A few weeks ago someone sent me a meme, one of the questions of which was "how often do you embarrass yourself" (my answer? Continually).
Anyway, it got me thinking about all the most embarrassing and awkward moments, which I thought might make a nice regular feature here. Please feel free to share your deepest embarrassments in the comments so that I'll know I'm not alone in being a complete jackass all of the time.
Anyway, here's one of the episodes that came to mind:
A few months ago, I was at a casual business dinner with some of my colleagues at some fancy restaurant on the Plaza. There were about 15 of us at a long table. I was sitting near one end with two East-coasters and a West-coaster.
The evening started off on a light note. We all know each other and have worked with each other for quite some time, though we don't often meet in person so there were some conversational niceties to be taken care of.
We order drinks and appetizers and commence the conversation. After a few glasses of wine and food, we got to joking around, and conversational topics turned from industry news and the weather to more personal issues.
At some point, the discussion turned to our various personal foibles.
Specifically, the young woman (the other three of us were d00ds), confessed that she has an addiction to lip balm -- Carmex actually, the kind in a tube, not a jar. It's bad enough, she said, that if she doesn't have some with her when she leaves her house in the morning she will compulsively go miles out of her way to buy a new tube.
Then one of the other guys admitted his pathological dependence on hand lotion. Seems he feels compelled to smear the stuff on his hands twice a day to avoid the not-so-moist feeling.
I myself admitted that I dare not come within the event horizon of a package of strawberry Twizzlers, as doing so would mean the certain destruction of the entire package of said Twizzlers by me in my digestive system.
Anyway, we're all having a great time cracking wise on each others' personal flaws, becoming more raucous as the night wears on and we drink more glasses of wine. Yes, it was all good until I decided to kick it up a notch and quipped...
"Actually, I really don't have any vices... Well, I mean other than my addictions to porn and heroin."
Except when I said the words "my addictions to porn and heroin," for some reason, a split second before the words left my mouth, the entire table, the entire room, went dead silent.
It was as if someone had said "My broker is E.F. Hutton. And E.F. Hutton says..."
Everyone in our party immediately looks toward my end of the table. I can see by the looks on their faces that they're trying to piece together the parts of the conversation that they missed. Only, it seemed like they were taking a really long time to do it.
So, ignoring the sage advice that when you've dug yourself into a hole, you should stop digging, I tried to recover with another unwise crack...
"But I'm feeling much better now."
There was a smattering of nervous, forced laughter, followed by low murmuring as the conversational engine began to rev back up. After a few moments, the awkwardness had passed as people resumed their dinner conversations.
Eventually the evening came to an end and we all got up to leave for home. As I walked out the door, a colleague who had been sitting at the other end of the table was leaving in front of me.
"It was good seeing you again," he said. "You guys doing anything exciting this weekend?"
"No," I replied. "Just the usual."
"Ah yes," he said. "Hookers and blow."
tagged: Awkward, business, porn, heroin, addiction, blow, hookers, embarrassing