The dumbest question I have been asked so far

“So, you hired a ghostwriter, right?”

This was not a question I expected. I’m a worrier. I worried about all sorts of things people could ask me when I went out on the road with the book. Mostly I figured the stumpers would be farming or cheesemaking details that I’m not an expert on. Things like, “How do you prevent frothy bloat?”*,“What is the optimal pH for Mozzarella?”**or “What is the current somatic cell count limit on fluid milk?”***

Still I was a little prepared for this question because someone else had asked earlier in the day. I attributed that to nervous blurting,**** — god knows I do that myself – when that person was suddenly confronted with a book for sale in the middle of the Oregon Cheese Festival.***** However, when asked a second time in an hour, I started to get mad.

“Why would you say that?” I asked.

“My husband is a freelance writer. I know how it is.”

The Oregon Cheese Festival is amazing in many ways, but one which I didn’t appreciate until that moment was their wristband system. I had not attended previously, so I don’t know if there were problems in the past, but each adult wristband had 10 wineglasses printed on them. When an attendee gets a drink, the wine pourer checks one off. I looked at this woman’s wrist. 12 Noon… 7 drinks. And that didn’t count the beer she was holding.

She had already mentioned that she worked at a large retail chain (not grocery) that sells food. The best thing I could come up with in my head is that she was so immersed in the world where someone wouldn’t do anything unless there was a profit to be made. That I would write a book because it would be fun, educational, and fulfill a lifelong dream really didn’t seem to be on her radar. No, this had to be about brand positioning. Either I needed a book to increase the profile of our store or for me to get my shot at the Food Network. Clearly having a book isn’t about writing a book in her world. It’s only about self-promotion. Why would I waste time actually writing it?

I did the obvious thing. I brought Laurie into it.

I turned to Laurie who was standing right next to me but had been talking to someone else and hadn’t heard my conversation. “Hey, Laurie, this woman just asked if I hired a ghostwriter.”

“What? I think she’s saying that you look too stupid to write a book,” Turning to the question asker, “Are you calling him stupid?”

She started to respond but we just kept loudly saying, “Ghostwriter?” laughing and mocking her question until she walked away.

Here I am at the Oregon Fest looking too stupid to write my own book. I even wore a shirt with a collar on it. Geez.

*Making sure your ruminant is eating dry feed as well as high moisture forage
**from 5.0 – 5.2 if I understand Paul Kindstedt correctly
****not related to frothy bloat.

14 responses to “The dumbest question I have been asked so far

  1. I would’ve responded “Did a ghostwriter formulate that question, or would you like all the credit for it”?
    Working with the public so often, I really enjoyed reading this….very relatable.

  2. Ha!!! wished I would have asked that question…thanks for the laugh

  3. That’s pretty funny. The woman needs a life. And seriously, how many ghostwriters know anything about cheese?

  4. Oh that’s just too funny. I love how you handled it.

    • Thanks. The truth is, I needed someone from Texas to handle those kind of situations. My NorCal upbringing isn’t good for confrontation.

  5. wow. wow. gordon and laurie, you rule.

  6. I love it, I would have reacted exactly the same way you did!

    Write for the love of it!

  7. oh man. i really love you.

    i will think of this interaction when i am dealing with drunk people at work tomorrow.

  8. Having tended bar for many, many years, I find a great deal of satisfaction in acting even dumber than they (drunk people) think you are. It confuses the hell outta them and it’s fun to watch.

    “Uh, what’s a ‘ghostwriter?’ You mean I coulda had someone else do all the work of writing and I take the credit instead of having to stay up real late and wasting all that time typing?! Why didn’t anyone tell me?!?!”

    I do like Laurie’s response. That would’ve been fun to watch from the sidelines. Heehee!

  9. Really enjoyed your book (perhaps because you wrote it yourself!). Loved your perspective. Never knew how much I don’t know about cheese. Current fave is washed-rind, soft ripened… after reading your book I no longer fret about whether or not to eat the rind. Can’t wait to get out there & try new cheese.

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