Sunday, March 24, 2013

You say hippopotamus like it's a bad thing.


Euka II meets The Bloggess

"Look! I'm standing in front of a fire. And I didn't start it this time!"  -The Bloggess (with a cozy fireplace at her back.)


As I scan the attendees of this standing-room-only book signing event, I take in that we're a bit of an eccentric group. I was going to say eclectic, but I don't think that e-tic word is as good a fit. This isn't my first book signing event, of course. I'm a bibliophile, people. I spend a lot of time with books so I can be all smart and stuff. And also being a people watcher (not a stalkerphile) it's interesting to me what brings a culture of folk together.

You know? Like how Dayton's Celtic Festival attracts a demographic a little similar to say, the Renaissance Fair, but with more guys in skirts. And less bawdy wench cleavage exposure, go figure. Ever been to a Comic Con? Sure, it's a total geek draw, but diversity exists even in that universe.  The Star Trek shirts always try to start a rumble with the Star Wars fans, like the Sharks and the Jets. Without all the choreographed finger snapping. 
 
And now here we are at Books & Co., Euka and me.  Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess, is in our fair city to promote the re-release of her memoir, Let's Pretend This Never Happened, in paperback format. And these are her people around us. Jenny is fierce and funny. Open and honest. And remarkably profane in refreshing kind of way.
 
I love her.
 
So nice I can see her twice. Because I'd rather
see this chick's iPad than the speaker.
Off to our right Euka is taking in the sight of a rather outgoing lady with a kicky purple and red spiked do (checking that one off the Euka's Seen That list). We meet two friends sitting together who were generous to offer me a section of their bench so I wouldn't have to stand. They talk on an on about their websites and stats. About ten o'clock to my left there's a woman holding a . . . wait, what is that? Huh. She's clutching a stuffed unicorn head in her lap. And there's that one hapless fellow in this otherwise progesterone laden audience. And yeah, me. The chick with the dog.
 
It really wasn't my first choice to bring six month old Euka to this event, especially after she worked a long day in the office. And by work, I mean she's not allowed to bark and jump on people and maintaing this level of self-control wears her out, she says. But tow her along with me, I did. The trip from work to home, then to the book store would have taken nearly two hours. Really.  And I wanted to get there early to score a decent number for the book signing line. A good idea that, because even getting there forty minutes early scored us a dreary #58. And we see no available chairs to park my wide load. Dang it, now I have to act normal so somebody will share a bench with me.

I keep one eye on Euka (what's the scrollwork taste like on the metal railing? wonders Euka. Augh! Euka! Don't! I say) and try pass the next few minutes by scanning through the Jenny's book. Now that I have quiet time to think, there are two questions rolling around my head. What would I say was what was my favorite story from the book, if asked? And does Jenny Lawson even like dogs?

Jenny Lawson reads the PG version of Stanley, the Magical
 Talking Squirrel.

If I would have remembered to bring the Kindle, both questions could be easily tackled with a quickie search. But I left the thing plugged in on the kitchen counter. No matter, I have plenty of time to roll through some of the chapters in the paperback I brought.

And yep here's a chapter with dogs in the title: You can't go home again (unless you want to get mauled by wild dogs). Well, that doesn't sound good. No spoilers here, but I will tell you it involves photos of stitches.  Ugh, so now I'm feeling unsettled, which is always a bad thing. Because that's when the paranoia starts.

How will she react to the pup when I walk up? Will we be rushed through the line? And what is that cop standing there for? We need a cop at a book store? Is this some kind of a high risk book signing? Dang it, what is my favorite story in the book?

Settle down, you weirdo, I tell myself. Grow a pair, girl, and act like you know what you're doing. A deep breath to chill myself out and holy cow . . . here she comes!
 
The Bloggess puts us all at ease with her open, friendly personality. So approachable and so very clever and funny. But, she tells us, she's been asked to not say any bad words during her book reading. Not an easy task, we fans of The Bloggess know all too well. We're not-so-strategically positioned right next to the children's section of the book store, so this censorship request is indeed easy to support. Yet, still a bit disappointing to think of her colorful words diluted to a watery gray version.

