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    From the e-mails I received, I know that many of you enjoyed the stories of my mishaps on radio and television. So, I will continue to share some of the weird encounters I had promoting my books, but this time, in front of live audiences—-while on the speakers circuit.

    Sometimes my co-author, Lynne and I were hired as a team, and sometimes I was on my own. Usually, we were keynote speakers at large banquets. That is the reason I detest meetings. I don’t just detest them—-I hate them! As a keynote speaker, it often meant sitting through minutes of the last meeting, and suffering through award presentations given to people I did not know. And, the worst part was that I had to look interested, because I was sitting on a dais facing an audience.

    The meeting that is forever burned into my memory was when a woman was presented an award for being the employee of the year. Lynne and I were facing the audience, as she sauntered behind us on her way to the microphone. Unfortunately, she suffered from extreme flatulence, and as she marched in slow time behind us, she provided her own drum roll all the way to the mic.

    We didn’t dare laugh, and of course the audience had no idea of what was going on. After her emotional acceptance speech, she once again passed behind us, and passed, and passed, and passed. Luckily, we had given the Master of Ceremonies  a funny introduction to our speech, so we could finally burst out laughing. We had learned from Ann Landers, “Always give the person introducing you a written introduction, so they won’t drone on and on.”

    Then there was a convention meeting held in Tampa, Florida. We arrived, after a prolonged cocktail hour, and everything we said (including “Hello”) was hilarious. We noticed that the hotel banquet room was darker than usual, so we couldn’t see the audience, since the lights were in our eyes, but luckily, we were up on a stage where the they couldn’t get to us.  After all a crowd can get hostile if they stop laughing.

    Things went swimmingly well—too well.  I noticed that my feet were wet. I looked down and saw that Lynne and I were standing in a puddle of water which was coming from behind the stage. Either someone had left a toilet running or a pipe broke.  I whispered to her, “Don’t touch the mic!” The pay was good, but not good enough to get electrocuted.  Finally, the water stopped running, and, just as we were coming to the end of our talk, a janitor came on stage with a bucket.  I said, “Guess, it’s time to mop this up.” The audience thought it was part of the act and we got a standing ovation.

    I could tell you about the time that the house was full, and a busload of senior citizens were seated in the wings. They really enjoyed our talk.  As a matter of fact, a man laughed so hard that his teeth blew onto the stage.  He got up, walked onto the stage, popped his teeth back into his mouth and took a bow.

    And then there was the time that our publicist booked us into a club to do a stand-up routine to promote our book, “In-laws , Outlaws and Other Theories of Relativity.” The comic who owned the club introduced us by turning his back to the audience and dropping his pants.
    That’s one way to crack up an audience.

    We bombed, but I survived to tell you the tale. Yes—-there are more—-perhaps for another day.

    Esther Blumenfeld

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