Oh, oh, oh, oh, sweet child o' mine...
I'm gonna see that you be back home in thirty days...

Where's my organ donor?

When I started reading the comments attached to my glowing announcement of the upcoming visit of Christopher Moore to a local bookstore, I found an interesting note from Dave2.

He said:

"Oh, and before I forget... the best reading/signing I have ever been to was Douglas Adams when he was signing his masterpiece "Last Chance to See" and reading from the final "Hitchhiker's" book.

So glad I got to meet him before he died (and have him sign my "Better Beezer Credit Application" from my "Bureaucracy" Infocom game that he wrote."

I found it hilarious that he had Douglas Adams sign a video game credit application and I'm sure Adams was amused by it as well.

And it reminded me of a strange autograph session for which I was in attendance.

I'm pretty sure it was about 1999, and I was in the midst of my second year of grad school at NIU. During my first year, I was enrolled in a documentary filmmaking course and we, as a class, actually produced an hour-long documentary. It was called Barbed Wire Pioneers (Holy shit! We have a web page for the movie! When'd this happen?) and was all about the competition in the late 1800s to create a commercially accepted type of barbed wire.

Why? Well, our university was in DeKalb, IL, where most of the drama behind this story occurred. So we did it. And we must've done it pretty well as the film won second place in the Silver State Documentary Festival, biography division in Las Vegas.

Our little film got a bit of buzz in the documentary arena of filmmaking. Not a lot, but it turned out to be quite a bit more than any of us in the class ever expected.

Miscmichaelmoore Some of this buzz got circulated to another documentary filmmaker that was pretty big at the time (both literally and figuratively). You might have heard of him, his name is Michael Moore.

Bear in mind that this was well before he became the uber-controversial freak that he has become. Even I'm not much of a fan of him anymore (I found Fahrenheit 9/11 to be boring as hell and not a particularly inspired piece of filmmaking... despite the fact I have similar anti-Bushy leanings).

At the time, though, he was only mildly controversial in that "oh, he's making a documentary film" sense and was still well respected amongst the documentary crowd for his haranguing of GM chief Roger Smith in the film Roger & Me.

Well, we received word that Moore was going to be in Chicago at the Illinois Institute of Technology to tape a couple episodes of The Awful Truth, his two-season-long venture into TV exposes, and we were invited to attend the tapings as well as a meet and greet afterwards.

We were stunned and more than willing to attend. So all us grads and a few undergrad communication students piled into a bus and trekked out to IIT.

To be honest with you, I don't remember much about the taping. It's all a bit of a blur in my head.

However, afterwards, when we went to the meet and greet, I remember frantically looking around for something for Moore to sign. I had bupkis. I, the autograph hound, had nothing. So I just waited in line while my buddy, George, also searched for something to have Moore sign.

We were in line waiting and our time was up. Here we were face-to-face with Michael Moore and George, as calm and collected as can be (he was cool like that), reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet. Then he removed his driver's license, flipped it over, placed it in front of Michael Moore, and said, "would you be my organ donor witness?"

Moore was cracking up. As were quite a few other people in the immediate vicinity. And they deserved to be laughing. What George had done was hilarious, and, yet, endearingly original. Moore was, excuse the pun, more than willing to sign the card.

I was in shock. George had done something completely ludicrous and was a hero for it. And I still had nothing to show for the affair.

Well, until one of his assistants gave me a signed The Awful Truth ballcap.

I still have the hat.

But it's not an autographed driver's license.