From the C3 writer’s conference
Sometimes my mouth gets me in trouble. Maybe I say something because I think it’s funny. And sometimes maybe I shouldn’t.
If you’re a guy, you know the Guy Code. It’s filled with rules and regulations about what guys should and shouldn’t do. Women have their own code. If you’re a guy, you’ve probably wondered about that. Don’t waste your time. As long as we live, we’ll never crack that code.
The Guy Code is not a written code but an inferred one. You learn about it and are reminded about it, not from study but from example. Violations are called out in elegant language in phrases like, “C’mon, man,” and “Not cool, Bro.”
It’s not difficult, but once in a while we forget and need to be reminded. At this year’s C3 conference, I tripped up. And it wasn’t a minor violation, but a big one. Chiseled in stone. Chapter one. As plain as the nose on the face of a clown in the woods, and not a very nice clown.
But timing is everything.
The one thing you don’t do is snicker in the men’s room as you walk by by another guy doing his business. Verboten. Not cool, Bro.
But I couldn’t help myself. On a bathroom break between author sessions and book-signings, I walked by a guy wearing a T-shirt with the capital letters, W W R D, beneath which was written, “What Would Raylan Do?”
If you’re not familiar with the TV series “Justified,” a series based on the books by Elmore Leonard, you may not know who Raylan is. But I did. I knew exactly who Raylan was, and I snickered. It was clever, and maybe the perfect shirt to wear to a mystery writer’s conference. And I couldn’t help myself, but my snicker outpaced my Guy Code recall.
The dude hit me up outside the restroom, reminding me of my Guy Code violation. I acknowledged in authorized Guy Code body language (close eyes; nod with sheepish grin). Before I was able to ask where I could get a T-shirt from this generous, self-creative, in-your-face keeper of the Guy Code, I had to do some quick calculations.
He was a big guy, and the real question was not, What Would Raylan Do? The question was what this big guy would do for my Guy Code violation. Fortunately, the big guy turned out to be Dana King. PI, mystery writer and, of course, Elmore Leonard fan.
Lesson learned? If you’re a writer, and you haven’t read Elmore Leonard, do yourself and favor pick up one of his books. Then go grab one of Dana’s.
Oh, one more thing. If you’re a guy,and you walk by another guy in the bathroom doing his business, remember the Guy Code. You might not be as lucky as I was.
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