If Easter is late, a bookseller will probably put the Mother's Day table up later than if Easter is early. But after Mother's Day, you'll usually see a Father's Day table fairly quickly. That gives you five weeks of sale, though I think that most folks will only shop for two weeks. But what else are you going to put up in the meantime?
This year we are lucky to have the perfect Father's Day event with Jim Gaffigan appearing for his new book, Dad is Fat, on Saturday, June 15, 7 pm. Now some comedians might not want to be the spokesman for the holiday, but Gaffigan is pretty clear about it; he's got five kids and isn't shy about expressing his opinion on the subject. I should note that mom and dad and the five kids live in Manhattan, in a two bedroom apartment.
Gaffigan saw himself as a single guy, and his earlier riffs talk a lot about eating and well, being a shlub. But with five kids, one is sort of forced into busy mode. And there's a lot you can learn dealing with kids, which is helpful for future parents. Giving kids gum can create a lot of problems, but aside from the potential of rotted teeth someday (hey, we all play the odds), there seems to be no downside to a lollipop, for kid, parent, or innocent passers by.
And what does one exactly do with kids? I thought about where my parents and sisters and camp and schools would take me when I was young in New York, with nobody exactly having a lot of money to spend. We did a lot of window shopping, but that can lead to some serious crying fits. We took very complicated journeys places. The Staten Island Ferry is genius, by the way, as it's all the fun of the Statue of Liberty without the expense. And we did every museum you could do on the free day, and some, like the Museum of Natural History, weren't even boring. Are there free days anymore? Probably not.
When I was a kid, I would fantasize about living with my parents in an apartment, and now Gaffigan's kids are living the dream. But I guess I didn't think about the three kids in one bedroom, making it a urban Waltons sort of scenario. I did know a lot of siblings who shared bedrooms, and at least one set of parents who lived in the living room until their son left for college. On the other hand, you have much more interesting outdoor space.
I, however, must admit that I never fantasized about living on The Bowery, which leads to the strange thing about all those neighborhoods in New York that I once was afraid to visit, and now I'm too poor to visit. As he notes:
"For those readers not presently recoving from heroin addiction who are familiar with this area of New York City, consider this: supposedly the term hobo comes from a description of the sketchy characters who were the main inhabitants on the cross streets of HOuston and BOwery. Hey, that's right where I live. Isn't that cool, hip, and ironic? The tiny overcrowded apartment where I'm raising my young children is in the same location where they manufacture homeless people. Location, location, location."
Here are several things I have learned if by some strange turn of events, I become a parent:
a. I should wash my hands more.
b. I should get a yelling jar. It's a great source of income.
c. A manny is not a bad idea, but they are usually pretty sloppy.
Nick also read the book and really liked it. But then again, he's the one who went to the show last New Years, and on hearing of the upcoming book, got very excited about the idea of Gaffigan coming to Boswell for a book event. And I think he invited him personally, though I never got the full story on that.
And so we are spreading the word about our talk/signing with Gaffigan on Saturday, June 15, 7 pm. It will be just like our recent event with David Sedaris. It's not ticketed, and you are not required to buy the book from us to attend. You can also bring your copy of Dad is Fat from home. Mr. Gaffigan will personalize. No posed photos, but line photos are allowed. And for this event, books only, please. (I couldn't find a photo with his kids that I knew whether we had the right to use, so this is an artist's interpretation. Or should I say nonartist? Blunt truth: I drew it.)
Like David Sedaris, and several other events in the past, we will close the doors temporarily if we hit capacity. In most cases, enough folks clear out after the talk that we can then reopen to the public.
And yes, I know there are other Father's Day books out there. But this is really the only one I am thinking about. Try me in 2014.
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