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My co-worker Keri was explaining the finer points of Brooklyn to me… - A Day in the Life

Jul. 13th, 2006

09:29 am

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My co-worker Keri was explaining the finer points of Brooklyn to me as we hid between two tall bookshelves in the kids department of the store on Saturday morning when this 30-something guy in a black t-shirt and stylishly unkempt hair wandered past us, obviously lost. I said hey to him in a way that was supposed to let him know, "I'm friendly, but I've got my eye on you, Potential Child Molester." He said, "Hey!" and kept walking, but he made his way back to us a minute later and said, "I'm an author, and I'd like to sign a couple copies of my book." I said, "Oh, yeah? What's your name?", and he said, "Frank Portman." And that's when Saturday became the best day of my bookstore career.

Better than the day I met Carson from "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy". Better than when I watched Colin Farrell discover that the bathroom was locked for cleaning. Better than when I helped one of the Olsen twins. Better, even, than when Michael Stipe looked at me over a table of photography books.

"I am so glad to meet you," I said, and led him over to the teen new release table where we had a stack of his book. It just so happened that I read King Dork a couple of weeks ago after grown men and women kept coming in and being surprised that this book that the Times gave such a great review wasn't written for adults at all. It turned out to be this totally clever, totally well-written story about a geek high school kid who sits around thinking up names for his nonexistent band and fixating on touching boobs. Just like me.

As I grabbed the stack for him, I said, "I want you to rewrite this book and leave out the plot." He asked, "You didn't like my plot?", and I said, "No, I loved the plot, but it totally didn't need one. Your characters were so great that they didn't need to be doing anything for me to like them." He said that there was actually a lot of talk about that at his publishing house. He also told me that I'm the first bookstore employee he's talked to who's actually read the book, which was of course completely awesome for me.

I told him, "I'm just so happy that you wrote a teen book that's smart enough for adults," and he said that his publisher wanted him to dumb it down, but he couldn't do it. I told him that I'm constantly making up band names despite the fact that I can't play a single chord, and he said, "I think that's the shared American youth experience."

I wanted to mention his band, The Mr. T Experience, but the truth is that I just don't listen to punk music, so I didn't bother trying to fake it. At the end of our conversation, he shook my hand and said, "Thanks for talking about this with me, Katie." He looked down at the nametag hanging from a lanyard on my neck and asked, "Katie, right?" I turned my nametag to the other side where I'd pasted the word docile cut out from the word-a-day calendar on our information desk, and he said, "You look like a Docile."

And that is why I live in New York.

Comments:

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From:queenkatieett
Date:July 13th, 2006 04:07 pm (UTC)
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I don't know, man. If I don't make a trillion dollars off of my first book, I don't want to be one of those hunched-back old women taking 15 years on the subway stairs.
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From:stormodacentury
Date:July 13th, 2006 01:58 pm (UTC)
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I had some beers with him when MTX played here a couple of years ago.


One of the best punk shows I've ever seen. He is a really really fantastic songwriter. Even if you don't listen to punk, you'd dig it - lots of semi-obscure literary references mixed with angst and relationship stuff.


Did you get to stick your head out the door last evening?
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From:queenkatieett
Date:July 13th, 2006 04:16 pm (UTC)
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I hope you're not even trying to suggest that your beers compare to my intimate connection. That's still really cool, though.

And DAMMIT! I forgot all about last night. How is it possible that that can only happen for one night?
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From:stormodacentury
Date:July 13th, 2006 05:34 pm (UTC)
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Maybe not my beers, but the conversation over said beers? Perhaps.

Ok, there was nothing particularly intimate about it. But he was a very cool guy to talk with.

If you'd read the quip at the bottom of that site, you'd see that it happens twice a year, on May 28 and July 12. Kind of like how when it was built, Stonehenge lined up with the sun on the equinoxes.

Open your eyes, Ett. Jeez.
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From:queenkatieett
Date:July 13th, 2006 07:41 pm (UTC)
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It's pretty hot when you belittle me.

But by "for one night", I meant "for one night in a row". Meaning that it seems like it should at least happen on July 11th, 12th, and 13th. For my sake.
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From:stormodacentury
Date:July 13th, 2006 08:29 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, I know. I don't do it solely for my own edification.

Aha. Well, I would assume it'll be still down the street - just not lined up like that. I'm actually really tempted to be there for it next year.
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From:stormodacentury
Date:July 13th, 2006 05:46 pm (UTC)
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Also
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From:kindregards
Date:July 13th, 2006 02:11 pm (UTC)
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Oh My Goodness Katie, I SO WANT TO BE YOU!

