That’s Embarrassing!

Recently, I was pushing my cart through the grocery store and didn’t realize that the guy stocking the organic section had put a cardboard box on the ground. I was trying to go around his giant metal cart of supplies when I steered right into the box.

That wasn’t too embarrassing, because I couldn’t see the box due to the stuff in my cart blocking my view. However, when I backed up and redirected, I overcorrected and nosed my cart into a box balanced on the lip of the refrigerated section. The whole box flew off its perch and small individual portions of Greek yogurt came tumbling down. It was raining protein! I felt like I was caught in a game of bumper cars when I was the only one playing.

The guy stocking the shelves did not look entertained. He said something that wasn’t reassuring about how he hoped the containers were all right. I mumbled apologies, citing sleep deprivation, and fled the aisle, only to have a fight with my 5-year-old a few steps away about a greeting card we were not going to buy for Grandma’s birthday. (For one thing, her birthday is in February…)

I used to fear embarrassment. I hate knowing that people are watching me (read: judging me) when I’ve done something ridiculous. But these days I think of embarrassing moments as another way of exercising my writing muscle. As long as I can tell the story of what happened in a way that makes me laugh, I can move past it. Even if I’m only telling the story to myself.

Having kids means there are a lot more embarrassing stories in my week than there used to be. One of my favorites is from five years ago, when I went to visit my boss during my maternity leave. He asked to hold the baby and I handed her right over. Oh, she was cute! Oh, how he admired her! And then, oh my, she was making grunting noises. My newborn released an explosive poop all over my boss’ lap, covering his pants, his shirt, his tie and his belt with yellow seedy goop. That’s when I realized my new little baby didn’t want me to return to work. I ran, pink-faced, to the bathroom to get wet paper towels and then apologized profusely. I only spoke to him once after that. To tell him I wouldn’t be coming back.

The best part of my bumper car afternoon at the grocery store was the serving of Greek yogurt that I found stuck in the bottom of my cart when I was checking out. I smiled and put it on the conveyor belt, glad I didn’t accidentally bring it out of the store and set off one of the alarms. Now that would have been embarrassing.

Has anything embarrassing happened to you recently? Do you tell stories (to yourself or to others) about your ridiculous moments? Do you force your characters into embarrassing moments in your fiction?

About Laura Stanfill

Publisher, Forest Avenue Press
This entry was posted in Fiction, Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to That’s Embarrassing!

  1. Oh my! What a story about your baby pooping on your boss. That’s funny, and very very embarrassing! I tripped once in front of a guy I had a major crush on in junior high. He said, “I remember when I learned how to walk.” Let’s just say my dreams of him noticing me for something other than tripping never came true.

    • Oh that must have been a horrible moment, Emily!

      Yes, the whole poop thing would have been bad enough if she had gotten just his shirt or his pants, but both plus his fancy tie–ugh! I actually offered to drive to his house and ask his wife to give me a change of clothes to bring him. (He said no… but that was the only thing I could think of to make things better.)

  2. I took my daughter to my last doctors appointment. As with all doctor appointments they required a urine sample. She followed me into the bathroom and as I started using th cup she yelled “Eww! That’s gross.” I had thoroughly digusted her. The next day my husband picked her up at daycare and the director said “So I heard, or I guess I should say we all heard all day today that your wife peed in a cup.” She told everyone she knew that day what I had done.

    • Ah yes, the peeing in the cup! That’s hilarious. My daughter was obsessed with that ritual and whenever we were going to the doc she’d ask “Are you going to pee in the cup today?” Of course she never announced it to anyone else; it was just a topic of conversation in our car.

  3. susielindau says:

    All the time are you kidding me??? Hahaha! They make for great blog fodder, so I try to keep my sense of humor even if no one else does…. 🙂

    • That’s why your blog is so fun, Susie! You’re not afraid to tell such stories!

      • susielindau says:

        I don’t have many “blogging” filters! Hahaha! I do always ask permission if someone (usually a family member) is involved. 🙂
        Thanks so much Laura! You should see the video I made for Wednesday’s party. Talk about humiliation! It’s funny how I really don’t care and can laugh at myself for being such a dork. When I first videotaped myself I was shocked because I had been under the delusion of thinking I was cool! Since then I have embraced my inner dork! Hahaha!

  4. I could sit here all night telling embarrassing stories… I have six kids!

    • Wow, I can’t imagine all the embarrassing stories you have, Maggie! It’s amazing how kids increase that factor. Some of my best friends–forever friends–are the mom friends who have seen me and my kids at our worst!

  5. char says:

    Wow! Those are great stories! I especially love the baby pooping on your boss one…because I can so relate. My babies didn’t care what kind of diapers I put on them–generic or name brand–they just worked to squirt poop out the sides on anyone that held them. They’re nice like that. And speaking of nice, I served you up the Reader Appreciation Award on my blog today. Here’s the link. http://joyinthemoments.com/2012/07/09/feast-upon-this/

    • I have a friend with a newborn who poops like that constantly! I offered her some of my girls’ old outfits and asked for one back when she was done. She refused since all her clothes soon have poop stains on them!

      Thanks so much for the sweet award, Char! That made my day.

  6. Laura … as Joan Rivers would say … “Can we talk?” Yeesh, I am a born clutz, a left handed, pigeoned-toes accident waiting to happen who tripped up stairs sat down when there was no chair behind me, fell face first in the surf while I was trying to impress a boy. It is what makes me so funny … because I learned first to laugh at me … kids also have a way of leveling things out. By the time we are lucky enough to marry them off … they have gone through enough stages to make our hair gray, our middles sag and once again … give us great fodder for funny stories.

  7. 4amWriter says:

    Funny story. I used to be like that, hated being the center of attention in an embarrassing sort of way. But you’re right, as writers we can use that material and pretend we’re doing field work. 🙂

    Babies pooping, yes, plenty of stories like that. My son let loose in a restaurant, smelling up our entire section. I mean, it reeked! The restaurant was filled with patrons, and a party nearby asked to be moved. Even though we got him cleaned up, a smell like that lingers…I’m sure we ruined meals for a lot of people that night. 😦

  8. Emma says:

    I’m a bit clumsy, so my life is full of embarrassing incidents but I just laugh them off and hope the redness leaves my face quickly 🙂

    • Or that nobody notices the redness! Love it, Emma. I tend to blame my inattention/clumsiness on paying full attention to my kiddos. And any spots on my clothes? The kids spilled. Definitely. Not me.

  9. Oh dear, embarrassing stories eh? Most of mine revolve around breastfeeding now; like projectile milk spray all over a coffee shop window, or accidentally passing someone a damp breast pad instead of a tissue.
    My kids are going to be the source of a lot amusement (for everyone) and embarassment (for me), I can tell.
    I wouldn’t change it though, since little anecdotes like these BELONG in novels and short stories.
    And anyway… poo is always funny. :-p

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