Lauderdale-by-the-Sea has an annual event called ‘Storyteller Night’, where local residents are asked to tell a story from their pasts. The stories can be true or made up and can be funny, sad or inspirational.
I saw it as a chance to sell a few copies of my book ‘The Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Anthology’ which is in fact a collection of short funny, sad and inspirational stories.
Rehearsal night was on Thursday where the host of the show introduced the storytellers and we each told an eight minute story. Ten storytellers were chosen, I was one of them, and we were instructed to appear on the following Wednesday for the ‘live’ performance.
I asked where I could set up a place to sell my books and was told that selling books or anything else was not allowed on Town Hall property.
I was crushed. My only motivation to participate was to sell books. I decided right then and there that I wouldn’t bother to attend. But when Wednesday came around I did the right thing and showed up to tell my story. I had received permission to give out business cards and to provide the information to the audience as to where they could but my book. It was satisfactory compromise.
The audience had been bused in from several assisted living establishments and old folk’s homes. Of the eighty attendees half were in wheelchairs, all were partially deaf and many had no idea where they were, or even cared where they were. I was storyteller number nine out of ten, and with few exceptions the audience was asleep or bored to death. When I finished my story there was a very limited amount of polite applause, mostly from the other storytellers.
I had a prepared thirty second commercial to announce, so I plunged right ahead saying,
“If you enjoyed my story you can read many more just like it in my latest book The Lauderdale-by-the Sea Anthology. It is available online at Amazon.com.”
As soon as the words were out of my mouth I knew that nobody would go online to buy it and most of the audience had no idea what I meant, but I continued on, “if you would like to talk with me after the show is finished I will give you a link!”
There was a moment of silence that was broken by a single very loud male voice telling this news to his wife, “He’s gonna give us a link.”
I think he thought he was going to receive a free gift of some kind.
The wife responded in an equally loud voice that resonated throughout the auditorium by asking, “What the fuck is a link?”
It was the funniest moment of the whole evening. I still chuckle to myself whenever I think about it.