Twenty rubber chickens

Yesterday I joined a regional booksellers’ organization and attended their trade show. Conversation with the exhibitors went something like this:

Exhibitor: “What store are you with?”

Me: “Um, I’m not a bookseller. I’m a publisher.”

Exhibitor: “How long have you been in business?”

I look at my watch.

While the ink was still drying on my articles of incorporation, I found myself in a room with the likes of Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin, and Random House. They had tables groaning with free copies of their latest or soon to be released books. I felt a little out of place, carrying a bag full of freshly printed business cards, three books, and 20 rubber chickens. Long story.

My daughter can read a novel in the time it takes me to shave one leg. I read three paragraphs and my eyes start to go numb. Naturally, I took her with me to help me pimp my books and fledgling company. She didn’t get the memo. She filled two shopping bags to the brim with free books, then turned to me, her eye’s brimming with tears. “Thank you, Mom for being a publisher,” she whispered in awe.

Well, at least somebody was impressed. I can’t believe I put on mascara for this.

You see, I’ve kind of taken up the cause of bringing more good bathroom reading to humanity. In all the thousands of books at the trade show, I only found one humor book. This left me with many questions. Is it not fine literature unless it’s riveting, poignant, or filled with the bloodsucking undead? Are people too jaded to enjoy fine humor anymore? Will my husband be offended that I picked up a free Grilling for Dummies apron for him?

The Lone Ranger had really good PR in an age without telephones and instant messaging. When someone asked, “Who was that masked man?” there was always someone in the crowd to say, “Why, that was the Lone Ranger.” Where he would leave his signature silver bullet when he rode out of town, I left people holding a rubber chicken. “Who was that weirdo?”

One day, when people are on the crapper with their pants around their ankles, they will read one of my books and say, “God bless the Mascaraed Marauder.”