Friday, June 17, 2011

Read about Author Mary Monroe's most embarassing moment

Things happen to me that you would expect to happen only on an episode of Saturday Night Live or I Love Lucy. I taught myself to drive when I was nineteen, and I was not a very good teacher. On the first day; I knocked over a mailbox, sideswiped a tree, and I jumped the curb in front of a church during a funeral procession and almost mowed down grieving mourners. A few days later, I stopped my stepfather’s old jalopy so abruptly, in a McDonald’s parking lot, that my Afro wig flew off my head and out my window. It landed in the car next to me which happened to be occupied by a bunch of rowdy boys from my neighborhood. They kept my wig and drove off, laughing like hyenas. I had to cover my head with a brown paper bag.

A few months later I got engaged. My parents were fairly poor so I had to pay for my wedding ensemble. Being on a budget, I visited a yard sale where I found a pair of black pumps for fifty cents. The previous owner had scribbled the price with a red marker on the bottom of each shoe. During my wedding reception, as I sat on my new husband’s lap with my feet dangling in the air, I noticed a few guests staring at my feet and snickering. It wasn’t until the next day that I realized why. They had seen the soles of my shoes and the price that I had paid for them.

A couple of years later after my marriage had failed; I decided to try my luck in a new location. I traveled from Ohio to California on a Greyhound bus. My mother had given each of my two toddlers a battery-operated toothbrush. One worked fine. It made a buzzing noise when it was turned on. The other one made a noise that was more like the tick tock of a cheap clock. During a stopover in Chicago to transfer to a different bus, I took my kids to a restaurant in the terminal. When we returned to the departure area, there was a huge commotion. I squeezed through the crowd and saw men in SWAT-like uniforms with rifles hovering over a suitcase sitting on the floor by itself. “They think it’s a bomb!” someone yelled. I knew that there was no bomb in the suitcase because the suitcase was mine. The toothbrush that made the tick tock noise that sounded like a bomb, had turned on by itself. The baggage handler had heard it and alerted the authorities.

Shortly after my move to California, I landed a clerical job at Bechtel Corporation in downtown San Francisco where I received my first chain letter. It informed me that if I didn’t send copies of it to ten people I was going to suffer. I didn’t know the names and addresses of ten people yet so I randomly selected ten out of the company telephone book. How was I to know who George P. Shultz was? How was I to know that in a few years he would go to work in the White House? I sent him the chain letter through inter-office mail. One of his grim-faced assistants promptly paid me a visit.

Several years later on a date with a new guy, I got sick in his car. I vomited all over the white interior of his new Buick. It was not a pretty sight. Earlier that day I had eaten green beans, pig ears, macaroni and cheese, and cornbread. And at the bar that my date had taken me to, I’d consumed several glasses of red wine. When the car stopped, I opened my door, leaned out and vomited again. Not only did I throw up the rest of my dinner and drinks, but the bridgework that contained my four front teeth shot out of my mouth too! My horrified date had to help me scramble around on the ground to locate my teeth. I never heard from that man again.

To make myself feel better, a few days later I went on a shopping spree at K Mart with my credit card. Back then when a card got declined, the merchant had to look up its number in a huge book that listed cards that had exceeded their credit limit or fallen behind in payments. If the card was listed, the merchant cut it in half and kept it. With a smirk, the cashier produced a pair of scissors and destroyed my MasterCard. I slunk away so fast I collided with a shopping cart and fell. I hit the floor so hard, my wig slid off my head. The long line of patrons behind me had remained silent during my credit card fiasco, but when my wig fell off, they roared with laughter.

I got a new credit card and exceeded my credit limit again. I found out during a book signing. My first novel The Upper Room had just been published. Just before I began to sign copies for a fairly large crowd, I grabbed a copy of Sidney Sheldon’s new novel. My host had seated me near the cash register so I handed the clerk the book and my credit card.

I almost fainted when the clerk (the same woman who had given me such a glowing introduction) whispered in my ear the last words I wanted to hear. My new credit card was on the hit list so she had to cut it in half—right in front of my fans!

One of my friends recently told me that because of all the weird things that happen to me, she was surprised that I was still alive. I told her that I was just as surprised as she was…

About the Author
Mary Monroe
is the author of the award-winning and The New York Times bestselling God Series, which includes God Don’t Like Ugly and God Ain’t Blind. The winner of the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award, Mary Monroe currently lives in Oakland, California. Meet author Mary Monroe as she travels across the nation discussing Mama Ruby and her literary journey:

Mama Ruby by Mary Monroe
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 0758238614
ISBN-13: 978-0758238610
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