That Christmas, Part 1

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Several Christmases ago, I was at a party. And this guy, we’ll call him Ralph, had just self-published his first book. Ralph had heard through the grapevine—which, by the way, is no substitute for a good cell phone plan—that I was a writer and that I had connections to the film industry.

That’s true, BTB; I have friends who are actors. You’ve seen them here and there on TV shows and in movies, usually playing somebody who tells the police about this shadowy dude he maybe saw around the time the crime was committed. They may or may not get mentioned in the credits. I’m also friends with a freelance art director, a special effects guy, and a couple directors who’ve never made anything you will have heard of.

I promise.

So while it’s not a lie that I have “Hollywood connections,” if I tried to start a career based on those connections, I’d realistically have a better chance of being the guy who tells the police that somebody stole his rental car.

But I felt the need to provide precisely none of these qualifying factors to Ralph. So when he said, “Someone told me you know people in the movie biz,” I answered, “Yes, I do.”

Not fully realizing what was about to be proposed. Piece of advice for the future: Never say “I do.” Unless you really know the other person, love them, and have a big wedding with lots of gifts. Register early; register often.

But, this meeting happened in the past. And I did the dumb thing.

YA Author Tom Hoover on Why to Not Say I DoMy reward was him quickly disappearing into the crowd and returning moments later with a soft-cover copy of his masterpiece. Hereafter to be known as “The Book,” if this blog was written in contract language by a lawyer and not by an idiot who said “I do.”

“I wrote this,” Ralph beamed like a thousand suns.

“Um, cool.” Because I had to say something. But note the hesitation in my quoted speech.

“I just self-published it myself,” he said, prouder even still. And redundant.

“Congratulations.” Though I have to confess that I almost said “um, cool” again. “Congratulations” was a last-minute attempt to show that I was not brain dead as well as an idiot with dubious industry connections. I also confess that there was a twisted part of me that wanted to say, “Yeah, someday I’ll write a book, too” like so many people have done to me.

But that’s just bitter.

And while I stood there in that corner, watching the free people mill about with their eggnogs and their not being trapped by someone who wanted an art favor, praying fervently for a rescue I feared would come too late, Ralph delivered the killing blow.

“You think that you could turn it into a movie script we can sell?”

I was right. It was intended to be a marriage.

To be continued…

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