Our opener: "Is this Eric Weber? The author of How to Pick Up Girls?" (We figure a pickup artist would respond best to flattery.)
"It is," says he, "but that was from a different time, from a different place in my life. I don't really market that stuff much anymore. Now I write and direct movies.
"I never actually tried all those pickups," he goes on. "Though I did pick up my wife in a singles bar."
"It was 1965. It was very crowded, and she was trying to get past. She said, 'Excuse me,' and I didn't move. I said, 'You're too pretty for me to let you get away.' I thought she would vomit or hit me. But she didn't. She was very young and innocent. I told her New York was a tough town, and we got to talking. We'll be married 40 years on March 3. So I know that worked."
Here we can't resist telling Weber we particularly admired the art-museum pickup. In that one, Hank gets the girl and learns a little about art.
"Why are you reporters always looking for goodness?" Weber complains. "Why do people have to learn things? Men are really interested in meeting women and having sex. It consumes them. I feel for people who are shy. Now, if you want to make fun of me—"
"No, no," we protest. (Are we that obvious? That unsubtle? That...Weber-esque?)
"Well," he says, "I write serious fiction now. I write from the perspective of someone who feels inferior and inadequate. I know how injured people feel."
"Really?" (Truly fascinated.)
"A few years ago, I wrote and directed a movie, Second Best. Joe Pantoliano was in it, and Jennifer Tilly. It played at Sundance. You can get it on Netflix. If you really want to talk to me, you should watch it, and then call me back."
"Um, OK," we say.
"I'll tell you what," he says. "I'll give you my cell number. That way you can always find me."