Join me, if you will, in a little game I like to call, "How Freaking Embarrassing Was That?" also known as "Oh My God, I Could Have Died on the Spot!"
I'll go first.
Mid-career and pre-children, I decided that perhaps I'd missed my true calling and should have been an actress. I took a series of acting lessons at the local repertoire theater, and was encouraged in my pursuits by the teacher. I boldly headed off to my first audition.
I knew I possessed a keen memory for dialogue (although not for remembering what I ate at lunch yesterday) and could feign an array of emotions and expressions with ease. Speaking on stage I could well handle.
But singing and dancing? Not so much. Not even a little.
My confidence fled the auditorium the moment they inexplicably asked a group of us to dance. It was a simple Do-Si-Do. I could manage that, I tried to convince myself. However, while everyone else was Do-ing, I found myself Si-ing. Over and over again. For what seemed like several painful weeks. I prayed that, amidst the onstage crowd of would-be actors, the audition committee somehow wouldn't detect my total lack of coordination.
Then I was prompted back onstage to sing. A solo.
Any thought of redeeming myself disappeared as I ran through my very best rendition of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." Oh yes, the gentlemen--and ladies--of the audition committee, the sole audience members sitting in the sixth row of the theater, they soon appeared merry enough. In fact, they were practically convulsed in laughter: peering up at me, nudging each other, and chuckling among themselves.
I didn't stick around to hear about call-backs.
The horror remains with me to this day. No one can top that, I tell my embarrassing story-telling comrades.
But wait--Glo has a tale to tell too.
It was Christmas, and she was in charge of coordinating the annual office party: decorating, planning refreshments, and ensuring that everyone was invited. The newest departmental graduate assistant passed her in the hallway that day. He was a shy and timid student; she was the warm, welcoming type. She wanted to make a point of personally inviting him.
"Don't forget about the Christmas party this afternoon," she told him with a bright smile. "We're having cookies and punch!" Except that wasn't exactly what she said. What happened was that her words became churned within some strange verbal blender of sorts, and what poured out of her mouth instead was, "We're having pookies and cunts!"
The horrific realization of her error hit her as soon as the words left her mouth, and she could do nothing more than simply keep walking past him.
He never showed at the party.
Oh. My. God. My story-telling comrades and I are hushed in empathetic horror.
Until John chimes in.
"I can top that."
John had met a young guy at a party, introduced by a mutual friend. He hadn't quite caught the stranger's last name, so politely asked, "Sorry, what was your name again?"
When the young man repeated it, John squinted and said, "Oh, was that (name redacted)?" Then, to further clarify his understanding, he tried spelling it and added, "like that guy who was all over the news a couple years ago for (redacted very lewd behavior)?"
"Um, yeah," the young man replied.
John paused. "Oh." He managed a nervous laugh. "So, you're not related to that guy or anything, are you?"
"Yeah," the stranger who might have otherwise become a friend answered. "Actually, he's my father."
My story and Glo's? Trumped. Right there.
We'd have died on the spot for him.
Any humiliation you care to share?