the more aggravated the people around me became. I started joking with the people in front of me and behind me. I refused to be aggravated. The more I joked the more people started to listen to me.

An angry man approached the line and started to argue with a Barnes and Noble employee about how long he was going to have to wait to get his book signed. He scowled and walked towards where I was standing.

“Is this the line?” He growled at us as he threw his arms up in disbelief.

I looked around at the signs marking the section of books we were standing in front of and said in my most sincere said, “No Sir. We are all just interested in Philosophy, Gay and Lesbian Studies and Astrology.”

The people around me cracked up. I now had an audience and that is one of the worst things someone like me could have. I continued to joke about various things and our section of the line started chatting back and forth.

The line started moving and we snaked in an out of different rows of books. We were standing in front of True Crime section when a customer, who was not there for the signing, walked up and he asked to look at the books behind us. He was clearly agitated at the fact that his shopping was interrupted by the mass of people there. He kind of shoved his way past me.

Again, I refused to get annoyed and I asked him, “ Are you looking for your biography?”

The man in front of me in line spit out his coffee. The two ladies behind me cackled. The man looking for the book chuckled and he left. The guy who spit out his coffee turned to me and said, “How do you do it? You actually SAY what I was thinking.”

I explained how sometimes I do not have a filter from my brain to my mouth. I started to get cocky and started to tell my “audience” what I was going to say to the radio host when I met him. I had a funny story to tell him and I knew I would wow him and he would have to mention me on the radio. All the people laughed and told me I should tell the host. I was in a great mood and I was on fire with my quick wit.

I was about 5 people away from the host, and I was joking with the staff of the radio show and the Barnes and Noble employees. I felt great. I was on fire. The people in front of me got their books signed and waited around to see the host’s reaction to my story and my humor.

I handed him my book and I ….

And I….

And I….

And I…


I mumbled something about how I liked his show, shook his hand and I left.


Maddy said...

Brilliant! Yes, we all crack under different kinds of pressure, but you held your own up til then.

Can anyone explain the extra box that seems to have mysteriously appeared on blogger comments? Something with an update thingy?

This is my calling card or link"Whittereronautism"until blogger comments get themselves sorted out.

Anonymous said...

You had a comedy peak or in Latin terminology,'Witus interuptus'. It is common problem and nothing to be ashamed of, William. This happens to a lot of men your age.
I, too, am perplexed how to sign my comments, since I am not a google blogger or fit the others listed options. I will have to be just a nickname, I guess.

Lowa said...

I can understand! I have met a few celebrities and always tell myself I wil be calm and cool.

RIGHT! When I ran into Pierce Brosnan last week in Hawai'i, I was a total retard! I mean, I had no preparation, no time to gather my thoughts. Just...suddenly...there he was. I didn't even reply to the man himself when he said hello to me!?!? I just stood there in disbelief, my jaw dropped, looking like a dope! I HATE THAT!

At least you kept the people entertained and relaxed around you and I am sure time passed a lot faster.

Chris H said...

Ya tiwt!!!! *Laughing*.....

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Very funny - I had no idea you were so well spoken!!

Never had this happen myself. Haven't really been around people who make me tongue tied. And those that I wish would BE tongue tied around me, never shut up!!

Rodney Dangerfield was one - he is quite the talker eventhough I was 16 at the time and skeeved out big time by the wrinkly old man sitting next to me at the pool Ceasar's Palace in Vegas.

And I was giving him my best "oooohh, you are an old man, can't you see that I am trying to act like I am really 21 and you are blocking my view of the buff bartender" look!

Jeesh - some people!!


Anonymous said...

I remember when I was a teenager in line with my brother at a record store waiting to meet a "heavy metal" band we both liked. I got through to the drummer and choked, squeaking out - "You're my favorite" like a 5 year old. VERY UNCOOL. And my brother has never let me live it down. Be thankful you didn't bring your brother(s).

Anonymous said...

