Each of us has a private box inside our life's closet where we store memories of an embarrassing moment. When we were so mortified we wished the floor or ground would open up and swallow us whole!
No matter how nice, upstanding and great on the empathy side we are, truth be told, each of us has a little devil that lives on one shoulder and kind of gloats when OTHER folks slip on a banana peel or have the errant petticoat or pants go south in public! But we tend to hide our OWN little life embarrassments…
Out of a lifetime of such moments, two stand out in my memory bank!
I'd been working my youknowwhat off in the Corporate World of Gotham Big Business. Had joined all the right clubs, paid all the right dues, got invited to speak of some pretty "swanky" places… when as a reward for my labors I was invited to be a guest speaker at the Yale Graduate School of Management at the New Haven Campus. This was a humongous feather in my cap! My head size grew several inches!
I planned carefully what I'd say, how I'd behave, what I'd wear, etc… you know the drill…
So, during my presentation, all was going Very Well… and I felt really really good about my performance in front of All Those Yalie Geniuses!
About twenty minutes into my talk, as I was writing some Great Thoughts on the blackboard, knowing my audience was Spellbound… someone tapped me on the shoulder and handed me a note:
"Your skirt zipper is all open at the back! Thought you'd like to know!"
I don't remember what happened after that… They did clap nicely at the end. But I'll never forget my mortification!
The other moment in time… was when I was a proud high school freshman—at the Huge Age of 13! And we all can recall how important the attainment of being 13 was! After 10, 11, then 12…
That day I was out on Chesapeake Bay in a rowboat with my little brother and his buddy, catching crabs. We had a whole boatload of live crabs, crawling on the floor of the boat, which we would sell for a bunch of $$$ on shore to the neighbors. We were thrilled—when suddenly, as happens on the Bay, a storm blew out of nowhere. The wind was furious, hard and too much for us to control the old rowboat. Two little boys and moi…
People on land saw us—luckily, or I'd not be writing this today!—and called the Coast Guard and the Navy!
One thing led to another. We threw the crabs overboard, scared of being bitten by them; the wind got worse, the waves were coming over the sides of the old boat. Land was getting more and more distant… we were terrified—there was no chance we could swim back to shore! When suddenly a Big Navy Sailor came in his boat, got the three of us into his boat and took us back to shore!
The next day, the local Norfolk newspaper had a huge headline: "THREE LITTLE TOTS LOST AT SEA!"
You can imagine my embarrassment when I went to school and all the kids yelled, " Hi, little Tot!!" I, a big freshman in high School! At the grand age of 13!
…I'd love to hear YOUR story!
…What was YOUR most embarrassing moment?
…Please share with us here…in the comment section…
Thelma J. Straw