Stop the Presses column by Chris Graham

I spent my weekend watching the fine-arts auction on the local public-TV station.

I think this officially makes me an old guy now.

And here’s the catch – I didn’t buy anything.

(If we needed confirmation as to my old-guy status, well …)

It wasn’t for lack of trying that I ended up empty-handed, of course.

“I’m willing to go to … $35,” I remember telling the volunteer on the other end of the line,

The piece that I was trying to get featured a view of The Rotunda at the University of Virginia.

I had entered the bidding at $20 – seven dollars more than the previous bid of $13.

I must have caught the attention of somebody.

“It’s at $21 now, sir,” the volunteer intoned.

“OK, I’ll do $25,” I replied.

This went on for a while – until things got too rich for my blood.

(Though actually, I probably should admit that I took it to $45 before dropping out of the bidding.)

This was my weekend, ladies and germs.

(Yes, life does get so much more enriching after 30.)

I tried to get another piece later on – a painting of some irises entitled, I believe, “Irises.”

The bidding began at $9 – which had me salivating.

“I’ll get this for a song,” I said to myself, ironically in a sing-song.

I bid $12 – and then something funny happened on the way to the forum.

“Alright, I’m saying $30 – but I can’t do any more,” I caught myself saying moments later.

Before falling out of the running.

I felt jinxed.

I felt … like somebody out there was out to get me.

This came to mind when I tried to put a bid on two pieces that I just knew would be mine.

One was a postmodern piece that I decided would look good in my bedroom; the second was a set of teddy bears dressed up like they were on their way to get married.

Both were on the table for less than $10 each.

“I’d like to place a bid on …” I started to say, sensing success around the corner.

“Oh, I’m sorry. The bidding on this board has closed,” I was interrupted.

Leaving me … crestfallen.

The good news is that I think I can use this newfound interest in the arts to my home-decorating advantage.

Which leads me to this question – anybody know a good artist who does pen-and-ink drawings of dogs playing poker? I could use one to go in my family room.


Chris Graham’s Stop the Presses column appears on this blog on Tuesdays and Fridays. For more on Chris Graham’s humor columns and other fiction writing, visit


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