Monday, February 20, 2012

Doodle Time with John Green

John Green is a cuddly PR machine. Recently he conceived a brilliant stunt for the release of The Fault in Our Stars: he promised to sign every copy of the first print run. That's 150,000 autographs.

Now, say you allot 2 seconds for each signature, that means John devoted 83.3 hours to just moving the pen. At 5 hours a day (who could do it longer without going mad?), he worked 16 days on it. Factor in unpacking the boxes, keeping stacks straight, searching for pens ("Are there any markers that aren't dry in this house?"), re-packing, mailing, meals, sleep, showers, a toddler, and a dog who needs walking, and it's more likely his rash promise consumed a month of his life. If I had tried this, it would have taken a decade. It's no wonder each individual result is a little disappointing:

I think that's right-side-up?

When our kids are bored, they play the Doodle Game with each other. One person makes a random scribble, and the other sees what coherent drawing he or she can turn it into. They do this even now that they're hulking young adults who swear like longshoremen. (I no longer have "kids" as much as best friends who expect me to do their laundry.)

So what was John going for with that effort? Perhaps if he'd had the time to give each autograph the loving care it deserved, these might have been the result:

Sally, painter and scholar.
Eric, comic artist. (Hint: you have to imagine that this copy of TFiOS is 332/150,000.)
Gene, composer/musician, doodle champion.
Lydia, genius teen animator, killjoy.

Of course, we can never be sure this is what John's artistic vision was. If you have your own ideas about how his autographs should be completed, let me know.


  1. Ha ha :) This is genius!

  2. Oh, you definitely need to send these to John if you haven't already.

  3. Two little things...

    1) I am hard pressed to imagine your kids being bored!

    2) I am your friend -- will you do my laundry?



  4. we had a show called Mr Squiggle in the 80s. It was the best...and it was just like this. Ace pictures... Upside down, upside down!

  5. John's facebook sent me! Haha... I love this.

  6. So fun! I assigned tons of students that task over the years. And YES - I hate handwriting, so after the first ten, my signature would have looked like this: >-

    Fun post! :)