Thursday morning, I was clearing off my desk when my phone rang. The second ring revealed the callers identity. I recognized the name of the coordinator of a women’s lunch I was scheduled to attend on Friday.
“Teena, we have a problem.”
“It’s in the paper.”
“What’s in the paper?”
“You are doing a book signing at the club. Did you put it in the paper?”
“No. I don’t know how it got in the paper. Can I ask why it’s problem?”
“President Bush visited the club and the place was mobbed. Now they have a rule that events cannot be publicized.”
The absurdity of my presence creating a mob at a private club made me giggle. “No worries,” I said. “My presence will not create a mob.”
“They are threatening to cancel the lunch,” she said.
That statement put an abrupt halt to my laughter.
“Do you know who would have put it in the paper?
My mind raced for an answer. “It must have been my publisher. I send them my schedule. Their marketing department sends announcements about any event I attend to area media. But this is the first time a media outlet published anything.”
I called my marketing representative to inquire if he knew who put the forbidden information in the paper. “We send announcements, but they don’t tell us if they use what we send.” I explained the dire consequences of obtaining a little publicity. He chuckled, “Most people welcome a little publicity. Teena, throw me under the bus. Tell them I did it without your permission.”
I called the event coordinator to explain what happened and asked for the name of the journalist who wrote the column that included the forbidden information. A few clicks of the mouse and I had the journalist phone number. I explained the situation and asked if the forbidden information would run in Friday’s paper. She chuckled, “Most people welcome a little publicity.” To my relief, her column only ran on Wednesdays.
I found it ironic that the first time someone published five lines about me, it created a near disaster. More phone calls and a letter of permission cleared the way to have the lunch with Finding Faith in the City Care Forgot present averting the disaster. I have learned my lesson. If I am ever invited to a private club again, no one will know including my publisher.