Perhaps the title of Justin Halpern’s new book is what most male adolescents have thought at times during the awkward, uncomfortable, mistake-prone and acne-dominated eternity that mercifully becomes adulthood: “I Suck at Girls.”
This is Halpern’s second book, following the immensely popular “Sh*t My Dad Says” (2010) that spent 50 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, including 11 weeks at No. 1. Total sales: 1.2 million copies.
That book was a collection of the profane-filled quips and advice Halpern collected growing up in his Point Loma home.
This time, Halpern’s dad is involved while Halpern shares a multitude of embarrassing moments and events from his life while attempting to win the favor of the fairer sex. Some of these involve PLHS school dances.
“I wasn’t very self-confident, so I ended up getting myself into situations that were pretty embarrassing,” Halpern said.
He is confident, though, about coming home this weekend for a book signing on the Pointer campus, part of a three-week, 13-city grind, which also involves TV and radio appearances.
Halpern will be in the PLHS gym, located on Chatsworth Blvd., at
6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 19. The event is sponsored by Warwick’s Books of La Jolla, who will provide a substantial supply of copies for purchase.
Early reviews of the book have been enthusiastic, with Publishers Weekly calling it “a terrifically entertaining memoir that begs for a turn on the screen.” Indeed, Halpern has already sold the rights.
For the first time in years, Halpern returned to the Pointer campus recently to speak with local media members. He said he was thrilled when presented with a 1998 annual.
Clearly, he doesn’t take himself too seriously.
“I was not a really engaged student,” Halpern said with a chuckle, “so I don’t think I took advantage of all the school had to offer. I was a wallflower.”
Sports — the baseball mound in particular — is where Halpern found his identity at PLHS.
His favorite memory was “when we beat Eastlake (High School from Chula Vista) in a CIF playoff game,” Halpern recalled. “They had Adrian Gonzalez and all these great players. It was a really amazing game, and I came in to close it out.”
Another highlight for Halpern came when, as a senior, he pitched a no-hitter against San Diego High.
“I got CIF Player of the Week,” laughed Halpern.
Baseball, he said, was the extent of Halpern’s school experience.
He remembers “big class sizes and a campus where it was easy to get lost or fall through the cracks,” describing how he and friends sometimes enjoyed lunch periods as long as three hours when an “open-campus” policy was in effect.
Not surprisingly, Halpern had no difficulty recalling a favorite prank.
“They were trying to promote this soft drink on campus called Surge, and they handed out keychains to all the kids with a button (making a voice) yell ‘Surge!’” he recalled. “So, of course, we took them to our Spanish class and put them under the chair legs all over the room. When the teacher walked in, there were like 20 voices yelling ‘Surge!’ and it drove her absolutely insane! She couldn’t even teach the class while she was running around the room looking for the keychains and screaming at us.”
Prom was a disaster for Halpern, he said.
“I went with my friend’s ex-girlfriend, and ended up drunk and alone sitting in front of the Bali Hai,” although the event was at a downtown hotel.
His life apparently improved, however.
Halpern is now married.