Autograph Hound's Blah Blah Blog

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Jeff Dunham – All By My Selves

I asked Kae, the wife, if she wanted to go to a signing with me. I told her it was a surprise and I would pick her up about 5PM. Kae is a notorious surprise spoiler. I have learned not to buy a Christmas present too early as she’ll see the Visa bill and know what I got her. Remarkably, she didn’t search the internet trying to figure out who we were going to see. That was a lot of restraint on her part.
We got to the bookstore and I picked up a copy of All By My Selves and asked if she would like to see Jeff Dunham tonight.  It’s always great to see her face light up like a kid. She didn’t quite jump for joy but she did bob up and down a little with excitement. She loves him. We have seen Jeff Dunham twice in concert and she will often quote a line or two from his act.
We purchased our copy and got wrist bands and that had the letter ‘C’ written on them. Barnes & Nobles has started a wrist band system that I really like. They hand out wrist bands with letters on them. They start at ‘A’ and go to ‘Z’. There are 25 wristbands for each letter of the alphabet. 
I found this system rewards me for coming in early and getting a good letter. I instantly know about how many people are in line in front of me. I don’t need to stand in line for several unproductive hours. I have the freedom to leave and come back.  I can search the store for a book or magazine to read. Granted other people with the same letter will be in front of me but only 24 other people could be in front of me with that letter.  It’s a good risk/reward deal.
We took advantage of this and went to eat.
We came back about 45 minutes later and the store was crowded. We found the line for ‘C’ and not many people were in it. We still had another 30 minutes before the official start time so we each took a few minutes to browse and find something to read.
Jeff Dunham arrived and the crowd applauded. Jeff spoke for a few minutes and then brought out Walter.  Walter, as always, was cantankerous.  People would yell out: “We love you!” and Walter without a pause would heckle the audience with: “Keep drinking” or something fittingly curmudgeon.
After Jeff put away Walter he talked about his book and his budding career in the DFW area. In researching his book, he found some vintage footage from a local news station where a young Bill O’Reilly interviewed him. He spoke for another 10 minutes where he mentioned he was introducing two new characters to the act. One was a drunk divorcée and the other was Achmed’s son called AJ (Achmed Junior). Then the signing began.
Even though we were ‘C’ and maybe 60 people were in front of us, it took an hour for us to reach the front of the line. Sometimes the line is slow because the people in front have a dozen books to get signed. Sometimes the line is slow because of small glitches in the book signing process. Sometimes the line is slow because the guest has a lot of interaction with the crowd.
I got to the front of the line and got the official okay-dokey to approach him, he held out his hand for me to shake.
He had his parents sitting behind him and I asked him if that was to make sure he didn’t get in any trouble. He politely laughed and said yes. It was neat to see them too. He was including them in his life and he was proud to have them there.
We brought a camera and while I got the book signed a B&N employed tried to take a photo. No luck.
I hate bringing cameras to events like this. You have your hands full with the book(s) and holding a camera just adds some minor stress. Then you have these little adventures where the camera doesn’t work.
Jeff was a trooper. He told the employee to try again. No luck.  I’m ready to bolt out of there as I’m the guy that is holding up the line.  I’m apologizing and telling everyone I’ll just leave.  Kae got the camera and fussed with it for a moment and tried again. I can barely smile as I’m so embarrassed. 
Every instinct of mine said run. I’m the chaos that is making the line move so slowly. I’m the guy that will cause Jeff Dunham to start rushing when he realizes this event won’t finish until after midnight. I envisioned pitch forks and torches chasing after me through the midnight darkened streets.
Jeff noticed my blank face and told me to smile.  He’s still willing to get this photo done. I’d say ‘git er done’ but that’s the wrong comedian. He’s looking out for me.  Very cool of him. The camera failed a third time. I thank him so much for trying to get the photo done.  As I was walking away he asked if I wanted to try again. Very very cool of him.
Kae saw my frustration and she joined me outside of the line. We futzed with the camera for a moment and I saw that the low battery icon is on. The batteries are dying.
I know the batteries aren’t that old. But I instantly know why the light is on.  The 5 million cat photos that my dear sweet wife had taken of the cats over the last few months. A day cannot pass without the cats doing something cute that needs to be captured for posterity. Thinking about it, I’m surprised there was room on the memory card for a photo.
I did step back toward the table and took a photo.  I held as still as I could to let the slow shutter speed work.  Jeff never looked up. I could now leave knowing I was a few steps ahead of the angry mob with a signed book and a photo and a happy wife.


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