In fact, with many families, a Christmas gathering probably would not be complete without recalling one of those “special” family moments that made you uncomfortable — and perhaps still does.
The story my family seems to relive happened when I was as a teenager. My Mom took a group of us to Burger King and, along with my Aunt Theresa, broke into a chorus of the fame theme song, “Hold the pickle, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us … ”
This is downright humorous thinking about it now, since I threaten my own teenagers with this on occasion. But what young adult wants their mother to break into song in a crowded fast-food place in front of all their friends?
Then I recall my son’s freshman year at the high school, where I also was learning the ropes. I stood in line for over 30 minutes waiting to speak with his teacher, Mr. Douglas, and when I introduced myself, he indicated my son was not in his class. He suggested perhaps I should meet with “Mrs.” Douglas.
As I quickly stood up to leave, the remaining parents gave me standing ovation. Needless to say, since I was already late for another meeting, I never met Mrs. Douglas as I stumbled out of the cafeteria cloaked in a hue of purple. A freshie mistake, I know, but I wonder how many other parents this has happened to?
How about the young parent who has the crying baby in church? Or, worse yet, the child who just had an accident or threw up at a social event?
How about after walking the entire IKEA store and continuing to bump into people going the wrong way, when you realize you weren’t following the BIG directional signs on the floor and shopped the entire store backwards?
Has your car ever broken down right at the drive-through window? Or, have you ever been ”that” shopper whose, ah, personal item takes three employees and a manager to finally ring up on the cash register properly?
Embarrassing moments also may be a time to learn from your mistakes.
If you tripped in your 4-inch heels at a black-tie event, maybe consider wearing flats or choose to drink a non-caffeinated beverage next time.
Maybe you had an awkward moment when you are surprised with an award and were expected to sound intelligent but all that came out of your mouth was nothing that made sense or made you sound deserving of any honor. This is where you may want to practice your public speaking or simply just say, “thank you,” next time.
Some ideas for dealing with embarrassing moments for any age may be to just take a deep breath and walk away from the situation. Or, when appropriate, just laugh, laugh and laugh some more… What else can you do?
You also could make it more humorous by following your faux pas with a comment like, “Yeah, I do all my own stunts,” if you happen to fall off a chair during a board meeting.
The best thing about being embarrassed for me, is that, once I get past my red-hot face and think about it for a while, I just realize that I now have another amusing story to tell … and I can always use some fresh material.
Kathy Kane is business manager and co-publisher of the Trenton Trib. Contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (734) 676-0850. Comments and story ideas also can be mailed to the Trib at P.O. Box 213, Trenton, MI 48183.