Wednesday, 24 March 2010

This Day In LWOT History

March 24, 1982

The world celebrates the inaugural "Hug a Writer Day."

Former LWOT editor Gradey Alexander started the semi-holiday as a way to annoy his rival Mordecai Richler in the hope Richler's fans would interrupt the celebrated story teller's lunch at Schwartz's Deli. Alexander also hoped to disrupt the famous delicatessen's lunch service after they banned him because of an altercation during which he flung a seven inch sliced pickle at Richler's autographed picture.

The plan backfired when a group of rabid Kensington Market fans gathered outside the LWOT office where they waited for the chance to hug Alexander on his way home from work. Alexander thwarted their attempts and slept in his office on several stacks of the magazine's back issues which he fashioned into a make shift bed.

"Surely these women, comely as they are, could find some other poor soul to torment. O'Groussny never had to deal with this foolishness and he was famous for his taste in women," Alexander said after the women left, although he never elaborated on what he meant about his predecessor's taste in women.

Once news of the stakeout spread it became an annual tradition as fans made the pilgrimage to Moncton, making Hug a Writer Day the busiest of the year for local eatery Boomerang's Steakhouse. It also lead to LWOT staffers dubbing Alexander "The Bloomin' Onion" behind his back in honour of the stake house's signature dish.

The botched plan is also thought by some to be the reason behind Alexander's reclusive tendencies and his move to Whitehorse, Yukon, although the occasional fan still manages to track him down in the hopes of giving him a hug. Despite his distaste for what the day has become and his best efforts to stop it, thousands still celebrate by wrapping their arms around their favourite writers every March 24.

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