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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to FOX 5


Sometimes it takes me a while to write my confessions. That shouldn’t be surprising, of course. How long would it take you to publicly ‘fess up to devastating moments and inconceivable blunders? So this story is not exactly as fresh as tomorrow’s news – but I must admit it lives in my memory as a perpetual prod for humility.

So I’m in a taxi on my way to FOX 5 for an appearance on a morning show. It’s a cold, rainy morning in December. On a good day with no traffic, it should take about 45 minutes to get to the FOX 5 studios in midtown Manhattan.

But this isn’t a good day, weather-wise or traffic-wise, and the wind reminds me of a tornado in Kansas. I keep expecting to see a witch or Toto fly by. Debris seems to moving at the speed of light; the traffic certainly isn’t.

We’re driving (inching, actually) through Manhattan for two hours and I’m due on air LIVE at 9:52. It’s 9:45 and I am still in the car.

I can’t help thinking about how hard it is to secure a TV appearance for a kosher cookbook author, and how many people I would let down if I don’t make it. For starters, there would be everybody at, my publisher, and my publicist. Most of all, I would be disappointing myself --because I was raised to believe I could do anything, and missing an important chance like this would put a serious dent in my self-image.

We are within a few blocks of the studio and if I stay in this car I will never make it on time. I reason calmly that they could bump me to a later segment in the show, and then realize that the show ends at 10:00 AM. There is no later segment!

Because I was supposed to head straight for the airport after the show (for a tour stop in Chicago) I had brought along a ton of overnight bags. I mean, a girl has to have her makeup; and a few changes of clothes, and two or three pairs of shoes, right? But I just have to get out of this car and run for it, and there is no way I could cover that ground schlepping those bags!

So the driver (an angel sent from Heaven, I think) and I exchange cell phone numbers and I leave everything in the car, and I do mean everything. He says he’ll scoot around until 10:00 and then pick me up to go to the airport.

And I jump out of the car. Bless my husband who sent me off that morning with one of those Mary Poppins umbrellas. I hop out with a 6-foot umbrella in hand to brave the storm and make it to FOX.

Well, I run up one block only to realize I was going west when I should have been going east. So I turn myself around and run down the other way, this time headed due east -- only to conclude I was right the first time when I was heading west. Another about-face and I bolt like a mad woman due west, and then my jumbo umbrella flips inside out. So now instead of being 6 feet long, it’s almost 12 feet, and people are looking so I can’t just drop the monster in the middle of the street. I drag it along in full flight. My hair becomes a windblown, sopping mess. As I approach FOX 5, I see the producers waiting for me under the awning. They catch sight of me and burst out laughing.

“Don’t worry,” they shout between cackling, “you have plenty of time.” In TV talk that means I have one minute plus a two-minute commercial break. That’s a full three minutes to make myself presentable. I charge into the ladies’ room to pull myself together. I think my sheitel may have blown backwards during my run, so I plant myself in front of the mirror, fix it firmly in place, and wield my comb like a magic wand.

Then it’s breathe in, breathe out, smile and run on set just as they say, “ACTION!”

Here’s the clip:

(And yes, you cynical New Yorkers, the cab driver did come back with all my stuff and took me to the airport.)

What important event in your life did you almost miss? Leave a comment and let me know.