I finished applying color to my lips and cheeks and looked closely, critically at myself in the mirror.  Not bad, I thought, in fact, I look pretty darn good.  No one is going to guess that I forgot my make-up case and—– but wait, let me start at the beginning

I’m the producer/director of Mystery On The menu, an interactive theater company I started in Washington DC in 1986  and, like most small business owners, I have to do a little bit of everything. I write, produce, direct and act in the plays (the fun part) , book shows, write contracts, figure payroll and taxes (the business part).and handle all of the publicity and public relations.  I  have an accountant and a lawyer but that’s for the big stuff, I do the everyday things all by myself.

Mystery on the Menu, MM for short,   performs at hotels, resorts, restaurants, cruise ships and, back in the nineties, aboard trains.  I chartered a private car on Amtrak and  presented the mystery show during the ride to and back from New York or Atlantic City.  We would murder someone (an actor) on the and figure out “whodunit” on the return trip.

You’re probably wondering what all this has to do with make-up.  Wair, I’m getting there.  Every business needs publicity, needs to become known, to attract clients; paying for effective advertising is expensive so when a local television station asked me to appear on their program I said yes immediately.

‘Here’s the thing,” the manager of the station said, “we’d like to film you on the train and the best time would be at 5:30 in the morning before the train leaves the station.  You don’t mind coming up to Baltimore do you?”

I lived in Washington DC so I had to get up at 4 am to get to Baltimore by 5:30.  It’s actually only a half hour car ride but I always allow extra time just in case of, well, in case of anything.   He named a date and I agreed even though it was the day after MM was doing a big, late night show .

“I don’t need much sleep,” I thought, “I’ll have everything ready so all I’ll have to do in the morning is get up, get dressed and go”

That’s just what I did.  I got up, grabbed a bagel, a thermos of coffee and my bag, jumped in my car and headed to Baltimore.  I didn’t do my hair or make-up; I figured that I’d have plenty of time for that when I got to the train station.

I arrived, parked my car, went into the ladies room, opened my cosmetic bag and found, not lip gloss,  mascara, foundation, brushes etc. but, starter pistols!  Three starter pistols!  I had picked up the prop bag from last night’s  show instead of my cosmetic bag. Well, they’re both white and I was in a hurry.

I ran outside to the train station; the only person in sight was the camera man, a huge African American guy in jeans and sweat shirt, not the type you would ask for make-up!  Anyway, I was a professional, the president of a corporation. I didn’t want the station to know that I was all alone and unprepared.  I looked around frantically, no stores but, aha!  A news stand! I rushed over.  No make-up but stacks and shelves of newspapers, candy, cigarettes, magazines, crayons, key chains, jewelry…Wait! Crayons!   Hmmm.  There’s a possibility!  I bought a box and hurried back to the ladies room.

“Let’s see, the brown for my eyebrows, turquoise for eye shadow, red for blush, orangey- red for my lip”s.  I was coloring diligently when the door opened and a while-haired lady in a black pants suit  came in.  She stared at me. I was so tempted to take out one of my guns and say.”give me your make-up” but I didn’t.  I just smiled as if it was a perfectly normal thing to be coloring my face with crayons at 6 o’clock in the morning.

I checked my face in the mirror, (see opening sentence) and went out to meet the cameraman. We climbed aboard the train, filmed the scene and I drove home.

The segment aired that night and friends began calling.

“You looked great,” they said, “It must be nice to be a television star and have a make-up crew do your make-up.”

I just smiled, said ”thank-you”  and never told a soul about my emergency cosmetics.

 

 

 

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