Sunday, October 07, 2007

"My Cheap Friends"

So apparently I'm a cheapskate.

My friend Anderson would claim he's known this for years, dating back at least to the time we bickered about gas money after an impulsive road trip to California. Last night, however, it was a nationally renown and best-selling author leveling the accusation.

The wife and I went to D.C. to hear David Sedaris read some stories he's been working on for an upcoming book and a few magazine articles (here are some samples of commentaries he's done for NPR). The material was up there with his very best. He had us all bowled over laughing and managed to steal two hours from us before we knew it. He wrapped up the lecture by answering some questions and recommending a few books to the crowd, including a favorite that he keeps extra copies of on hand for those "emergency" situations when he unexpectedly feels obliged to proffer a gift.

Afterward, Sedaris stuck around to sign books and fraternize. Melbo and I waited over an hour for our shot at him. We had copies of Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim and Naked for him to sign and, as we approached him, I mentioned to him that it was ironic that he had plugged his "emergency" gift book that night because our emergency gift book just so happened to be his Corduroy. I explained that about a year ago we'd found it on clearance at Borders and had purchased 12 copies; I then pulled the four remaining ones we had had left in our basement out of a bag that Melbo brought.

Sedaris laughed and thanked us for pointing out that Corduroy was now considered a remainder book at a major book retailer like Borders. We tried to save face by pointing out that we'd actually bought a couple his other books at full price. But the damage was done. Everyone in line now knew that David Sedaris was sitting there staring at a stack of books that we'd paid a quarter of the list price for and now seemingly wanted him to sign. To assuage our guilt, he reassured us that he still got paid the same regardless of what price the retailer sold the book at. We agreed that that was all that mattered, and he insisted on signing the lot of them.

Believing we'd smoothed over my witless remark, we slid our library of books over to him, and he signed away while we curiously asked him questions and engaged in some good-natured small talk. We then thanked him for his kindness, stowed our newly autographed, clearanced-priced wunder-gifts, and went on our way.

It wasn't until we were contentedly driving home from our enjoyable evening out that my wife finally showed me how Sedaris had signed our copy of Naked:


Pete said...

At least he got your name right Marc. And what is so wrong with being cheap? Should you have asked to pay full price for them when you got to the register? I never buy books that are full price (except for Stephen Colbert's new book).

woo said...

I would have deferred to pete on that... "if you think we're cheap, you should meet my friend pete. He just downloaded your book on bittorrent, and now he gives it away to all his friends as gifts."

BA said...

I'm pretty sure the Sedaris book I gave you as a gift 5 years-ago was purchased on sale. Like 98% sure, either that or it was a $4 book all the time...

Pete said...

The truth cuts deep.


Marc said...

Pete - You shelled out for Colbert, eh? Apparently all it takes to squeeze a dime out of you is some faux Republican rhetoric.

Woo - I literally laughed out loud at that remark. You are the master.

BA - Thanks. Makes a great gift even better knowing it was a steal.

Pete said...

No, what makes me shell out some cash is smart humor. There is very little out there that makes you think these days. The satire of that show is what makes it so great. And I love a guy who can make fun of everyone and still have people like him.