You are the coolest person I don't really know!
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From:queenkatieett
Date:July 13th, 2006 04:24 pm (UTC)
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I see that you feel the need to differentiate between me, a person you don't know, and other people you do.

Insinuating that there's someone you actually do know who's cooler than I am.

And that hurts.
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From:gooroo
Date:July 13th, 2006 08:57 pm (UTC)
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You are such a buttwad. She was so sweet to you and now she's never going to comment to you again. And you WILL come back to Ohio, young lady.
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From:kindregards
Date:July 14th, 2006 03:23 am (UTC)
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Yes, I've locked myself in a room and am now crying myself to sleep, cut to the core.

I am now going to find someone else to want to be.
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From:spaghedeity
Date:July 14th, 2006 05:14 am (UTC)
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I'm open for your wanton affection.
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From:kindregards
Date:July 14th, 2006 06:45 am (UTC)
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Aaron!

How could I have forgotton you?, you already have my deepest affections, forget that Katie Ett kid, I'm going to marry you!

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From:gooroo
Date:July 14th, 2006 10:22 am (UTC)
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There was an old hermit named Dave. How about him?
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From:kindregards
Date:July 14th, 2006 11:19 am (UTC)
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Oh yeah? He sounds alright... where can I find this hermit you speak of?
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From:gooroo
Date:July 14th, 2006 01:40 pm (UTC)
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He kept a dead whore in a cave
She smelled like...

Never mind. It's a nasty poem. I'll find you someone better than Dave, but I have to think about it. But first I have to know what's that thing on your face in the icon? Knowing that will help.
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From:kindregards
Date:July 14th, 2006 10:36 pm (UTC)
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That, dear friend, is a spoon. A spoon I purchased for a VERY reasonable price.

I hadn't realised till now that you cannot tell what that is on my face, I just presumed that because I knew it was a spoon, everyone else would.

Silly me.



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From:gooroo
Date:July 15th, 2006 09:20 pm (UTC)
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I'm sure it's a nice spoon and prolly everyone else did identify it. I like your user id - kindregards. The best of all, maybe. I've decided you should be you and you won't be sorry.
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From:suzified
Date:July 13th, 2006 03:56 pm (UTC)
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Well. Now I officially hate you.

I will console myself with the memory of eating a bagel with him at Bernie's Deli when I arrived hours early for the MTX show.



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From:mjl2003
Date:July 13th, 2006 05:09 pm (UTC)
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and he really is a doctor (he has a ph.d in chemistry, I believe). if you lived in berkeley, you could run into him all the time :) I still need to read the book.

and I think you'd like MTX as well - in small doses.
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From:bloobirdie
Date:July 13th, 2006 05:36 pm (UTC)
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Better than when I watched Colin Farrell discover that the bathroom was locked for cleaning.

Everything about this entry was interesting, but the imagery conjured by this is just priceless.
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From:corks1181
Date:July 13th, 2006 06:07 pm (UTC)

I think this makes YOU famous now.

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Did you CARD HIM?!?!?!?

http://www.doktorfrank.com

->blog
->meat the author
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From:queenkatieett
Date:July 13th, 2006 07:10 pm (UTC)

Re: I think this makes YOU famous now.

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Oh, man, I only WISH that was me.

And now I totally want to go around signing other people's books just for kicks.
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From:(Anonymous)
Date:July 13th, 2006 06:15 pm (UTC)

There are time for quoting monty Python...

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Why, I thought, do you feel the need to try and impersonate Jimmy Buffett and wear shorts and sandals with black socks and eat tofu loaf on Thanksgiving? Some questions have no answers!
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From:queenkatieett
Date:July 21st, 2006 01:39 pm (UTC)

Re: There are time for quoting monty Python...

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You don't frighten me, English pig-dog.
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From:saraide
Date:July 13th, 2006 07:08 pm (UTC)
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That does not suck at all. :)
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From:caropal
Date:July 13th, 2006 10:45 pm (UTC)
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So... Why are you leaving?
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From:spaghedeity
Date:July 14th, 2006 01:27 am (UTC)
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Did you wash the hand He shook?

With all your famous connections, I bet you're gonna crack it big in the world of celebrities. I'll be there to mentor you, of course.
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From:samandsam04
Date:July 14th, 2006 07:20 pm (UTC)
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And that is why I wish I lived in New York.
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