Google+ Followers

Saturday, September 7, 2013


            Sometimes in life, despite our best efforts to pass through this existence in relative class and social grace, we fall victim to unforeseeable and completely unexpected acts of in-coordination or ineptitude which lead to the social effect we refer to as – “PUBLIC EMBARRASSMENT”!!!

            There is no way to prepare for such communal spectacles.  They simply reach out and grab you with your guard down like a social boogie man from the closet of life.  All we can do is deal with the aftermath and try to limit the emotional scarring that tries to fill the void in their wake.
            These embarrassing moments come in varied scope and intensity based on many different factors such as, how many and who are the witnesses, what is the setting, the age and maturity of those involved, and sometimes unfortunately which body parts are affected.
            It’s as if an expertly trained humiliation sniper sits concealed and camouflaged somewhere off in the distance, with his scope of shame trained in on us, just waiting for the proper moment to blast the pride and self-esteem right out of us.  The only thing that affects the outcome is what caliber of disgrace he has in the chamber when the trigger is pulled.
            Now lest you doubt this premise I am putting forth today, I have the personal scars from rounds of shame which have penetrated my psyche over the years… a few of which I will share with you today.  (You can consider this a personal forum of expression as part of a PTSD therapy to acknowledge and overcome the effects of such events… as well as to share a few smiles and laughs at my expense).
            One such attack occurred when I was still in High School.  I can’t remember if it was my junior or senior year, but as teenagers are apt to do, I happened to sleep in one cold winter morning.  My mother dutifully awoke me with the clarion call that I was going to be late for school, so I groggily jumped out of bed, glanced at the clock through dream-swept eyes and came to the immediate realization that I would not have time to take a nice hot shower as was my custom to do.
            In a house with one bathroom, which just happened to be occupied by my father, who was executing his authority as King of the Porcelain throne, I frantically scrambling to the kitchen, stuck my head under the faucet and rinsed the cow-licks out of my pillow-pummeled hair, threw on a change of pants, donned my shoes and winter coat and rushed to the car.  (Now lest you worry that I was totally sleep-deprived and incapacitated, I of course retained enough of my faculties to grab a pop-tart for breakfast before I bolted off to school on an empty stomach.)
            As I rushed through the school in the frantic crowded social minutes before the ringing of the first period bell, I stopped at my locker to hang up my heavy winter coat.  My long time locker partner glanced at me, laughed and said, “Did you forget something this morning?”  It was only then that I realized I was standing in the middle of a busy teenage filled hallway, wearing my flannel pajama shirt!  As I glanced in horror at the big rolled collar and sleeve cuffs, my faced flush red in shame, fanned even hotter by the chuckles and sneers of my peers.

