You know you’ve been to a good book party when you wake up
hungover as hell and feeling like the author is your new best friend.
Last week, Aaron Goldfarb kicked off the 30-day, 30-bar
tour for his new (and first) book, How to
Fail: The Self-Hurt Guide. Ostensibly the antithesis to a self-help book,
the novel’s chapters and “footchapters” (like footnotes, but less annoying)
have titles like “How to Live on a Couch” and “How to Masturbate at Work.”
To promote the book, Aaron—not “Goldfarb” since we’re buddies
now—will be visiting 30 bars in a little over a month, taking just two days off to
spend time with his family and stuff. Aaron is a beer buff, so the
party was held at Amity Hall, a serious beer bar where the upstairs bartender
grudgingly serves up about a zillion different varieties—if you can get her
to pay any attention to you at all.
Aaron’s editor, Amy Cianfrone (who’s hot and tattooed enough
to be a Suicide Girl, and was seriously questioning her choice to quit smoking
immediately before embarking on a month-long bar tour) introduced me to Aaron
almost immediately after my plus-one and I walked in the door. Lily, Aaron and
I all stood there awkwardly for a few moments, making small talk about the
book. Aaron was clearly already drunk from having arrived at least two hours
earlier, and seemed a little self-conscious, so I decided to take another tack.
“I’m not really here to interview you,” I said, “So you can
relax. But I’ll probably wait until you get drunker and then ask you more questions.”
“OK,” he said. “But if you get me drunk before you interview
me, it’s like date-rape. Like… date-interview?”
I decided Aaron was pretty cool and it was going to be a fun night, so I called a
few more friends over to join the party.
Two more hours, several beers and a shot later, Aaron was
spewing beautiful, shiny nuggets of wisdom about the urinary frequency that
comes with age and alcohol.
“It’s fucking hell,” he said. “I used to show up at the bar
at 8, happy hour, drink ‘til 4 in the morning, piss once, wake up at 9 a.m. Now,
I’m like, after 9 p.m., I’m freaked out. I’m dehydrated. But if I drink even a
sip of water, I’m gonna wake up and have to piss. I don’t care about dying
soon, I don’t care that I suck at basketball now, I don’t care that maybe I’m
losing my hair, but fucking having to wake up and piss every hour is not good!”
A bit later, my buddy Alex asked about one of the items from
what Aaron calls his “intentionally sexy” Table of Contents.
“So, how do you
beat off at work without getting caught?” Alex said.
“Well,” Aaron responded, “Where do you work?
Then Aaron told us about a book festival he visited a few
“A guy came up to me, a burly dude, and he was reading my
table of contents, and he goes ‘How to Masturbate at Work’… I don’t need to know
how to do that. I said ‘Well where do you work, sir?’ He said ‘I’m a truck
driver.’ I said, ‘Well, fuckin’ piece a cake.’ He goes ‘well, really
dangerous!’ ‘I said, you know, you’re not supposed to be doing it while you’re
driving the truck. Pull over and go into the back and do it!’
After a few more drinks and a rambling conversation about Aaron and his cousin
Lisa’s attempts at being contestants on Who
Wants to Be a Millionaire, my friends and I realized we were pretty much the only guests still there,
and decided to call it a night.
The next morning, my head throbbing, and the taste of
Jamison still in my mouth, I rolled out of bed and opened the book to the page
Aaron had signed.
It said (and this is not a typo):
Thanks for coming. Don’t you any quote out of context. –