The Pick-Up Artist

I’m learning that girls love the new haircut. Boys: not so much. I think that girls just admire a woman who will hack off all her hair. It’s more an impressed coo of approval, I think.
But one man in Duluth, Georgia, thinks I’m the shit.

Chris and I were at a Barnes & Noble, because Chris wanted to read something and that meant we had to go shopping. Because I had my very-new haircut, I was a little self-conscious about myself and knew that I was hyper-aware of everyone else in the bookstore. Also I can’t stop looking at other books that are similar to mine, wondering if one day I’ll see someone pick up my book at a table, turn it over, squint at the description and snark to her friend, “Bridget Jones Dot Com.”

Anyway, I was trying to talk myself out of buying the new Madonna and the Liam Lynch album (“United States of Whatever” was the song of the weekend) by listening to them both. Madonna always makes one or two songs that make me want to spend money on her, because she’s a legend and she’s Madonna and that seems reason enough in my book, but then there’s always that one song lately where she sounds like Cameo and I just can’t force myself to spend the money.

And with Liam Lynch, (Omar, check out the Fake Bjork Song. I think you’ll like it)…well, after I bought Hooray for Boobies, I’m trying to ween myself (pun intended) off comedy concept albums. Not that I probably won’t own my own copy of Poodle Hat.

Anyway, I’m listening to “American Life,” trying to not roll my eyes during the Pilates Rap 2003, when I notice a man is staring at me. Now, I’m also bouncing around being a dork at the listening booth, so I pull it together and pretend to be checking out something a little more classy.

Time passes and I’m listening to the new Radiohead, when I see the man has changed aisles and is still staring at me.

I wander over to literature, checking to see if the carry this Arthur Nersesian I’ve been looking for (little tip: don’t ask a bookseller in small-town Georgia for the latest book by “the guy who wrote The Fuck Up. She’ll stop finding you so enjoyable as a customer.).

Anyway, the guy is following me around the store. So I stand near Chris and the two of us point at all the books he used to own and all the books he won’t buy and all the books I’ll recommend that he’ll never read, like Nick Hornby’s non High Fidelity works, and everything by Chuck Palahniuk.

Chris and I spend so much time going through shelves of books that I’ve forgotten the guy following me around. Plus I figure I’m just being a little paranoid, with the new hair and the strange city and the guilt over not buying everything Madonna puts out.

We make our purchases and head out the door. As I open the front door, standing there is my stalker. “Hey, do you have a boyfriend?” he shouts in my face. “Is that your boyfriend?” Somehow he’s paid a kid with a Tupperware container to instantly chat up Chris to buy some candy, so there’s all this noise and craziness as I just beeline for the car.

“Uh, yeah!” I said. Damn! He could sense my hesitancy in calling another woman’s husband my boyfriend.

“Are you sure?” he yells after me. “Are you lying to me? Are you a liar?”

“No, I’m sure!” I yell back. We’re getting closer to the car.

“Does he know how lucky he is?”

I pause for Chris to answer the question like a good boyfriend should, but he’s someone else’s husband, so he doesn’t know to say, “Every day I thank the powers that be that this woman fell into my life.”

Instead he says, “Get in the car.”

And we’re like that scene in Poltergeist as he’s fumbling for his keys and I’m shouting, “Daddy, drive away! Drive away, Daddy!” and then we pull out and drive away.

So that one Chinese man in Duluth? He’s hot for my new hair. So much so that he stood out in front of the store and waited for me. How is that a tactic that works? It was so aggressive. “HEY PRETTY LADY WANNA DATE? DROP THAT LOSER — HE’LL BUY CANDY AND WE’LL MAKE SWEET LOVE FOREVER!”

In what world would that have worked? I guess one where I was happy he was following me around the store. Maybe if you spend an hour browsing the aisles it looks like you want to get picked up. Maybe in Duluth the bookstore is the meat market. Who knows? I’m not from there.

