My Face Was Redder than My Hair
Have you ever done something so out of character, that you shocked the living daylights out of yourself? Well, let me assure you that such an experience is a bit like eating your own gizzard without catsup. Before I get into the back story, let me say that it’s my nature to be on time. Always. In fact, I’m usually early, just be sure. (I’m sort of a belt and suspenders kind of gal.) If someone had told me that I’d be late for a speaking engagement, I’d have laughed at the absurdity. Couldn’t happen.
I spent the last week of April looking forward to speaking at OWFI (Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc.) on May 7. I had been invited to join Pat Browning, another published author, to answer questions about selling books on Kindle. Each of us has a book on Amazon Kindle’s cozy mystery bestseller lists. (There are several such lists.) I was most eager to share this wonderful and surprising new way to sell books and earn money by writing. The prospect of making enough money with my book royalties was heady stuff to me, and I wanted all my friends to do the same. Dan Case, my publisher, was to chair the panel.
Talk about preparing! I researched, I made notes, and I spent money on handout copies! I intended to be sooooo ready. Our panel was scheduled in the last time slot on Saturday afternoon. For energy, I ate a healthy lunch, veggies and chicken salad, then excused myself to go to my suite and review my notes.
The Plot Thickens
As soon as I entered the darkened bedroom, I realized my energy was lagging and decided to lie down for a few minutes. No need to worry about falling asleep; sleep always eludes me, and most nights I lie awake for hours counting sheep. To be comfy, I slipped off my linen slacks, put on pajama bottoms, and took the “flipper” out of my mouth. (A flipper is the gizmo the dentist gives to use for pretend teeth. This is to give my jaw time heal, in order to permanently implant teeth. Mine fits across the front bottom of my mouth, so no one knows that I’m toothless at present.) Then I stretched out on the bed.
(Imagine a space-mark here.)
Suddenly the phone rang and Linda Apple, Conference Chair, was on the line. (Now please understand, Linda is one of those perfect women, who does everything right and never ever stubs her toe. We’d all hate her if she wasn’t so nice. Not only is she perfect and pretty, she also has the energy of a teenager.)
“The meeting has started,” Linda said.
Meeting? What meeting? I blinked hard to clear sleep from my brain, then morphed into a surreal panic. Oh crap! THE meeting. The event I’d been looking forward to for days.
“I’m coming,” I said, jumping to my feet.
I flew around the room putting on shoes, glancing into the mirror to make sure my hair wasn’t standing straight up, grabbed my handouts and purse and raced down to the meeting. I made my apologies and answered Dan’s questions. I think. The truth is; I can’t remember one thing that I said. I hope to goodness that I said a few things about how to sell books on Kindle.
What I do remember is slipping my tongue into a blank spot where my front bottom teeth are supposed to be. I’d forgotten that wretched flipper! Here I was—in front of about 50 very talented writers, some of them quite famous—a toothless hag! Talk about your worst nightmare. (I’m vain when it comes to having front teeth!) I was horrified, but there was nothing I could do, except keep talking…and smiling.
Oh the shame of a toothless smile!
It’s amazing what a person can live through without sinking straight through the floor and dying from embarrassment. My loyal friend and coauthor to our Foxy Hens series, Peggy Fielding, did her best to help me feel better.
“I didn’t even notice your missing teeth,” she lied.
This is our spooky mystery
Darling Peggy. Kind folks (and most writers are kind hearted, I’ve discovered) came up afterwards and said nice things about the panel. (God bless each of them.)
FYI: Pat showed up on time, and with all of her teeth.
I Did Survive
One thing I will say in my own defense. I managed to shimmy out of my pajama bottoms and pull on honest to goodness slacks. Not too bad for a gal who has been known to run to the grocery store in her jammies.
If any of you would like to share your own most embarrassing moment, I’d love to know that I have fellow sufferers.
Jackie King and Peggy Fielding OWFI 2011