            Faced with the thought of repeated ridicule throughout each period of the day, I instead pulled on my coat, zipping it all the way up to the collar, ditched out of my first period class and returned home to change into more appropriate attire.  My only saving grace was that it was my pajamas and not my underwear, and that the previous year’s growth spurt had grown me out of my super-hero pajamas.
            Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see people out shopping at the Walmart or the grocery store in full public display with floppy pajama pants, night-time slippers and a tee shirt that I wouldn’t use to pick up dog poop out of the yard in.  But in my era, such nonsense was a bulls-eye for the sniper to zero in with lethal accuracy, especially within the hormone riddled halls of high school education.
            Surviving this minor skirmish with no fatal wounds, I moved on with life and into adulthood.  A stage of life when peer pressure becomes less relevant and wisdom comes with age.  Unfortunately, sometimes age comes alone.  And even if you do find wisdom along the way, the gaff sniper can still find chinks in your body armor once in a while in which he can inflict some damage from time to time.
            There are those embarrassing moments when you think are alone and free to pass flatulence, only to discover that there are people right behind you.  This is especially difficult when indoors and/or in tight, closed in spaces with inadequate ventilation.  (As a side note, if you want to try to talk your way out of such occurrences, you are free to refer to the mathematical formula I described in a prior blog post:
            Of course, there are the unexpected public falls that happen occasionally as well, when many theorize that there is an invisible turf monster which reaches up to snag your toe when you least expect it.
            Or when Jack Frost has laid a mine field of glazed ice in your path.
            Such incidents can reduce even a glamorous super-model into a common prat-fall artist subject to the forces of gravitation pull. For some hilarious examples, you might take a peek at this link (but only if you come back to finish my blog!  J)
            My public display of equilibrial ineptitude occurred at the entrance to a busy Target Super Store.  There I was walking coolly and calmly about my own business, when just as I was stepping up and over one of those concrete lined grass barriers which separate the front of the store from the parking area, a woman behind me and off to the side began to yell at her husband.  I glanced back in their direction just as I was stepping down off the cement curb on which I caught my heel.  My ankle rolled sideways and I took several pathetic, lurching, extremity flailing steps before coming to an abrupt horizontal rest in the middle of the drive-way right in front of the main entrance.
            Rolling to my side and attempting to right myself up onto the feet God had given me to stand upon, a kind elderly lady came rushing to my side exclaiming, “Oh my goodness!  That looked like a horrible fall!  Did you get hurt?”
            “Only my pride mam, only my pride.” Although several bruises and a sprained ankle would later manifest that humiliation was trumping my honesty.
            Now these types of occurrences are frequent and common among all of mankind, and don’t seem to discriminate among factors such as age, race, religion or global location.  But once in a while, an event so bizarre and statistically rare happens that it can’t possibly be chalked up to random coincidence.  Instead it’s far more likely a skilled attack of that trained Ego Sniper hidden someone beyond the grassy knoll.
            Several years ago, on a cool early winter evening, I had just finished a long day’s work and the sun had already gone down as I pulled into a local popular gas station/truck stop/convenience store to fill up with fuel for the trip out to my rural home.
            Pacing about in the frigid evening cold as the pumping petroleum did its thing, I was eager to get back into the warmth of my car as the snow and ice crunched under my dress shoes.  Finishing the job, I hopped back into my car and closed the door against the icy breeze, only to become instantly assaulted by the overpowering smell of BBQ sauce.
            I sat baffled for several moments, puzzling over how in the few moments I had been outside to pump my gas, that odor of BBQ sauce had saturated my vehicle.  I opened the door to turn on the interior light to shed some illumination on the quandary, but the feeble dome globe only cast shadows upon the interior in question.
            Finally stepping out of the car again to investigate what might have happened, I glanced down in horror between my legs.  The crotch of my tan khaki slacks was inexplicably blasted with BBQ sauce!  “What the…?!”
            Further sleuthing revealed an old Wendy’s BBQ sauce packet lying in the snow next to the car door.  Somehow, when I had prepared to step back into my vehicle, I had stepped on the packet in such a way, that in a one-in-a-million shot, which could likely never be duplicated, had exploded directly upwards with full force right into the crotch of my pants!
            Now dripping in disgrace, I had but three choices:
1. Re-enter the car and smear BBQ sauce into the light colored seat upholstery for the 15 minute ride home.
2. Enter the busy convenience store looking as if I was suffering from a severe medical complication and bypass all those inside as I made my way to the bathroom way in the back of the store.  If option 2 was attempted, I would somehow then be required to doff my slacks, wash them off in the sink, and then exit the store looking as if I had wet myself (which may or may not have been more embarrassing than looking like I was bleeding from my privates).
Or option #3, which is what I chose to do.
            There, exposed in all the glory the bright overhead halogen lights could provide in contrast to the darkness of the night, and no doubt in full display of the security cameras, I straddled over to the windshield washer squeegee and extracted multiple paper towels from the receptacle.
            Splayed spread eagle, I dabbed and wiped as best I could to remove the excess crotch condiment from my britches, (no doubt to the laughter of those inside the store or at the other nearby pumps) then hurried home to face a more private ridicule and teasing from my wife and teenage sons.  I happened to include this story in part of a video I once filmed for a Youtube channel, which I will edit & share here:

            In the heat of such moments, the shame we bear seems so serious, but with the passing of time such memories are often remembered with laughter.  For such are the experiences which burn themselves into our memories and allow us to look back on life with something other than the boring monotony which most days provide.
            We should all be grateful that the sniper serves to keep us humble, as well as reminding us that while we often crave a life full of more adventure and excitement… that sometimes that excitement is NOT the kind we are looking for!
            Until my next blog, happy trails my friends…. And remember to watch where you step!