But Jenny Lawson is funny and clever, right? She's got this. For every R-rated word, she says, she'll replace with the word hippopotamus.  So she went off the usual plan and chose the chapter of Stanley, the Magical Talking Squirrel because it has the fewest f-bombs. The title suggests it could be a children's tale, doesn't it? It's not.
"Holy hippopotamus, you psychopath!" is what I would have said if I hadn't been eight years old. -excerpt from Let's Pretend This Never Happened.
I think it works. Even the cop cracked a smile.
 
So clutching my #58 line ticket, I await my turn to meet The Bloggess. The line is moving slowly because Jenny is allowing photo ops with all who ask. I take this as a good sign. As we reach the table I ask her publisher escort (who is not a prostitute, Jenny Lawson told us right up front) if she thinks Jenny would be agreeable to a photo with the dog. The woman looks at me like I just pulled a second head from my pocket and says something rather curt to me. She must be good with dogs, I think, because the chick sure is lacking in people skills. I shrug it off and decide to take my chances.

We made it, it's finally our turn with The Bloggess. An hour's drive and nearly another two hours waiting for this moment. Euka, our little confident pup, has been a rock the whole time - solid and steady.  We spent much of the time waiting by working on calm greetings and reinforcing her Sit/Stays and Down/Stays. Good grief, I couldn't be prouder of this six month old puppy that is Euka II.

nom-nom-nom, says Euka II.
Thank you, I say as The Bloggess hands my autographed book back to me. Then, could I take a photo of you with the puppy?
 
Of course! she says. While Jenny Lawson beams a smile, I ask Euka to Sit. And . . . it's this moment in time that our clever pup loses her ability to understand English. Que pasa, senorĂ¡?asks Euka. PardonĂ©, femme de nourriture? 

Sit, I say again. Like I mean it. Euka looks at me, looks around. Sniffs the floor. And continues to stand there. Even the cop is laughing now.  Now, Euka? I lament. This is our moment, babe. You do this now?

Fine. I dig out a dog cookie. Oh, Sit! says Euka. You slurred or something. I had no idea.

I don't want to hold up the line any more for the folk behind us. I snap a quick photo and check the digital image. Jenny looks great.  Euka looks like she's chewing a dog cookie with her mouth open.

Aargh, hippopotamusLet's get just one more, I say. What a good sport, that Jenny Lawson.

I thank her again, saying it like I mean it, and step aside for her next avid fan. Hi! how are you?, the fan asks Jenny.

I'm doing great, says The Bloggess. Now that I got to pet a dog.

I love her.

Euka II on an earlier visit to Books & Co. posing
in front of a book written by my favorite
 local author, Katrina Kittle.


5 comments:

  1. Awesome. I bet she'll not forget "that one fan with the adorable puppy who wouldn't sit" anytime soon, either. :)

    I once got to meet Jen and John Yates (Cake Wrecks) on a book tour and I was so star-struck, I told her to write whatever she wanted in my book. My book is now autographed with "To Elizabeth: ...Whatever you want...Jen Yates."
    :)

    I'm surprised The Blogess chose "hippopotamus" as her code word, actually. Being that she'd need to say it three-times-fast and all!

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    Replies
    1. Lucky! I love Cake Wrecks! But I can't look at that stuff at work. And not because there's so much that falls into NSFW, even if not intentional by the creator, but because I laugh so hard it sounds like I might be choking. Not becoming behavior in a cube farm.

      I admit being surprised with the hippo word exchange, too. But she pulled it off like a pro. If left to me, I'd likely not go with anything more clever than saying Bleep. Because hippos are not something like to come up with a word association game.

      Like Cat:Dog, White:Black, Dinner:Burnt, Mother****:Bleep [blush]

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    2. Donna, I know CCI uses labs, goldies and the mix of the two...I don't see Choc. labs. Do they use them? Melody

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    3. Hi Melody! Legend has it that there's a rogue recessive chocolate gene lurking in the DNA of these dogs. Which sounds kinda threatening when I say it that way, doesn't it? It's been several years, I think, since a chocolate coat has made it's way into a CCI litter. CCI has their own breeding program designed for the optimal health, smarts and trainability. So really the last thing they're looking for is a specific appearance. So it's not like the chocolates are excluded on purpose, but we just don't have that coat color in the gene pool right now.
      But like I alsways say, you just can't go wrong with a lab or a golden. They are great dogs.

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    4. Thanks, Donna. Just wondering. Have a great Easter...Melody

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