The Time Stephen King Was Asked For An Autograph While Sitting On The Toilet

For over half a century, renowned novelist Stephen King has lived up to his namesake as the unrivaled king of horror fiction. According to DW, the "Misery" author has sold no less than 400 million copies of his books worldwide and remains the highest grossing and most successful writer of horror to date. IMDb also reports that some 50 or so films have been adapted from his writings. King sports a vast arsenal of bloody literary progenies and a lifetime of achievement that most writers would kill to call their own. However, he wasn't always the household name that he's become. 

Once upon a time, Stephen King was little more than a budding writer who few people knew anything about. With the exception of a few novels and a limited fanbase, he didn't have much to boast about. However, when visiting Pittsburgh during a book tour promoting "The Shining," the faint light of stardom presented itself in the form of a situation that most people would deem a horror story in and of itself (via List Verse). 

Stephen King's gotta go

Let's start at the beginning. According to List Verse, it was sometime during the 1970s when King, who was in his mid-20s at the time, stopped through Pittsburg while on tour to promote "The Shining." The day consisted of a series of television and radio interviews that one might say "exhausted the crap" out of him (you'll get that pun in a minute). Finally, the long slew of discussions and promotions concluded itself, and the young writer was famished. He and a group of others congregated at a popular restaurant in the city to dine together and review the day. Then, out of nowhere, terror struck.

Listen, when you've gotta go, you've gotta go. We all know that. At one point during the meal, King reportedly came down with an upset stomach and excused himself to visit the facilities. He quickly found the bathroom and, after passing by a friendly bathroom attendant who motioned him in the direction of the stalls, selected a suitable porcelain throne upon which to perch himself (per List Verse). It's a good thing Pennywise the clown wasn't lurking around the Pittsburgh sewers that day, eh? 

King gives his first autograph on the toilet

Remember that really tense part in "The Shining" when Jack Nicholson and that weird hotel waiter share a disturbing moment of morbid conversation in the bathroom? Well, it wasn't quite like that, but King and the aforementioned bathroom attendant who was kind enough to assist him did indeed share a moment that night. According to List Verse, the author remembers the restroom's caretaker looking like he was "108 years old," and despite the fact that he was pleasant enough, the stalls didn't have doors on them, so his presence wasn't exactly welcome right then and there. Still, King had a duty to perform, so he carried on and did his best to ignore the fact that he was a little too exposed for comfort. 

Then, as if out of an actual horror movie, the rickety old man peered around the corner of the stall and observed the author as he was engaged in something that nobody wants to ever be observed doing. However, the man redeemed himself and managed to justify his intrusion when he queried, "Aren't you Stephen King?" King, who was wildly caught off guard, observed a pen and a small notepad in the fellow's hands. "I saw you on AM Pittsburgh. Can I have your autograph?" he continued. Far be it from an up-and-coming author to deny a fan an autograph, especially when you've never even been asked for one before. Graciously, King obliged.