So here we are.
It was an odd situation for me to be in. For some inexplicable reason, my website’s email address had received seven requests for autographed photos in a single week, all from Eastern Europe. I don’t get seven requests in a month... and lately, not even in a year. (This is not a complaint.)
With each new email, a line from Singles played over and over in my head, as spoken by Cliff, the lead singer of Citizen Dick, after reading a lousy review of his band: Just remember one thing... we are loved in Belgium, and in Italy! I was underemployed in America, but somehow, I’d suddenly taken the Czech Republic and Ukraine by storm.
So I complied.
It is a silly thing to sign an autograph, especially on an airbrushed picture of myself. I never know what to inscribe, and I can’t imagine why anyone would want this from me. There is no inherent value in my signature, as I am a) alive, b) not particularly sought-out, and c) hardly a rare commodity. And there is an incredible irony in that the people whose autographs are actually of some value are the people who are least likely to honor such a request. The scribblings of people like me with plenty of time and unused headshots to spare aren’t worth the postage. There has been the same signed photo of me for sale online for at least five years now, with not a single taker (one of my many adventures in humility). Oh, when will people learn?
But I figure that life is odd and ridiculous, so why should I question yet another odd and ridiculous facet of it? Besides, if my touching of Sharpie to photographic paper can bring a soul one single iota of joy, then I can hardly say him/her nay.
As I walked to the post office bleary-eyed, barefaced, and ponytailed, carrying my little stack of manila envelopes, a paranoid scenario regarding my unusually prolific international correspondence played out in my head:
Disgruntled Postal Worker: Hmm, sending to Czech Republic... Ukraine... Poland... Germany...
DPW: No return address on these?
DPW: Do these contain any liquids or hazardous substances?
DPW: What’s in ‘em?
Me: Just pictures.
DPW: Of what, you?
DPW: (pause) ...why?
Me: (shrinking) I do not know.
But it didn’t play out that way in reality. The postal worker was not disgruntled in any way, and did not ask any questions at all, not even about the lack of a return address. He just stamped them with DO NOT BEND and I handed him 22 bucks. It was all very ordinary.
Hmm... maybe the Czechs have been sending autograph requests to all of my neighbors, too.
I guess we'll see what happens next week. I have two more requests from the Czech Republic, and my first from Slovakia.
And to think, my passport is blank. My photographs are more traveled than I am.
Yes indeed. Welcome to me.