The mother of embarrassing moments
Those embarrassing moments . . . we've all had them, and we never forget them.
We say something we shouldn't have said, or do something we didn't mean to do; only to realize, too late, what a huge gaffe we've just made.
One of my best girlfriends tells the story of a co-ed high school gym class where everyone was sitting in a circle on the floor. The gym teacher was in the middle, giving instructions for the game they were about to play. When he paused for questions, my friend accidentally passed gas.
The way she tells the story, she thought for sure it was going to be silent. But unfortunately, due to the acoustics in the gym and the fact that her uniformed butt was pressed up against a glossy wood floor, it ended up sounding like a raucous round of applause. The noise actually startled her so much she blurted, "Oh! Excuse me! I just farted!" and then clasped her hands over her face, silently wishing a lightening bolt would strike her dead rather than having to make eye contact with any of her hysterically laughing classmates.
If only my most embarrassing moment could be blamed on a bodily function! But no. Naturally my gaffe came from my big mouth.
I was conducting a training class for a group of newly hired salespeople in a very small, conservative Southern town.
I don't remember exactly what the topic was, but I wanted to make a joke about kids and was intending to call them something cute and a little bit derogatory like "rug rats" or "ankle biters" or "crumb snatchers." In my mind, I was visualizing my own kids who were both under the age of 3 at the time and spent a lot of time on the floor, finding random things to stick in their mouths.
Unfortunately, there was some hideous misfire between my brain and my mouth and the punch line of my joke morphed into me blurting, "Damn carpet munchers!"
I heard the words come out of my mouth in slow motion and then saw the look of horror on my co-worker Nate's face.
My eyes widened to the size of dinner plates as Nate started to cough uncontrollably.
I probably should have just barreled through, pretending it didn't happen, but instead, I attempted to remove the foot from my mouth.
"Ohmygod! Did I just say ‘carpet munchers'? I totally meant to say ‘crumb snatcher'! Of course kids don't munch carpet! That would be really unsanitary. And by carpet, I mean actual carpet, not ‘carpet' (wink wink, point at my crotch)."
I looked over at Nate. The color was draining from his face.
Wait! I could fix this!
"What I meant to say was ‘Aren't kids funny? The way they will just stick any ol' thing in their mouths?'"
Nate stood up suddenly and said, "Why don't we pause for a ten minute break."
"Yes, that's a great idea," I said, fanning myself and dabbing the perspiration from my crimson brow.
And then I farted.