It was a brisk November morning in 2006 and all Manhattan was a titter with bile and what have you. I was on my way up the the East 90s to meet with S.T. VanAirsdale to discuss being an intern for The Reeler. I had never met him, didn’t know whether to say ‘Stu’ or ‘Es Tee’ and had no idea what to say despite being the “film editor" for a student paper at NYU.
To kill time I hopped off to the Barnes and Noble on 85th St. Mulling around for a moment I walked up to the desk to ask for the bathroom. The employee took a look at me, sighed and then said, “Oh great, come this way" before I could even get past “Hi, is there."
She took me down the rows. Past the new releases. Past the fiction. Past the romance. Into the murky world of fantasy/science fiction. We walked down two rows until we came against the wall. She grabbed a stack of books, turned and said, “Can you carry these, please?"
She turned and went back to her desk, motioning for me to follow. We went back to her desk. She took out a sharpie and held it out.
"Can you start signing these please?"
I had no idea why but it dawned on me I was carrying a stack of World War Z. So I took her pen, opened the cover and signed the first copy. Then I met Max Brooks. This is Max Brooks. This was, for lack of a better version, me back in 2007.
"Why are you signing my book?"
"I have no idea," I said. “I just want to use the bathroom."
I can’t remember now if he laughed or if the person who worked there took the pen from me. But I left right after that and walked down to a Starbucks to meet Stu, which is finally what I found out to call him. Then came a discussion of the role of Jason Statham as the embodiment of modern male psyche in an actor that may or may not be self-aware.
Somewhere, however, is a copy of World War Z signed by me. Cherish it.