Write about a time when you were embarrassed.
A time? As in, one singular time?
Excuse me while I reach into my grab bag. The act of choosing just one anecdote is, hands down, WAY harder than the act of writing it out.
My blunders in life have been plentiful and occasionally massive. Luckily, I’m just a normal person living an ordinary life and therefore haven’t had to barndance my way off the SNL stage or explain to the American public just what in the world I was thinking when I did the “hey girl hey” with a White House intern. My oopses, thankfully, are mostly garden variety screw-ups, but I’d still rather not rehash them; I’m oddly adept at replacing the old ones with new, sometimes even more inventive versions of their former selves anyway. But then again, in re-telling the tales of our utmost idiocy, sometimes we get a good laugh out of things and even enjoy realizing how far we’ve come, followed swiftly by the sobering — exhilarating? — realization of how far we still have to go.
So, screw it. Let’s empty out the whole big bag and count up all the goodies.
In no particular order, I’ve done all of the following: wore things in the 80s; confided in all the wrong people about all the wrong things; overslept and missed a nonrefundable flight; spent way too long dating someone (make that six or seven someones) who
was were comically wrong for me (this epiphany, of course, only presents itself in retrospect); spent too much time lingering on half of those fools once all was said and done; nearly got fired from Bath & Body Works for having no clue how to work a register; wore things in the 90s; nearly got fired from Victoria’s Secret a year after the Bath & Body Works debacle, also for having no clue how to work a register (I was young, okay?); misspoke on a conference call and used the word “canoodling” (making out) instead of “cavorting” (just plain socializing), thus inadvertently accusing several higher-ups in one of the world’s largest PR firms of making out with one another in the middle of the workday; told a roomful of people, through a microphone while wearing a suit, that I was “so excited to finally meet most of them”; genuinely loved the show “Blossom” and had a miniature crush on Joey Lawrence; locked myself out of my own home while wearing a bikini; got pulled over for drunk driving while actually stone-cold sober (yes, my driving is sometimes that bad); and conversely, had far too much to drink on multiple occasions, getting tangled up in all the usual shenanigans folks get into when we’ve gotten too cozy with our spirit of choice. And we’re not even going to get into my music collection, since a) we already did that last week and b) if I tell you I once stood in the fourth row of a Marky Mark & the Funky Bunch concert, what more information do you need?
Nothing embarrassing happens when we’re sitting at home alone. Well, plenty of things would probably render themselves utterly mortifying if anyone were to walk in and catch us doing whatever weird nonsense we happen to do when we think no one’s looking (read a phenomenal book called The Visible Man for a lingering head trip on the matter). On its own, hanging out alone doesn’t so much lend itself to embarrassment. Playing it safe, staying on the couch and being creatures of habit aren’t the sorts of behaviors that render red-faced humiliation. To properly embarrass oneself, one has to walk out the front door. One has to face the world. One has to take a deep breath and go, “Okay, let’s try something.” One has to have — how do you say? — chutzpah… moxie.
The guy doesn’t get the girl by sitting in his room, staring at the wall. The girl doesn’t win the Olympic medal by playing video games all her life. Nobody ever won a Pulitzer for standing around, reading Us Weekly and waiting for their microwave dinner to ding. The guy gets the girl by getting rejected a hundred times, giving up, turning around to go home and slamming face-first into the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen. The girl gets the Olympic medal after training like mad, falling flat on her face, knocking out a tooth or two, and getting the hell back up again a thousand times if that’s what it takes. The Pulitzer Prize… well, apparently that takes a lot of writing. Like a LOT a lot. And here, my friends, we are, with a long stretch of Fridays before us.
Am I aiming for a Pulitzer? Actually, no, and certainly not with this little confessional. I’m aiming for bylines I’m crazy proud of and good books with my name on their jackets. And I’ll keep aiming, every day, including these ramble-bramble posts each week to keep me accountable, as long as you keep aiming for whatever you want, too. Let’s embarrass ourselves. Let’s f*ck up royally and live to reminisce about it.
Let’s have some stories to tell.