You want me to talk about my most embarrassing moment? Have you been spending your afternoons watching talk shows? Is that where that question came from? My most embarrassing moment; you must think I’ve spent a lifetime ranking my embarrassing moments, that I’ve got all my embarrassing moments neatly catalogued and categorized from least to most in a well-maintained file in my brain. Now I am embarrassed. I’ve done no such thing.
And how could I? Oh, I suppose if I had just a few embarrassing moments it would be easy to keep a Lettermanesque Top Ten list. But I’m awash in embarrassing moments. In fact, there is hardly a moment of my life that hasn’t been embarrassing.
See, even now I’m embarrassed. I misspoke in the last sentence, and I’m embarrassed all over again. I don’t like the word “misspoke.” Let’s face it, when a person says, “I misspoke,” what he or she is really saying is “I lied.” And I did lie. “There is hardly a moment of my life that hasn’t been embarrassing.” Ha! Ha! Ha! The truth is every moment of my existence has been embarrassing. There, I said it.
And now I’m embarrassed again. All this embarrassment is my problem, not yours. I shouldn’t be bothering you with my embarrassing problems. But look at me, I’m just running my mouth and acting as if you’re interested. Oh, it’s so embarrassing. What if you are interested in what embarrasses me, and I’m just pooh-poohing your concern? Now I’m embarrassed. I really hate it when I project my feelings on others. You know, when I assume you react to my running my mouth the same way I react when you’re running yours and I’m thinking, “when will you ever shut up,” and at the same time I’m trying to look concerned and interested.
Boy, that’s embarrassing. I bet you really are interested in what I have to say. I bet you are really are concerned. And there I went and told the embarrassing truth about myself. I will never be able to look you in the eye again. The moment I enter your esteemed presence, I’ll cower in embarrassment, knowing that you know I wish you’d just be quiet and let me talk.
God, this is embarrassing. “Esteemed presence,” where in the hell did that come from? Let’s be honest. Oh, I’m sorry. The only person who, to my knowledge, is being less than frank is the embarrassed, red-faced moi. See that? Before I could explain why saying “esteemed presence” embarrassed me, I further embarrassed myself by saying moi. What is moi besides a highfaluting, frenchified way of saying “me”? Why did I say moi? To make myself seem worldly, which means experienced, knowing, sophisticated. I’m embarrassed to say I had to look up worldly. I was sure it meant experienced, knowing, sophisticated. But more often than not, the surer I am about something, the greater the odds are I’m wrong. I’m embarrassed to admit I was worried that worldly might be a synonym for earthy: coarse or unrefined. Of course, I can be coarse and unrefined, but I’d be so embarrassed if you were to know that. But now I’ve told you, and I’m embarrassed yet again. And why am I embarrassed? Because I wanted you to think I’ve got savoir faire. But I’m not sure what savoir faire is. I’m so embarrassed.
Now what was I talking about? Oh, your esteemed presence. I get so embarrassed when I use terms like that. You know, just throw them in to make you think I esteem you. It’s not that I don’t hold you in esteem. I do, more or less. Why did I just say “more or less?” You don’t need to know there are times I esteem you less than others. No wonder I’m so embarrassed all the time.
Wait a minute! Hold the presses! Oh, for Pete’s sake, how embarrassing is that? Nobody shouts “Hold the presses” these days. I might as well have “I’m a geezer” tattooed across my forehead. There must be some Gen X equivalent for “hold the presses,” but, I’m embarrassed to say, I don’t what it is.
And now I’m embarrassed because I can’t remember why I yelled, “hold the presses!” I mean, I know I had something cogent to say, but I can’t remember what it was. Does that ever happen to you? Does whatever it is that’s right on the tip of your tongue fall into the abyss a microsecond before you speak? Embarrassing isn’t it. But maybe that doesn’t happen to you. Maybe I’m embarrassing myself by assuming you’re as incompetent as I am. Like I said, it embarrasses me when I do that.
Maybe I ought to stop now. But what if I haven’t made myself clear? It would be so embarrassing to stop now and leave you wondering, “What the hell is that idiot talking about?” Do you have an extra minute or two? I’m sure, given a few minutes, I can make everything clear. You don’t mind, do you? Yes, you do. I can tell by that look on your face. I’m really embarrassed, thinking you have nothing better to do than listen to me embarrass myself. But maybe you’re pressed for time. I’d be so embarrassed if I found out you had something important to do and that you’re going to be late because of all my yammering.
Why don’t you tell me to shut up? Now I’ve embarrassed myself again, suggesting that you would tell someone to shut up. You’re too polite for that. Listen to me, did you ever hear anyone go on and on like this?
I’m so embarrassed.