Brush With Local Greatness, Vol. 1 : Dan Piraro
About 12 years ago I was working at the Bookstop near the Inwood theater in Dallas and it was my first real job out of college. I was a supervisor there, and one of the things we would do, and if you’ve been into any Barnes & Noble you’ll know this, was put out staff recommendations. I had recommended some Bizarro comic strip books in the past, and one night while working the cash register a woman came and paid for her books with a check that said it was from Dan and (Somebody) Piraro. Don’t remember her name.
Dan Piraro was the creator of the Bizarro comic strip, and I knew that the name wasn’t very common, so I carefully asked, “Is this the Dan Piraro we all know and love?” And she answered that yes it was. Dan’s wife called him over and I said how much I liked his comic and he thanked me. They left, but later I put out another staff recommendation of “Best of Bizarro, Volume 1”. The card that I put with the book said, “If Dan Piraro is cool he will sign these.” And he obviously was cool, because he did sign them, all of them. I of course snatched one of the autographed copies up. Still have it, too.
He didn’t look like the picture I’ve included at the time, he looked much more eccentric, with long curly hair and a goatee. The picture next to this makes him almost look Dad-like.
The next time I saw him in our store he was buying a “Do Your Own Divorce in Texas” book. I hope that wasn’t concerning the woman who’d called him over to say hi to me.
On April 9 of this year I got up the gumption and wrote Dan from the email address given off of his website –
About 12 years ago I was working at the Bookstop near the Inwood theater in Dallas and knew that you occasionally came into our store. I had set out a staff recommendation of your Best of Bizarro (the first one) and my card underneath it read “If Dan Piraro is cool he will sign these.”
Suffice to say, you were very cool and signed all of them. I still have one, even though my wife wonders why I keep it around.
Just wanted to say thanks for that.
– Glenn Vance
I had no idea if he would write me back…but three days later he did.
Thanks for the note, Glenn. It was awfully nice of you to thank me after so many years. Hope all is well with you and yours and that you are finding life to be grand and groovy. I lived in Dallas then and live in NYC now. You still in Dallas?
Holy moly. He was engaging me in conversation. So I told him about my wish to get my masters and PhD in History and then teach. I thanked him for writing me back and told him to have a good one.
And he wrote back again!
Good luck with your professorship. Sounds like a good career and one that hardly ever includes being paged in the middle of the night. As long as you stay away from the co-eds. : )
How freaking cool is that?