Sometimes I have brushes with fame.
I’m pretty sure most people do, but they don’t notice it because they don’t pay attention to the people around them as well as I do.
That’s not a slam – certain people would make better witnesses and I’m one of them.
Back in the late 80s, there was a little movie about Jerry Lee Lewis called Great Balls of Fire, which I happened to have seen and loved. I also met Mr. Lewis when I was a child, but that’s a whole other story.
Also in the late 80s, I worked at the Atlanta Journal & Constitution as a production assistant.
Many of the real estate customers I had to deal with were pre-pay accounts for their display ads, and not getting their money upfront was a fireable offense. I made it my business to get that money.
Of course they wanted their ads in the Sunday Homefinder, but the deadline was Thursday at 5:00, firm.
At about 4:15, a Mrs. Williams called me and told me her ad had to run in the Sunday paper. I ran around and got everything together and called her back and told her she’d need to drive that check down or call in a credit card.
And then things became difficult.
Because I pay attention to details and I watch movies all the way through the credits and I have a mind like a steel trap, I knew who I was talking to, but I wasn’t touching it with a ten-foot pole.
I’d been on the phone with her, working on other ads that were legal to run ready to be released, for a good fifteen minutes.
She got loud, telling me that ad jolly well better run, or I would face Dire Consequences.
Now. I do not yell. I can count on one hand the number of times I have raised my voice in the last twenty years (aside from at sporting events). I was as kind and gentle as I could be, explaining that I would be fired if I ran that ad without the money in hand.
She just snapped and started shrieking at me.
“Now you listen to me! Do you know who I am divorced from?!!”
And then all bets were off.
I responded mildly, “Yes, ma’am, I do, and if Jerry Lee Lewis comes down here with a check for $25oo in the next half hour, that ad will be in Sunday’s paper.”
You have never heard a woman use words like that woman did right then. I very nearly asked her what she ate with that mouth.