Alexandra Duncan

Science Fiction. Fantasy. Feminism.


Last Friday night, Jeremy and I went down to the Asheville Community Theatre to hear John Hodgman read from his new book of complete (fake) world knowledge, That Is All. We were great fans of his past books, The Areas of My Expertise and More Information Than You Require, as well as The Judge John Hodgman Podcast.

We were expecting a brief reading and signing, but what we got was an opening act ("artisanal pencil sharpening" with David Rees), and then a full two hours of Wild Turkey-drinking, barefoot pontification on post-apocalyptic farming, sports, Broadway theater, reality television, on the END OF THE WORLD.

Competitive hoarding: the next reality television craze?
John Hodgman began his portion of the evening by entering center stage wearing what might have been a coonskin cap, sitting down in a chair, removing his shoes, putting on a pair of orange-tinted wire rim glasses, and pouring himself a cocktail of Wild Turkey and 5-Hour Energy drink. During the course of the evening, we were treated to a dramatic reading of a reality television show script promoting competitive hoarding, an artisanal pencil sharpening/Hodgman crossover, and a ukulele serenade.

Toward the end of the night, Hodgman offered a question-and-answer session. I thought this might be the ideal time to ask what kind of animal his hat was made of (Maybe I'm wrong, but I've never seen a camel-colored raccoon). Oh, was I ever wrong.

I neglected to take into consideration the fact that Hodgman's hipster glasses were not his current prescription, and that he had been steadily polishing off the previously mentioned bottle of Wild Turkey over the course of the past few hours. When I raised my hand, he pointed directly to me and said with great confidence, "Yes, you sir."

The "oooooh" sound that followed was one I hadn't heard since seventh grade.

I think he must have immediately realized his mistake, because he hurried out an apology and an explanation about his glasses, which gave me enough time to recover from my mortification and ask the question I originally wanted to ask.

The funny thing is, I thought I was at a stage in my life where this kind of thing couldn't embarrass me too much. I will say it again: I was wrong. It's strange how such a stupid thing can undermine your confidence and turn your face the shade of a cooked lobster.

Still, we had a great evening. We caught a (decaf!) 5-Hour Energy drink that our host threw out into the crowd, along with some mayonnaise packets. We ran into our friends Stephanie and Jarrod, and made the unexpected discovery that Jarrod looks extraordinarily like John Hodgman pre-moustache. Plus, we had our books signed, and Jeremy got his picture taken with the Great and Terrible Hodg:

And honestly, even with all Mr. Hodgman's confusion over my gender identity, my encounter with him went better than the time I met Neil Gaiman and couldn't speak at all, or the time I met Steven Pinker and I couldn't stop giggling like a starstruck schoolgirl. All in all, it was a weird and lovely night. However, next time I meet someone famous, I think I'm going to wear my hair down.

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