With the Rolling Roadshow screening of “Clerks” being the next day, I figured a hundred, maybe two hundred folks would show up at the Red Bank Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash signing we’d scheduled for Monday.
To put this into perspective, when I hit puberty, and my dick grew no bigger than it had been in grade school, I figured one day, I’d enjoy a penile growth spurt that’d put me on par with the dudes in porn who sported more impressive cocks.
In short, I’m an idiot.
When I showed up at the Stash at 2:45 yesterday (the hotel where I was staying had temporarily shut the water off around noon, prohibiting me from showering on schedule to make the 2pm signing start in time), I saw a line that stretched far deeper into the heart of Red Bank than I’d anticipated.
By the time I started signing at 3pm, the official head count outside was over 2000.
By the time I signed for the last guy (whose sentiments made my morning), it was 4am today.
Between those two points, there was a moment that kind of defined the whole day for me: Walter pulls me aside at one point and informs me “The cops are saying there’s a woman outside who showed up around four/five, and she’s bitching about the line being cut off. Bitching in a big way. Bitching enough for the cop to suggest we have her escorted off. What do you think?”
It’s at this point that I’m thinking “Has it really come to this?”
“Is she right after the cut-off sign in the line?” I ask.
“She’s further back,” Walt explains. “There’re about two hundred people after the cut off mark. She’s in the middle of that group.”
“What are two hundred people doing standing in a line that’s been cut off?”
Walt had no answer for that except “What do we do about The Screamer?”
And after a moment’s fancy of the Asbury Park Press headline that might read “Clerks-Guy Has Fan Rolled by Cops”, I say to Walt “Let’s move the sign. Put it at the end of the two hundred people.”
“You’re kidding,” Walt sputters.
“I don’t see what else we can do.”
“We’re gonna be here ’til the wee hours.”
“If we’re lucky.”
We weren’t lucky. It wound up being a thirteen hour signing. It broke our previous record, set September ’04, when we opened the Westwood Stash and had a dual “Clerks X”/”Jersey Girl” DVD signing that lasted from 5pm to 5am the next day.
Nobody (not the folks who showed up or even the folks in charge) anticipated a crowd that large. This was the first event that the Red Bank Police made us hire an off-duty uniform to patrol (at $56 an hour). This was the first event at which the View Askew Message Board folks made up maybe 2% of the folks in line, with the majority of the crowd being MySpacers. It wasn’t a clusterfuck, but it was certainly a quagmire of sorts. And yet, thanks to your patience, we got through it in one piece, staying ’til the last man (and woman) got their shit tagged.
Kudos to the Secret Stash crew – Walt, Ming, Mike Zap and Jeff – who kept it all moving fairly smoothly. Kudos to Jen for spending hours outside, glad-handing and chatting with the waiting crowd. Kudos to all the folks in line who waited upwards of thirteen hours. Kudos to the town of Red Bank for not shutting us down once they saw the sheer volume of the crowd.
If you showed up, waited as long as you could, and eventually threw in the towel… man I completely understand. I’ve read posts on our message board from people who made it through to the bitter end, and from a few folks who were bitter about not making it to the end. Sometimes, people are reasonable about it. Sometimes, people are less so. Sometimes, I have to express my exasperation in return. Sometimes, the local paper gets the head count wrong. And sometimes, after a long day/night of signing stuff, it does your heart good to read a story like this (but, y’know – minus the car accident stuff).
I’m a big fan of the people who dig our stuff for the obvious reasons (they keep me employed and they improve my self esteem), but sometimes, an event like this illuminates the not-so obvious reasons I love my audience: they are pretty fucking devoted.
But not devoted enough, mind you, to get naked for me. In all those two thousand plus people, you’d imagine at least one couple would offer to put on a private fuck show for me. Y’know – like a “I love ‘Mallrats’ so much, that if you lock that front door, the wife will lean me over the BluntMobile and bang me with a strap-on for your amusement.” That shit never happens to me. What fucking gives? Where’s the Goddamned respect, ya’ selfish fucking pricks?
Many thanks, all, for making a fat kid from Jersey feel loved, yet again. It helps to salve the wound left by that complete and utter missing penile growth spurt I’d expected in my youth.