Alumni, Books, and Toothpaste

What do these three things have in common? More than you’d think.

This past weekend was my 15th year reunion at my university. Apparently the 15th, in general, is not as well attended as the 10th, 20th, or 25th.

Why no love for 15?

It’s a great number: like 10 and 20, it is also a multiple of 5; it was Thurman Munson’s number; and, according to The History of the World, Part1, it was the number of commandments originally handed down by god.

I love you, Mel Brooks.

My college roommates and I decided to ditch our families and make a weekend out of it. Our only complaint was that we should have gone for another day…or two. We had a lot of fun reconnecting with old friends, revisiting our old haunts, and drinking lots of wine…and beer…and vodka cranberries.


I went to Colgate University.

(insert toothpaste joke here)

(insert my eye roll here)

It’s a small, liberal arts school in Hamilton, New York.  And it’s one of the most beautiful colleges I’ve ever seen (okay, so I’m biased).


Bias or no, it’s still kinda pretty.

If you’re into school spirit, rigorous academia, and cows, then Colgate is the place for you. Hamilton is in central New York and to describe it as “rural” would be generous. It’s not uncommon to get a waft of cow shit while stumbling home from a night of drinking. But the area is lovely, the people of Hamilton are great, and the University, itself, is awesome. Those in charge do everything in their power to make students fall in love with Colgate and make alumni never forget the place. And it works. Those were four of the best years of my life.

As one roommate put it this weekend: “Any time I’m here, I feel happy.” That about sums it up for me, too.

Now that I’ve yammered on about my alma mater…on to the book stuff.

One of the cool things that happens during reunion weekend is an alumni book signing. Since I had my first story and poem published in the past year (in Chiral Mad and Angels Cried, respectively), I decided to sign up.

Look, Ma. I'm famous! (squint really hard, and you'll see my name on the left)

Look, Ma: I’m famous!
(squint really hard, and you’ll see my name on the left)

It was an hour-long event, held in the university book store. The space was great, and refreshments were served.

Truth be told, I had low expectations. I mean, who the hell goes to a book signing during their college reunion weekend? It’s all about drinking  beer under the tents and saying, “kids today have it way better than we did” upon seeing any improvements done to the school.

And for the first 45 minutes, I was right. Overall, the event was nice and well-attended, but I, personally, didn’t get a whole lot of love. And if people happened to stop by and inquire about Chiral Mad, once I told them it was psychological horror, they nodded politely and put it down. Then they ran out of the room, screaming. I think the organizers had to get paramedics and/or drugs to calm them down.

Just kidding. But not about the drugs.


Okay, no drugs, either. But, like I said, small tumbleweeds were blowing on my table.

Then, with 15 minutes to go (there’s that number again), four great guys came in with some kind words and a hankering for a book (thanks Graham, Jaime, Scott, and Brent!). Then another super cool person bought a book (you know who you are) and, finally, the college bookstore bought a copy of each book (thanks Colgate!).

at signing2

Do my books look fat?

So that brings the final count to 7. Hmmm…single digits…and not even half of 15…but for my first time out there, I’m pretty psyched.

Thanks to Heather Elia and the Colgate Bookstore for putting on a wonderful event.

And thanks to my three awesome roomies: Mere, Maria, and Johanna. They encouraged me to do the signing and helped me with the logistics. I met them my very first day of school and am closer to them now than I’ve ever been. I am lucky to know them.