The embarrassment of book signings

There’s this quick thing I want to mention for anyone who isn’t a regular reader of  Although, for the life of me, I certainly don’t know why you wouldn’t be a regular reader seeing as they are the authority when it comes to sharply written information regarding all things craft beer in Cincinnati (and beyond).  Of course, I might not be completely objective on that score, since I’m a Hoperatives contributor and all.

But I digress.

Anyway, in case you’re not a reader, the key thing is that Greg Koch, CEO and co-founder of Stone Brewing (they make Arrogant Bastard, by the way, as well as many other fabulous artisanal beers…and I love Arrogant Bastard) will be in town this weekend as part of a nationwide book signing tour to support Stone’s new book, The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.

Why do I make a point of mentioning it?  Because it’s important, duh!  What I mean to say is, as I have more than a passing interest in both beer and books, this thing is right down the heart of the plate for me.  And I can only assume that members of the Puddintopia family (hmmm…not sure that sounds right, makes what I do here sound like a string of car dealerships), you might be interesting in one or the other as well.

So, here’s information on where he’ll be this weekend.  GO.  Buy a book.  Get it signed.  Have some beer.  Enjoy.

What’s that?  Where can you expect to see me?

Um…yeah, about that.  I, um, can’t make it.

I know, I know.  What a travesty. Really, though, it’s ok.  There’s family fun time tomorrow evening that will keep me from the first signing and Sunday is packed right up until I take the ice for a hockey game Sunday evening.  As much as I’d love to go hang with Greg Koch, buy him a Bastard and talk both books and beer, you don’t always get what you want.

This is where you all go, “Awwwwwwww”, like the audience does for Stefon on Saturday Night Live (right about the 3:40 mark).

Really, though, it’s okay that I can’t make it.  Because, truth be told, I’m a terrible participant at these kinds of things.  Terrible because no matter how enthusiastic I am about whomever’s signing stuff at the table at the front of line, I typically end up making a face like George W. being asked to explain Avogadro’s number in reference to atomic mass.

Sure, sure, there’s a hundred things I probably could say in the 30 seconds I have Mr. or Mrs. Signer’s attention, but for some reason I inevitably go blank as a fresh piece of poster board at Science Fair time and blurt out the first thing that comes to mind, which is typically also the stupidest.

For example, several years ago, squirming under the pressure to make conversation while one of my favorite authors ever signed a book, I asked him when he started writing his first book, as if that wasn’t an answer I could have gotten from Google in 10 seconds.  As if that was the pressing question burning a hole through my psyche.

I’m pretty sure I heard him roll his eyes, but he was thankfully much too polite to let me see it.

Another time I stood in line to get an autograph from a former Cincinnati Bengals linemen, you know, back from when they were good, in the way-back time, when I was a kid and dinosaurs roamed free.  In the 15 seconds it took him to sign a 8×10 glossy headshot (I’m not sure I really even wanted), the only thing I could think to say was, "I wore you number in High School."

Which, besides sounding more than just a little stalkery, wasn’t even true.

For the record, I played high school football for about four months.  I suffered through a 100 degree summer inside a football helmet just in time to completely tear my anterior cruciate ligament after the third game of the season.  Thus ended my football career.  The injury did get me elected Vice President of the State National Honor Society, but that’s another post.

The point here is that I didn’t even really wear his number.  Mine was off by two.  But it was all I could think to say while the pressure to say something, anything squeezed all the non-idiot straight out of me.

What I really would like when meeting people I’m getting signatures from is to sit around, get to kind of actually know them a little, and shoot the breeze.  Let’s face it, though, that’s often just not possible when there’s a few hundred other people that don’t make Goofy look like a polished conversationalist by comparison wanting something signed.

Would I like to meet Greg Koch this weekend?  Sure, of course I would.  But if I can’t have a beer with him, I’m okay not having just enough time to demonstrate my inner bonehead.

Then again, that could be sour grapes.  I’m not telling.

Either way, maybe next time.