Obviously it wasn't a sports talk radio person...

Was it Rachel Ray or Carson Kressley?

Anonymous said...

JP and I saw said radio host last year in Naples. He was with his family at a sidewalk cafe. We walked by several times on the other side of the street, attempting to determine if it was really him (because who would expect to see a Philly guy in Florida?).

Apparently he didn't notice us, because if he had he would've packed up his family and fled the stalkers. We didn't even have the guts to stop and say hello.


eclectic said...

HA! Y'know, it seems like people are either totally comfortable on stage or one-to-one, but there aren't that many who are completely at-ease in both arenas. I'd just read this as comfirmation that you're one helluva stage actor...!

K said...

Did the same thing when I was at a Dean Smith book was being in the presence of greatness that left me a blabbering idiot, but my dad loved the autographed book so it was well worth it.

And dude, you crack me up! Plus does the nickname "Dollar Bill" ring any bells?

Nature Girl said...

You're the kinda guy I want standing near me when I have to wait in line...makes the whole thing much more pleasant experience.

Anonymous said...

Remember this when you are the book-signer. Give everyone a chance to tell their story. You will appreciate how nervous they are or how stupid! Where did this "wus" stuff come from? Still love ya, though. Momo9

Unknown said...

I met David Balducci a couple of years ago at a book signing. The moment the words left my mouth, I realized how dumb I sounded and how equally moronic I must LOOK and could have melted away right then and there in front of him. I must have set a new record for "smart to stupid in so many seconds." I get immediately stupider in front of famous people.

Unknown said...

I'm still jealous you shook his hand, I was dying to go to a signing but two small children and an out-of-town husband prevented it :( I'm still planing to buy the book for my husband for Christmas!

Gina Coggio said...

The time I met my hero writer David Sedaris, I got so nervous and froze up that he had to prompt ME for answers to his questions. And then, inside my copy of the book he was signing, he drew a gigantic smiling pumpkin face. I'm not sure what that means.

kalki said...

Ah, bummer. But still, you are way braver than the rest of us, saying what we're thinking but can't work up the nerve to utter aloud.

Anonymous said...

Oh, William. I'm sorry you choked so very hardcore.

On the bright side, you obviously live by the same motto as I:
"If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you."

Yup. Oscar Wilde was da man, yo? As are you! You'll get 'em next time.

Wendy said...

I can totally relate! After my quick cheek kiss to Potsie from Happy Days at a record signing when I was ten, I have been freezing ever since.

Nilbo said...

I was once at a Christine Lavin concert. I love Christine Lavin, have all her records, and what was kinda cool was that I was doing a show in the same theatre the very next night, which she graciously plugged during her show. Afterwards, I was invited backstage to meet her.

Understand, I was going backstage as pretty much a PEER. In fact, my show the next night was sold out (hers, inexplicably, wasn't). So why should I be in any way nervous?

Oh. My. God. I STILL cannot to this day remember a single word I babbled. I was like an auctioneer on crack, and not one single word rose above the whole "I really think you're great" line of comment, to which the only possible response is "Aww, thanks."

I still cringe.

Amber said...

I know how you feel...same thing happened to me when my pre-school class was on the Santa show...I was great on the side lines but when it was time to talk to Santa...well you know the rest. I still feel ashamed.

Anonymous said...

You Truly are A Nit Wit'out!

Judypatooote said...

Very funny, and we need more people like you in those lines...for long lines bring out the meany's in people....and as a retired retail worker let me tell you it wasn't much fun on our end. judy

Deb said...

LOL... precisely what I would do.

Shannon said...


Lois Lane said...

So classic you! Just like the sock sniffing. You are a nut!

Jody said...

Radio host you say? Would it have been a guy with the initials GB? We met him 2 summers ago after his show and just saw his Christmas show last week. Love him, love his book... He's great to speak to.

And if it's not him just forget that I commented.

Denise B. said...

All I want to know is WHO WAS IT?