After the performance, the Johns moved to a small table for the autographing. I ran into violentfemmebot and her friend, who had just arrived, and we got in line. For autographs, I had brought Then: The Earlier Years and McSweeney’s Issue 6, with a snazzy silver marker specifically so they could sign the navy blue endsheets of the McSweeney’s book.
After winding through the CD racks, I started trying to prime the marker. Being a complete idiot, I couldn’t figure out how to get it started. My frustration grew until it was finally my turn with the Johns. Flansburgh saw me struggling with my marker and said, “Don’t worry about it, man, we’ve got Sharpies.” He took my Then liner notes, and suggested that I get Linnell to sign my McSweeney’s at the same time. Linnell greeted me and asked me where he should sign. I indicated the navy blue endsheet with the lyrics printed on it, in a stupefied yet Quixotic attempt to cling to my great silver marker plan. Linnell hesitated, saying that he didn’t think it would be legible if he signed there, but I misunderstood him to mean that I wouldn’t be able to read the printed lyrics anymore, so I dismissed it and he signed there in green Sharpie. He was right, of course, it was very hard to see. Flans asked my name, leaned over and signed the McSweeney’s disc for me while Linnell signed the Then liner notes. It was all over pretty quickly. They were on to the next person before I even remembered to ask for a photo with them. Oh well, I looked kind of bad that day anyway. I left feeling like Ralphie sitting at the bottom of the Santa slide in A Christmas Story.
Within two minutes of getting home, I figured out the stupid marker. So I poured all available light onto Linnell’s autograph, and traced over it in silver. It looks damn awesome. Take that, Fate.