The Perils of Tightrope Walking

I’m not sure if you’ve seen the movie The Walk. If not, you really should. It’s a fictionalized account of the life of the guy who walked on a tightrope between the Twin Towers. It’s a really inspiring flick – entertaining, to boot!

My favorite character in the film is Papa Rudy. Papa Rudy is Phillipe Petit’s mentor. He’s a wise, old circus hand who knows all the ins and outs of tightrope walking. One day, while observing Petit (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) almost fall just a few steps from the safety of the platform – on the far side of his walk (it’s a training session, under the Big Top) – he pulls him aside and Papa Rudy tells Petit (still played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) that most wire-walkers fall just three steps from their intended goal. And they fall because they believe they’ve made it and can therefore let their concentration lapse.

Why do I bring this up? Well, first, there was a time when I tried to get my friends and family to call me ‘Papa Rudy.’ But they wouldn’t do it. Everyone just kept telling me to go f*** myself. Second, it touches on my DIY mentality as far as getting books out on the market. For even though I work with a top-flight independent press (Flat Sole Studio, out of St. Paul, MN), I’m responsible for all the editing that goes into my books. And this time around, with Comedy Album, an error (a typo) was missed just steps from my goal. It’s since been corrected and only 100+ copies of the book will be printed with this typo intact. But, just as Papa Rudy warned, I let my guard down. Forgive me, Papa Rudy!

I won’t tell you what or where the error is, but I will tell you that these copies will likely be worth a lot more than the books without this error. Whereas corrected copies of Comedy Album will one day likely settle out at $1 per copy (at garage sales and such), the version with this typo will likely go for $1.25. Maybe even $1.50. It’s a lot like that stamp that was printed upside down all those years ago. The retail price of that stamp was $.24 cents! Now it’s worth an estimated $1.59 million dollars!! In the words of Yakov Smirnov, “What a country.”

Published by Dan Hendrickson - Writer

A comic, screenwriter and poet, I grew up in Northwest Minnesota. Years later, I earned my MFA in Creative Writing from Hamline University in St. Paul. I've been a guest on KFAI’s Write On! Radio and Prairie Public Radio’s Main Street. I have a new book out called Comedy Album. If you wished to do so, you could buy it.

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