By Ad Hudler
Things happen to me … things that don't happen to other people, and many of them have occurred during book tours and at reading festivals.
Once, in a Florida bookstore, I was signing copies of my novel "Southern Living" when a very-drunk woman leaned down as if to whisper something in my ear, and she stuck out her tongue and licked the entire side of my face, from chin to temple.
Now, I have a smooth, bald head, and I can see how it might look like a huge lollipop to someone who's had 5 cosmos, but I can certainly tell you there are plenty of other things that taste better than my salty skin. (Incidentally, two years later I would join a friend at a neighborhood bar's Ladies Night, and a similar incident would occur. A woman pulled me down in the same manner, as if to whisper something in my ear … and she bit my face! Not a little nibble. Oh, no, she opened wide and tried to take a chunk of me, just as someone bites into an apple. I bled. I bruised. I fled, and I never went back.) Consequently, I guard my head very carefully these days.
One time at a book-launch party in my hometown of Fort Myers, my mom came up to me and, pointing over to the food table – adorned with salmon and capers and expensive crackers – she asked, "Do you know those people? Are they supposed to be here?"
They were two homeless folks, dirty and dressed in ragged clothes, who just happened to stop by and see the vittles and decide to help themselves.
I walked over. "Excuse me," I said. "But this is a private party."
"It sure is!" the woman said. "Look at this great food."
"Yes, ma'am," I replied. "This is my party, and that's my food you're eating. And I'm afraid you'll have to leave."
"Well!" she exclaimed. "You're not being a very good host!"
At one book signing in North Carolina, I had only four people show up to see me. "I'll make a deal with you guys," I said. "Each of you buy a book, and I'll take you all out for drinks." That night, we closed down the Ruby Tuesdays. It was late when we finished, so I walked one of the ladies to her car. When we got there – and maybe I'm imagining this – she started leaning into me … and, fearing for my lollipop head, I quickly bid her good night and dashed away to safety.
But perhaps the oddest event occurred this past fall, when I was touring with my novel, "Man of the House." To match the theme of the book, I wore work boots, jeans and a tool belt stuffed with a mix of male and female stuff – feather duster, banana, hammer, screwdriver, wooden spoon (you can see it on the homepage of AdHudler.com) – and people honestly mistook me for the janitor. At the Gwinnett Reading Festival in suburban Atlanta, a volunteer came up and said, "There's a table that needs moved in Room 35. Can you get that, please?"
Caught off guard with nothing to say, I went to Room 35 and moved the table.
Then, someone came up and said, "There's a big mess in one of the stalls in the bathroom. You might want to check it out."
I'm a congenial fellow, but I have my limits. Request denied.
Catch Ad Hudler's popular, irreverent blog at AdHudler.com. His newest book, Man of the House, was called "required reading" by The New York Post. He shaves his head twice a week and on nights when he has a date with his wife.