Brief Corporate Promo: Sarah Walker’s book Really You’ve Done Enough: A Parents’ Guide to Stop Parenting Their Adult Child Who Still Needs Their Money But Not Their Advice will be released from TOW Books in October. You can find more of her
Friday, BEA: After taking Thursday off to blunt the trauma induced by drinking in front of co-workers, I came to the Friday session of the BEA ready for action. After all, I’m a professional writer. And I wear status jeans. This is just my life.
I came in around lunchtime to meet with Brant Rumble (Sarah Walker Comment: This is clearly a made up name, as it is far too awesome), a senior editor at Scribner, and discuss important things over a choose-your-own-adventure pasta lunch. The cook who made my pasta clearly recognized me from my award-winning columns, so I ended up with 50% more pasta than Brant, which was awkward, but we managed to overcome our differences and discuss an idea for a future profile in the magazine. Then we talked about the Nintendo Game RBI Baseball, shook hands, chest bumped, and made vague promises of future interaction. Needless to say, aside from the pasta incident, it was a successful lunch.
That was pretty much the only thing I had to do. So I did what any good journalist does: I expensed a water, and pretended to talk on my cell phone.
Scene Setting, Pseudo-Literary Fashion: The Book Expo is held at the expansive Jacob Javits Center, a modern goliath of glass and steel in a part of NYC hipster’s call “not cool”. During the BEA, the main exhibitor areas are covered in a series of maze-like halls with each publishing company setting up displays in their respective allotted area. Huge banners adorn walls or sit above publishing houses like hot air balloons or those tragic Zeppelin things that were popular travel options in the John Rhys-Davies vehicle “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”. Book sellers, Exhibitors, Agents, Editors, and vaguely associated “Industry Professionals” wander around looking for free pens, books, stuffed animals, condoms, and other merchandise to put in their BEA emblazoned bags, take home and promptly re-gift.
Wandering around proved exhausting, as the place is huge and, although I am extremely physically fit and almost debilitatingly handsome (SWC: You know when people are sarcastic but they actually want you to believe what they just said? You know when that happens? Good.), I only have a certain amount of endurance, so I called McSweeney’s Internet Tendency Editor John Warner who, after some prodding, eventually divulged his location at the F&W display (SWC: I was there. The phone conversation went like this: John: Hello? Oh, hi, Kevin. We’re actually very busy. We can’t really meet…I know you’re lonely…Yes, New York is a big scary city…I mean, we’re friends, I wouldn’t say that we’re BEST fri–Kevin, stop crying…Stop. Ok, fine. Pull yourself together. We’re at the F&W booth). After spotting the F&W balloon-Zeppelin, I walked briskly over and saw him standing with two women.
“Sup,” I said and tried to give the taller woman a “pound”. She refused my request (SWC: I didn’t so much refuse his request as he punched me in the left breast) and ventured a question.
“Are you wearing an inside-out t-shirt?” (SWC: I did not say this. I did not want to speak to him, post breast punching. Why would I? No, I suppose in an attempt to relieve the awkward silence, Kevin blurted out, “I’m wearing an inside out t-shirt!” We sort of vaguely nodded.)
I was, yes, but that was beside the point. And anyway, at that same moment John introduced me to the people he was with: Annelise Robey, his agent, and my aforementioned fashion critic Sarah Walker, the author of Really You’ve Done Enough: A Parents’ Guide to Stop Parenting Their Adult Child Who Still Needs Their Money But Not Their Advice (SWC: Hilarious! And if you think it sounds lame then I promise you it’s much cooler than the title might imply. I actually wanted to call it, “You Can Stop F*cking Me Up Now,” but no dice. Anyway, if you think it sounds awesome then forget all that lame talk from before. People who think that are jerks anyway), one of the first books for John’s new humor imprint TOW. Being a gentleman, I bowed deeply and attempted to kiss both of their hands, expecting them to at least curtsy, but again I was rebuffed (SWC: Yes, again rebuffed as we noticed he had tiny mirrors on the tops of his shoes and was trying to look up our skirts. We backed away).
“No, seriously,” Sarah said. “Who wears inside-out t-shirts to the BEA?” (SWC: Again, in an attempt to break the awkward silence that ensued, Kevin offered more information about his inside out t-shirt. “It says ‘Everyone Loves a Jewish Boy’! It’s from Urban Outfitters. I got it in college. It’s funny ’cause I’m not Jewish. Get it? Anyway, Urban’s so played out. Am I right? That’s why it’s inside out!” Then he attempted to high five us. We didn’t know what to do, so we looked imploringly at John, who mouthed, “I’m sorry.”
We wandered around through the different publishing house displays. We saw a man dressed up as Borat sexually harassing onlookers (SWC: Wow, I’m glad Kevin can spot sexual harassment, at least in others), and a woman in a banana/star suit was explaining her trade to a man with a notepad. “It’s not not itchy.”
Annelise, I noted on my own reporter’s pad, was very charming and Sarah, apparently, was very tall.(SWC: Kevin’s powers of observation are truly overwhelming. Few would be able to ascertain that I am tall. I’m glad he reminded me of it often, I would have forgotten myself how very, very tall I am.)
At one point, we all went down to the McSweeney’s display so John could “talk shop” with some co-workers. While Annelise and Sarah discussed Fall Out Boy and Emo bars, I took out my notepad and wandered over to the food court area, where I engaged the woman behind the counter at the Crepe Café (SWC: Annelise and I, being super cool New Yorkers, were speaking of the travesty of a local bar being recently acquired by the lead singer of Fall Out Boy. When Kevin attempted to join the conversation, just by yelling the word, “Emo” in our faces, we told him that maybe it would be interesting to his readers to report on the Food Court. He took to this idea, yelled the WWE catch phrase, “Suck it!” with the accompanying hand gesture, and ran off, Thank God, and gave us a few blissful minutes alone). The convo went like this:
Me: Excuse me, ma’am. Could you tell me your most popular crepe?
Her (dubious look): Um, I dunno.
Me: But which one are people getting a lot?
Her (no eye contact): They like them all.
Me: Dessert crepes or Savory crepes?
Her: I guess people like mozzarella.
Me: That’s interesting.
Her: Why are you writing this down? (SWC: I’m pretty sure I heard Kevin yell “Suck it!” in the poor crepe girl’s face, who was just trying to make a b
uck and avoid being harassed by smarmy bloggers looking for an interesting angle.)
Other things probably happened, but by then I’d done almost three hours of “journalism”, which is well above my daily limit. I bid adieu to the women, sans bow (SWC: He attempted to hug us and then pretended to drop his notebook and actually look up our skirts. Annelise kicked him in the face), chest bumped John (SWC: He actually punched John in the breast as well) and (moon?) walked out of the Javits center, promising loudly never to return again. Or at least until tomorrow, for the book signing.
Join us next time as women’s lit “author” Sarah Walker reveals the secret of a successful book signing and, in the process, a fundamental truth about cats and dogs (SWC: I have a feeling he said that because in the feature film “The Truth About Cats and Dogs”, Uma Thurman is tall. But I’m not sure. It’s not like frequent comments about my height have made me super sensitive to height innuendo. Not at all).
Question to Ponder: When the Soprano’s inevitably ends with a well choreographed dance scene a la Michael Jackson’s music video “Bad”, who will play Wesley Snipes? (SWC: Robert Loggia)
Whoa-oh. Heaven Let Your Light Shine Down,
Pictured Below: Author Sarah Walker talking to Kevin Federline at Marquee, and the teamwork version of my alleged BEA catchphrase.