After I posted yesterday’s toll booth story, I was reminded that most of the fun came from the entry posted the next day, about how Eric wasn’t too happy with the wording I chose in retelling the story. It also illustrates how Cal used to try and kill me. Here.

And many, many, many of you have written in to request this specific entry. Cal says “SLEN.”

The Book Drive Letter ‘o the Day:

[readermail]This is just to let you know that your Web entries inspired me to purchase some books from an Amazon wish list for a school library in Seldovia, AK. The wish list description on Amazon says “Susan B. English School is a K-12 school of about 85 students in the village of Seldovia, Alaska. The school library is not supported by the school district budget and is staffed by volunteers only.” I have no idea exactly where in Alaska that is (although I’ll look it up on Mapquest soon), and it’s certainly not anywhere near where I live in NY, but since none of my local libraries needed many books, I figured I might as well send some books to a library no one else was liable to be purchasing for. How about some remote village in Alaska?

I sent “Race Across Alaska: First Woman to Win the Iditarod Tells Her Story” because during a wonderful summer I spent working in Alaska a few years back, I got to meet the woman who had placed second in the Iditarod the year before (She was my fishing guide on a salmon fishing tour boat!), as well as the man who had won the previous year. (His wife occasionally sold her paintings of Alaskan life at the gift shop where I worked.) I was fascinated by the Iditarod and learned as much as I could about the event and the participants while I was there.

I also sent “Dragon’s Gate (Golden Mountain Chronicles, 1867)” and ‘The Twenty-One Balloons” because the former is a Newbury Honor Book and the latter a Newbury Award winner, and you can’t go wrong with those.

And last, but not least, I sent “The Westing Game” even though it was not on their wish list, because it was my all-time favorite book when I was a kid, and I needed a couple more dollars to get up to the free shipping minimum. :-)

Thanks for inspiring me to do a good deed for the day, and for giving me a way to go shopping on Amazon without filling up my house with even more books I don’t have room for![/readermail]

Newest cool kids

  1. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger [sent by Kim]
  2. Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare Made Easy) [sent by Kim]
  3. MAD Magazine – Cover to Cover [sent by Erik]
  4. Hamlet [sent by Lauren]
  5. Twelfth Night [sent by Lauren]
  6. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, by Ann Brashares [sent by Trash]
  7. The Tempest (Shakespeare Made Easy: Modern English Version Side-By-Side With Full original Text), William Shakespeare, Alan Durband (Editor); [sent by Trash]
  8. King Lear (Shakespeare Made Easy: Modern English Version Side-By-Side With Full original Text), William Shakespeare, Alan Durband (Editor); [sent by Trash]
  9. Hamlet (Shakespeare Made Easy: Modern English Version Side-By-Side With Full original Text) [sent by Trash]

Finally, in honor of Rob’s most recent entry about the twenty jokes he knows off the top of his head, I give you the first piece of forwarded joke spam that has ever made me laugh. That’s not a challenge; I don’t normally read joke spam at all, but my sister sent it to me and I love her so I read whatever she sends, even though it’s normally pictures of old ladies on motorcycles flipping me the bird.

In Tennessee, a guy sees a sign in front of a house: “Talking Dog for Sale.”

He rings the bell, and the owner tells him the dog is in the backyard. The guy goes into the backyard and sees a black mutt just sitting there.

“You talk?” he asks.

“Yep,” the mutt replies.

“So, what’s your story?”

The mutt looks up and says, “Well, I discovered this gift pretty young; and I wanted to help the government, so I told the CIA about my gift, and in no time they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping.

“I was one of their most valuable spies eight years running.

“The jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn’t getting any younger and I wanted to settle down. So I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security work, mostly wandering near suspicious characters and listening in, I uncovered some incredible dealings there and was awarded a batch of medals.

“Had a wife, a mess of puppies, and now I’m just retired.”

The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog.

The owner says, “Ten dollars.”

The guy says, “This dog is amazing. Why on earth are you selling him, so cheap?”

The owner replies, “He’s such a liar……. He didn’t do any of that shit.”

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