Monday, January 24

Things I will not be telling my kids if I ever want them to believe I'm cool

Embarrassing moments. Like farts, we all have them; some people have no problem talking about them, and others are a bit more private about them. I keep my farts a secret, but I WILL tell you some of my most embarrassing moments. How's THAT for an A+ introduction?!? My high school English professor might have written next to this, "Crude, but effective." Thaaaat's me!

My freshman year of college, I stayed out past curfew (that's right, curfew at college) so I could stay late after a concert and hang out with the band. They were from my school anyway, but they were still Indie rock stars (in my eyes) and therefore infinitely cool. We went to the equally infinitely cool but also very classy International House of Pancakes, because even in the "big city" that's the only thing open past 11. I have said on this blog before that I learn all my humor from funnier people, and that was especially true my freshman year. I hadn't quite learned the subtle art of stealing STYLE of, I preferred the easier method of directly quoting lesser-known comedians without credit. People assumed it was my material, and I gladly let them. I tended to be overshadowed by my even more outgoing and much funnier friends, so any leg-up I could get was incredibly helpful. We sat across from the lead singer, a very gangly, redheaded, quiet, inexplicably-godlike guy who could sing the ugly off a Klingon woman. Yeah, that good. Seriously, if you see a picture you won't get it, but somehow he's really hot. So I decided now would be a fantastic time to show off my totally original comedy. I said, "But really, I don't get why they call it 'IHOP.' I never leave here feeling like hopping. Shouldn't they call it, 'I...barely move' or 'I...need a wheelbarrow'?" And I got a really good laugh out of it from friends and band members alike. Then Corey softly, almost hesitantly, chimes in with, "Didn't a comedian say that?" Tennis-match style, everyone swivels to look at me. "Uh...yeah," I croak. "It was Jim Gaffigan. Thanks, Corey." Then I proceeded to turn 6 shades of red and get a flash of my future, filled with disappointment and disillusionment as a humorist. CBFF Christi still tells that story to anyone who starts to think I'm sort of funny...or anyone who will listen to her if I start to think I might be funny.

I currently sell furniture at a major company in Michigan. One day I was showing a man a bedroom set for his spare room, and he asked me to figure out the price on the whole group, but he wasn't going to buy it that day. If we know they're not going to buy that day we have to get a second person to try to convince them to buy it then, or at least to give them two people's names to hopefully remember when (if) they come back in. So I got an older man named Bill who has been there about twenty years. Bill chatted him up for a bit while I got the prices written down on my card, and I put Bill's name on the card as well. I handed it to the man, showed him both our names for when he came back, and he said, "Could you write down some identifiers too?" Confused, I said, "Sure," and took the card back. I looked at it for a second and next to Bill's name I wrote, "Older man w/ glasses" and next to my name I wrote, "Young, dark hair" and showed him what I'd written. He looked at it straight-faced and said, "That's great. ...Could you also write down what the furniture looks like?"

We had a male gym teacher in high school who also taught Bible classes, history classes, coached soccer (JV and Varsity, both the boys' and the girls' teams), and was married to the Physics/Chemistry/Earth Science teacher/volleyball coach. Yeah, it was a small school. Seniors babysat their kid in the halls during their afternoon classes. His favorite thing to do was have us play indoor soccer. It didn't take much organization, we all knew the rules, he could sit in the corner and watch videos of the boys' games, and his girls could practice for spring season. I had discovered the awesome and oh-so-cool tearaway pants, and since they were PANTS I didn't see a reason to wear shorts under them. That's just begging to sweat through your underwear and get some serious swass* that you'd have to deal with for the rest of the school-day. BFF Cori told me on a few occasions that I should wear shorts, but I would not. I was going to march to the beat of my own drum, be a unique butterfly that intimidated people and that's why I never got asked out, and other cliches my mom told me during the 9.7 years I was in my awkward stage. While playing indoor soccer one day, I ran after the ball (which meant all eyes were on me), and hooked my thumb between two of the snaps accidentally, thereby revealing to everyone the utility and efficiency of tearaway pants...and also my underwear. I instantly collapsed like a rag doll, desperately trying to reattach a few of the snaps and possibly disappear into the floor as well. Unsure whether to laugh or cry hysterically, I settled for shaky laughter and misty eyes. Unfortunately, our teacher occasionally looked up from his soccer tapes and chose those few minutes as a good time to check in on our game. We didn't make eye contact for a week.

*Update: I realize I never explained "swass." This is what my coworker Tom affectionately calls "swamp ass," or the point in the day when you're sweating enough that your damp underwear begins to chafe your buttocks. And it's very uncomfortable. And apparently he gets it a lot at work. Because he sweats like my mom during a hot flash.

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