***Be forewarned–This post is a little risque but what happened on this night was never intentional (“Oh, sure,” some of you say.) Seriously, my blunder turned out to be hysterical. Then again, I had a great audience.
I’ve really gotten to love it–going in front of groups and talking about topics I’m passionate about. And there’s nothing I’m more passionate about than being at war with breast cancer. Why? I’m one of the survivors, ten years out, and I never forget how fortunate I am.
Because they know my warrior spirit, the owners of the Beauty Lounge at Magnolia Salon, in Cranston, Rhode Island, asked me to speak at their gala charity event, “We Care from Behind the Chair,” as they do their part to “Knock Out Breast Cancer.” It’s an annual event for them to raise money for the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
And because it‘s a worthy cause, I said “Yes.”
I arrived at 6:45 PM to a sea of pink balloons festooning the wrought-iron rails of the outer deck. The whole place was lit up in pink. The theme continued inside, where tiers of pink cupcakes sat on tables joined by hors d‘oeuvres, strawberry punch, and a pink Cinderella cake (donation of a customer.) Two giant vases filled with gigantic pink roses adorned another table (I’ve featured one above.)
Co-owner Christine Hilaire introduced me as featured guest speaker and I strode to the front of the audience which stood all about. In front of me were many young people (some in the 8-12 age group), smart young women dressed snazzy for the event, as well as grandmotherly types, like me.
Many of the older women had had breast cancer.
As I spoke, they nodded their agreement to the fear one feels upon diagnosis. I spoke of the hope I found everywhere from Rhode Island Hospital to Dana Farber where I went for a second opinion (I met women there who were at stage 4 in the process, but ‘doing well.’) I told them a verdict of breast cancer is not the Death Sentence it was once. I gave them some tips, too (like “Never go to a mammogram appointment alone but bring a trusted friend.”)
What was the singular moment? Well, I launched into my talk explaining that I’d been asked to speak because I knew one of the stylists–in fact, I’ve gone to her for years. Yes, Donna Simonelli does my hair, but I admitted that on that particular night I couldn’t give her credit, for I‘d done my hair myself (I held up a limp strand to prove it). They chuckled.
I then admitted: “I can never do it the way Donna does a blowjob.”
The room turned dead-silent and jaws dropped. It was then I realized what I’d said.
Now, I’d I meant to say “the way Donna does the job of blow-drying my hair.” I’d just shortened the phrase and melded the words…but I never intended the consequence.
Suddenly, I heard the lone male hairstylist burst out laughing from the back (“Thank you, sir.”) He was first. Snickers followed and then, outright pandemonium… when all learned of my ‘mistake.’ As I sought to correct, everyone laughed even more which made the entire episode even funnier.
My word mix-up had turned into a major coup.
From that point on, I ‘had them.’ I continued on with my talk. We laughed often…We had fun while I peppered my talk with the real information I wanted to impart.
I told them I’d soon be talking to medical audiences about our patients’ needs whereby I try to bridge understanding between doctor and patient. But frankly I’m not sure I’ll ever have as much fun as I did with this group who could take a blunder on my part and turn it into a real success.
Now, enjoy the pictures of a Pink Night of Promise and Hope.
Interested in Colleen Kelly Mellor (Biddy Bytes) speaking at your event? Please connect via this website or go to www.colleenkellymellor.com. I promise I’ll keep it “clean.”
***Click here for Colleen Kelly Mellor’s story about her own diagnosis of breast cancer: “I Got the News All Women Dread” (forgive the highlighted key words–I had to take it off the internet.)
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