Vegas Stories part two–why you shouldn’t swear.

JanetteSpeakingAs an author, I love to hear other author’s bad school visit stories. I’m not sure why. I’ve never had any truly bad visits myself. Most of my visits are great. Some are really touching and I’ll remember those kids forever. And yet, I still love to hear other authors bad visits.  For example, Barry Lyga came to an Arizona school in July and the air conditioning wasn’t working that day. Those of you who have ever been to Arizona in July can imagine poor Barry up in front of kids in 118 degrees. (One wonders why the school didn’t just cancel classes that day.)

Barry told me that he knew he’d be sweating so he kept his suit jacket coat on to hide the sweat stains. After the presentation he realized the sweat had soaked through his suit and he had giant pit stains down his sides. As a friend, I thought the story was hilarious. In that same vein of schadenfreude, I decided to share an author visit story I heard from one of the authors in Vegas.

As I’m not sure the author wants me to pass along this story in conjunction with her name, I’ll just call her Author X.

Author X was told that the festival didn’t have enough authors speaking to elementary kids and could she go there? Her books were mostly YA but she did have a couple of younger books, so she agreed.

When she went to the school, she was shown into an auditorium of approximately 150-200 first and second graders. This would be a wriggling-hard-to-keep-focused group to begin with, and she was to speak for two hour long sessions. Then they told her the microphone had stopped working, so could she just yell her presentation?

Author X agreed because she didn’t want the kids to be disappointed.

(My voice would have given out after ten minutes.)

So she’s up in front of the auditorium yelling out her presentation and she accidentally says a swear word.  She describes her heroine as kick-(a word that will get my blog blocked) at math. The kids eyes in the first few rows grow wide. At that point, what can she do? Apologizing will just draw attention to the word and she’s hoping the kids in the back didn’t hear her. Still, she can’t look at any of the teachers in the eye again because she knows they will be glaring at her. For the remainder of her visit all she can think about is the fact that hundreds of little children will go home and tell their parents, “Guess what Author X said at school today?”

I laughed and laughed when I heard this story. That’s the kind of friend I am.


  1. Tiana Smith
    November 22, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    Ha ha ha. Kids will repeat anything too – another reason I’m glad I don’t swear. My two year old started saying “Oh coconuts!” today (from the t.v. show Jake and the Neverland Pirates–I should probably limit his viewing time…) and I can imagine that if I swore, he’d repeat it with glee. Those kids in the auditorium will probably all go home and their parents will wonder where they learned that from 🙂

    • Janette Rallison
      November 22, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      Kids will rat you out every time. I have five of these creatures, so you would think I would have learned never to say anything around any of them that could come back to bite me in the (word that will get my blog blocked), but no. I still have had my share of embarrassing moments. But that’s another blog.

  2. Heather Justesen
    November 23, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    Whoops! Yeah, that would be embarrassing. Bad enough that she had to yell. I presented once when my microphone kept going out and had to project to the back of the amphitheater-style area. But it wasn’t 200 kids, and they weren’t *that* far away. Still, not terrific.

    • Janette Rallison
      November 23, 2013 at 9:26 pm

      I’ve lost my voice during the last session when I didn’t have a microphone. I don’t know how teachers do it. They must have voice boxes of steel.

  3. julie wright
    November 23, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    This is seriously one of my biggest fears while doing school visits.

  4. Janette Rallison
    November 23, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    I don’t swear, but I’m still afraid it will happen to me. I mean, I’m continually telling people that the post topped, er, toast popped.

  5. Beedubbs
    November 25, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Oh…that’s too…funny! (out of breath from laughing)
    This is another reason why I am glad I don’t swear. But it’s really sad. My little sisters tell me that they have kids in their grades that are even at ‘F’ word status.

    And these kids are, like, only eight to twelve! DEPRESSION. And the worst part is that there isn’t really anything that can be done about it.

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