It makes no difference in your young life, but I realized the other day that I missed celebrating the 40th anniversary of my first job. I got $5 a semester for taking care of a classroom library in the English department.
There’s no reason to outline my entire employment history (One I have the right illustrator I can submit it to Mad Magazine) but those who just nodded and said, “Books again: what else?” should be alerted to the Printer’s Row Lit Fest (formerly Book Fair, but I guess the Tribune didn’t want to risk comparison with the Newberry) this weekend. This is also their third annual 25th anniversary, as we both got our start around the same time. (Venus must have been in the house of Libra at the time.)
We will have a table where you can pick up this year’s bookmark, with the dates and times of the Fair, provided these have not all blown away before you get there. The weather at Printer’s Row follows two patterns: hot and windy or cold and windy. Rain is almost a certainty, but let’s not be depressing.
I will not be at the table, if you were looking for an autograph. I need to busy myself with industrial espionage, tiptoeing from booth to booth muttering “I have that; what are THEY charging for it?” But there will be some hand-picked nice people working there, handing out bookmarks, telling you how to Adopt a Shakespeare Quotation, and using all their hands and feet to try to keep our flyers from taking flight. (Honest; the wind whistles toward Polk Street faster than a 22 bus pulling away when you reach the corner.) If you REALLY want Uncle Blogsy to sign your favorite blog, just let them know and then wait patiently while they pick themselves up, stop laughing, and ask if they heard you correctly. (Yes, they’re nice, but they have their limits.)
DO by all means go to the booths and buy the books for sale there. This is the only really effective way to show your disregard for the world of Kindles and Nooks: put some money down and buy that book autographed by Suzanne Somers (although mine is only $10, and she has written “To John, You were really great”) or those Lakeside Classics (which I just got another boxful of, so you’ll find ‘em at the Newberry, too.) I have no objection to your patronizing these folks and their great books, which they have gone to great trouble to haul to the show and then try to anchor in the face of wind turbulence and possible rain. Remember, some of them buy books at the Newberry too, so you want to make sure they’re solvent. The nice thing about going to this fair early in June is that it gives you ample time to find a place to shelve your new acquisitions before the BIG Book Fair at the end of July. (which is indoors, out of the wind.)