Barnes and Noble

What a day it’s been. It started off with some early morning writing and then the final 4 action packed holes of the PGA Championship. Congrats to Lefty, although no one made him sweat. More bogies than birdies. While eating breakfast today I made the call to Barnes and Noble, “I’m checking to see if the new Worthwhile Magazine is in…” After some keyboard crunching they came back and said, “We have it.” Sweet.

I asked, “Who’s on the cover?” Could it be me? I asked myself. They said a guy named Stedman Graham. It didn’t ring a bell, but it obviously wasn’t me. No sweat on that. We hung up, I told my folks it was in. We were energized.

My mom asked if I wanted her to pick some up copies after her dentist appointment. She wasn’t going to come home until after work, so I passed. I had to have them in hand ASAP.

I still waited for the golf. Phil did his thing, made the great chip and short putt, and my dad and I were off. It was great to have him on the ride, to share the excitement. We had my camera ready to document the event.

It was a very surreal feeling, walking into a Barnes and Noble knowing there was a magazine with my words in it. And my face in it. We walked in and turned right, making the 45 degree bee line to the magazine section. The Business sign beckoned and on the top right was my baby, Worthwhile Magazine. I picked up the crisp, shiny copy. I bet I was the first one to grab a copy from this store. There was Stedman Graham staring at me.

I now realized who he was. I hadn’t seen him before, other than being spoofed on Saturday Night Live or Mad TV since he’s Oprah’s boyfriend or husband. Hey, I was covered up because of the power of the O. No sweat. “Ah ha, so he’s Oprah’s boyfriend,” I said to my dad.

I dove into the table of contents with my heart fluttering. I was the first on the list, page 48, Birth of a Seeker. Cool title, they came up with that. Obviously I hurriedly flipped to page 48. In big letters, THE SEEKER stared at me. And there I was, in the letters. There was me at the Fairfax County Fire House, Charleston, SC, Letchworth State Park, Walden Pond, Maine, and NYC. I don’t know how they did it, but I thought it looked cool.

On the inside of the page was a shot of my car the day I left Charlotte. I forgot I sent it to them. I also forgot how much stuff I had in my car.

I flipped the page to see my mug staring back at me. I didn’t let out a Fonzie, “Heyyyy,” but I thought it turned out pretty good. I like how the color of my shirt matches the box on the next page.

My dad and I smiled at each other. I thanked him for all that he and my mom have done. He congratulated me. I put the magazines back and took some pictures of them sitting in their slot. I was sure to get the Business sign in the background.

We then took them out and I handed the camera to my dad. “Let’s get one of me in front of the shelf.” You should’ve seen the smile on my face. My dad turned on the camera and held it up to shoot me and my work. He moved me into position when we heard a voice call out, “Excuse me, you can’t take pictures in here.”

Out of nowhere was a smaller woman, close to my age, staring at me. My smile went away and I didn’t understand what she was talking about. “What? We’re just taking a shot here.” I said. She said, “No pictures. It is a corporate rule.” I paused, somewhat stunned. “Wait a second. I’m in this magazine. This is a big deal,” I said to her, in a pleading voice. “I’m sorry, but no pictures.”

I laughed. “What in the hell is the big deal here? I am not stealing anything. I am not trying to figure out your product placement. Take your corporate and…” I didn’t say that stuff, I was thinking it as I looked over at my dad. “C’mon, can’t you just pretend you got over here late?” I asked her, this time my voice was raised and that big smile was not on my face.

My dad and I walked in their sky high and all it took was some BS corporate memo sent down the chain to this store to ruin it. “I’m sorry, no pictures,” she said as she stood firm.

I was enraged, furious, pissed off, whatever you want to call it. I fumed to my dad, “Can’t I have a moment of glory here? This is big stuff. A national magazine. Barnes and Noble for heaven’s sake.” He did his best to calm me down as he pushed me away from the shelf and towards the check out line.

We described who we spoke to the clerk and asked to speak to the manager. It sounded like she was it. Damn. That pissed me off even more. “Dad, I don’t even want to buy these things here. Let’s go to Wegman’s (grocery store that had it in stock).” He didn’t want to make another stop. He calmed me down; we bought the magazines and got out of there without an incident from mall security.

Corporate America has some BS rules. I understand the need for them (loss prevention, competition), but c’mon, why not stand there and watch, make sure I only take a shot of me and the magazine, and let me be on my way. Since you can’t make exceptions, you now have a person who won’t shop there and a posting on a website describing foolish ways.

We left, took some pictures outside of the store, and headed to lunch. We had a fat sub from Pino’s a mom and pop (corporate avoidance today) sub shop.

I am very happy with the way the article is laid out and came out. If you know of people to interview for round 2, send them my way. The book will be done shortly, then West here I come.

My thanks to the gang at Worthwhile. A kind non-thank you to Barnes and Noble (but please carry my book when it comes out).