Dear Cincinnati: Save Me From Abject and Total Humilation Tomorrow

See, Cincinnati, here’s the thing: I’m coming to do an appearance at Joseph-Beth Booksellers tomorrow, June 8, at 7pm. Coincidentally, a friend of mine from college is coming into Cincinnati and she offhandedly noted she heard I was going to be in town to do my performing monkey bit, so of course I told her she should come. She, probably just to be polite, said yes.

And then it hit me: What if she shows up to this thing and no one else does? After years of me pretending to be a big shot author, she will think I am finally revealed to be the bloated gasbag of empty brag that everyone in college always suspected I was. And then she’ll tell everyone we know on Facebook, and then, well. It’s all over then.

So, Cincinnati. Normally I wouldn’t ask you for something, especially since I never did pay you back that $20 for gas money back in ’93, and I know that’s still a thing for you (which you should let go of, man, seriously. It’s been, like, two decades). But even so: Hey, could you all just come down the the Joseph-Beth at 7 tomorrow? Please? All of you? Like, the entire city of you? Because that would really get me out of a jam.

Come on, don’t look at me like that. You know I would do it for you. Because that’s the bond we have, Cincinnati. And anyway, you don’t want me to look bad in front of my friend, do you? Do you? No? See.

So see you tomorrow, Cincinnati. Oh, and when you see my friend from college, totally don’t tell her I begged you to come. Just, you know, be chill. Like you do. Thanks.

What Happens in the Acela Quiet Car Stays in the Acela Quiet Car, Unless Twitter is Involved

Yesterday I traveled from New York City to Philadelphia on the train, specifically Amtrak’s Acela high-speed train. The comparent I ended up sitting in was the “Quiet Car,” i.e., the one in which you don’t use your cell phone to make calls and otherwise keep things down to a murmur. Naturally, I went on Twitter to joke about it:

But then something strange began to happen:

And then, my friends, it got nuts:


Philadelphia in the Books

Photo by E.C. Myers

Last night was the first public night of the tour, at the Barnes & Noble in Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia. The place was jammed, which makes me happy, although I suppose that’s no fun for the people who had to stand. Sorry, folks.

As Philadelphia is the first stop of the tour, the folks who showed up got to be guinea pigs for me as I tried out a new short story (for which I swore them all to secrecy), and then also tried out a comedy piece related to Redshirts, for which I enlisted the able help of Paul Sabourin, of Paul & Storm fame. Both pieces went over very well, so I’ll probably keep them in the rotation.

I also read a piece that will be exclusive to the Philadelphia stop: “There Will Come Soft Rains,” by Ray Bradbury. It was important to me that I mark the day by reading something of Bradbury’s, and thankfully the audience went with me on this one. Thank you, fans of Philadelphia, for indulging me on this one. I really do appreciate it.

In all it was a really wonderful way to start the book tour: Good people, good bookstore, good time. Dear rest of the tour: You will have a lot to live up to.