RETRO: Chucky P Redux

8 June, 2007 at 6:35 pm (literary, performance)

FLICKR: Stranger Than Fiction, autographedJust over a year ago, on 6/6/06 (ooOOooh…) I attended my first Chuck Palahniuk signing at the Brookline Booksmith in Beantown. This was was the… third, I think, time that Peter had attended a Chuck even at this location, having heard him read the infamous “Guts” well before its publication, and having his most precious copies of Fight Club autographed. Pete’s mad for Chucky P, and is pushing his “Collect ’em all!” habit to Charade-esque proportions, and had determined to collect every printing variation of every book Palahniuk writes. Because of this pledge, he had decided to purchase the special limited-edition copy of Rant in addition to the standard hardcover first edition that was the reason the Chuck was doing this signing tour in the first place. Pete was able to order it with an employee discount, thus bringing its $155 price tag down to something slightly less unreasonable, and this was the book he was going to have signed.

The question was, in addition to this obsessive expense, should Pete also shell out to find a wedding dress? Y’see, the word had gone out that at each event, one person wearing a wedding dress would be chosen to be the recipient of a spectacular prize. Pete was torn between the option of wearing a dress in public and the potentiality of being The Winnah! of something O so special and Chuck related for his obsessive collection. Upon finding a wedding dress at Goodwill for a scant fifteen bucks, the decision was simple.

FLICKR: Chuck Palahniuk and Pete, in wedding dressDue to a series of basic Boston traffic snarls we underestimated the time it would take to get to the reading — where prizes for good questions and awesome treats are always given out — we went straight to the signing, instead, and Pete squeezed himself into his dress on the sidewalk outside the bookstore. Where we discovered that everyone in a dress was going to be given a coupon for a the O so fabulous prize pack. Now that it wasn’t a competition, Pete relaxed into the event and was able to proudly display and get signed his uber-limited edition of the most recent novel… so uber-limited, in fact, that Chuck took a moment to look it over, as he hadn’t really examined the finished product himself.

Upon emerging back out into the street, Pete shed himself of the dress and was going to dispose himself of it, when someone asked if Pete wasn’t going to use it any more… would he mind donating it to a nice young woman standing in line? We handed it over with instructions that when she was done, she should pass it on to someone else in line… perhaps using a marker to keep a hashmark tally of how many people the dress passed between over the course of the evening. We left pleased at the idea that we may have started a little signing meme, a fun little thing for people to share. The next day a photo of the girl appeared on the bulletin board post about the signing… with no mention of the generosity of some random guy who had presented her with the dress, and no real indication that she had gone on to share the garment with anyone else. Pity.

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