Days or weeks passed uneventfully. Then the world blossomed into a rainbow of possibility: I was approached by someone who said he enjoyed reading My New Fighting Technique Is Unstoppable. This flummoxed me because I had not given him a copy for Christmas as I did not know him. Was he perhaps on the review committee for the grant? No. And yet he had definitely read the book? The one with the karate guys yelling and cursing? Yes. After a little more prodding he admitted that his friend worked at the zine-friendly photocopy shop and had faxed him the entire book, page by page….
So the book was being distributed via fax without my permission. This is called “file sharing.” I asked the guy if he thought his photocopy friend would make me some copies of the book at a reduced rate â€” seeing as how he was already engaged in unauthorized fax piracy on the high seas of clip-art comics. He thought this was reasonable. I called the guy at the photocopy shop and we worked out an arrangement whereby I would stop by the shop on Friday afternoons with a 12-pack of beer. I would leave the beer on top of the counter and he would kick a box of books under the counter. I would lug the books (actually, collated pages) home on the subway and staple them in my living room. That is how I learned the ancient art of bookbinding.