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Laugh With Lisa: The Road Trip

Laughter lady Lisa DeMarco has just been on a fun-filled trop around Florida, promoting her book.

To sample Lisa jokes please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/laugh_with_lisa/

To purchase her bppk click on http://www.amazon.co.uk/Serving-Some-Funny-Lisa-DeMarco/dp/1608600696/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1248506652&sr=1-1

The RV road trip around Florida was an excellent idea I concocted after a very generous and loving friend offered my family and I the use of her 40 foot BUS!

My girls and I were jonesing for a beach trip over summer vacation seeing school was starting again in less than three weeks and for the first time in our lives, we did not get to take our week at the beach during break. Times are tough, and this year it just wasn’t in the budget. Until of course I came up with this scheme to use the trip as a promotional tour for my book.

I knew it would take a lot of persuading to get my husband to agree, because he is not the “borrowing” kind of guy, but I figured it was worth a try. This BAD BOY was BAD TO THE BONE! Definitely top of the food chain on the RV scale, and valued at about what my 5 bedroom 4 bath home is appraised at. Not to mention, my husband is more at home riding a Harley Davidson Motorcycle than an upscale-condo-on-wheels. Yet, I believed it was worth a try.

A good friend and loyal customer at the restaurant, who happens to be a truck driver, gave me my next big push. He suggested that I contact the Pilot Travel Centers and try to make arrangements to sell my books at their stations. He graciously supplied me with brochures that had maps and locations and store phone and fax numbers. From there, it was easy for me to track where I wanted to go and who I needed to contact for permission. Luckily all worked out in my favor, because I managed - with the help of my daughter Amanda - to get five approvals. Three in a perfect row, which would allow us to stop at beaches on both the east and west coast of the Sunshine State. COOL!

Next, I had to prove to my husband, Joe, how much fun it would be to take a road trip with his lovely wife and two lovely daughters (all who never shut up) in a motor coach for five days. Yeah, right? This was going to take all my wifely skills! But when I explained to him how I had all ready gotten permission to be at all the locations and that the general managers at each location looked forward to having me, trying to make it sound like it could be lucrative, I said, “I could sell a lot of books,” and that was my “best seller.” I had him hooked. But it wasn’t until Joann insisted yet again that we use the rig and enjoy the time together as a family that he finally gave in and agreed.

Sadly enough, Joann and her husband “Chuckles” bought the RV barely a year ago and then he passed away. Unable to sell it at the time, the BEAST has sat for the last seven months or so - parked and paid for. What a waste. Yes, bad for her, but great for me! That I have the pleasure of having such a FANTASTIC friend.

So, we scheduled to go to the Pilot Travel Centers in Punta Gorda, Ft. Myers and Ft. Pierce. I have my little table and my hot pink table cloth. I have my pink “We Are Friends” bear - that was given to me by a dear friend that I met at the restaurant - to show her support in my mission. She is dressed in powder pink and sings and dances and just looks too cute on my table. My baskets for my smiley face buttons and fresh baked chocolate chip cookies and of course a bunch of books ready to be signed in pink ink.

Then, I had a very pretty black and pink banner to hang that read: Help Spread The Laughter…Autographed Copies Of Serving Up Some Funny, and a stand-up board of the book cover with my slogan and my sites and addresses. We also had magnets on the bus that displayed my book cover with sites and addresses, and my daughters wrote “Author On Board” on the side windows just to attract a little more attention. Not that this vehicle didn’t all ready command the attention of everyone on the highway, but they were proud of me and wanted to show their support. It was really COOL!

We had never as a family took a real road trip and we never camp out, so this was going to be quite the experience. We left Central Florida and headed toward the west coast. Punta Gorda was our first stop, and Carl, the general manager of that store, was more than hospitable to let me solicit his patrons, both truckers, travelers and staff, and I managed to find a perfect spot out front in a shaded area with a lot of foot traffic. The perfect place to show my wears without getting in anyone’s way.

Next, we were off to Ft. Myers, where Mark, the general manager of that center, and his friendly employees and customers also made us feel very welcome. Folks shared jokes with me and I enjoyed meeting a few new good sports.

Lastly, it’s off to Ft. Piece - just across “Alligator Alley” (something this Jersey girl has always wanted to say I did) and over to the east side of the Sunshine State. Here, another general manager named Mark, greeted us, and not only did he open his business up to me, he also had positive words to share with me about how much he enjoyed reading the copy I had mailed him prior to my arrival. That was a “good tip.” Because we all know I am really only in it for the laughs…and compliments go a long way with me. To me, giggles prove I am succeeding in my mission…To Spread The Laughter!

It is a good thing that I am not in this for the money, because, strange enough, I didn’t sell ONE book, in the six hours or so I spend over three days pushing my books on the side of the street like a scout mom selling cookies. However, on the first day, while I was set up in Punta Gorda, a very nice middle-aged man in a buttoned-down shirt that had some company logo embroidered on it, approached. He asked what I was doing. I explained like I normally do, how: “I am a Florida server-mom that has a good memory for bad jokes and decided to publish a very tastefully done, but a little SPICY joke book.”

He commented on how he admired my spirit and was impressed with dedication - especially seeing the temperature had already reached close to 90-degrees and it wasn’t even 9:30 in the morning. He then placed a $20 bill under one of the books that was fanned out on the table and said, “I don’t really need an autographed copy, but I wish you all the best.”

I reached to grab a book for him, but he started to turn and walk away. I asked, “Don’t you want your book?”

To which he replied, “No, but you have a good day.”

I quickly tried to offer him a cookie or a button, but he just walked off to his vehicle that was parked at one of the pumps at the far side of the station. “God bless you,” I said as I looked around to see if my family was near. He waved and then he was gone.

I picked up the $20 bill only to be further surprised that the $20 bill was actually five $20 bills. 100 bucks! Who does that? Who was he? I thought. WOW! Too Cool!

Just then, Joe and the girls came out from the store and I told them what had happened. Too weird, right? But we all agreed, it had to be a “Giggle Fairy,” helping me along my way or maybe my “Little Angel,” trying to make sure I don’t get discouraged or lose hope. Either way, it was the best thing to come out of my “saleless” trip. It confirmed my belief that there is a higher power assisting me on my journey to bring the world a bit of laughter, but it also allowed my family and I to have so much fun, while meeting so many new people that it didn’t matter that I didn’t make a sale. Times are tuff and although most folks right now don’t have the funds to be frivolous, they sure are not frugal with their kindness, and “showing me some love” counts triple in my book!


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