The big game is over. The chicken wings have settled nicely on my hips and traces of deviled egg linger on my game shirt. Another football season is essentially laid to rest. What a game it was. Seattle literally took the ball and ran with it, leaving the Denver Broncos to dust themselves off, practice sticking their chins out and wonder what the heck just happened.
There were too many cringe worthy moments to list in one short blog. At some points I found myself shading my eyes with my grease smeared fingers, finding it too painful to watch the screen. From the first snap to the seemingly endless beating throughout the game, it almost seemed as if Denver was thinking, “Oh, did you want this ball? Here you go.”, and handed it over.
Got me to thinking it must be horrific to find yourself at a huge game like that and unable to perform. Once a mindset is established and you’re tumbling in that whirlpool of mistakes, it is difficult to right yourself and find your center again. In this case, finding the center simply never seemed to happen for Payton Manning. Ugh. Then you have the morning after, with all the newscasters ripping you to shreds and newspapers publishing the routing. Time to paint on a fake moustache and move to Mozambique.
I don’t know about you, but when faced with someone having an embarrassing moment, I find it difficult to look. Perhaps it is because I find myself constantly involved in something mortifying so can easily whip up some empathy for others in the same position.
In the 1980’s I attended a work-enforced class on communication. Each class was broken up into groups of about thirty. The company, a huge campus type corporation numbering about 5,000, was seeking to bring all its employees up to speed on public speaking and interpersonal relations. It was a misery. Seeking to mesh the different groups together we were separated as best as possible from our immediate work groups and comfort zones and tossed in largely with people we didn’t know, making an uncomfortable situation much more so.
On the first day we were broken up into pairs. Our first assignment was to stand facing one another. One was “yes” and the other “no”. Yes began by quietly saying just that, to which no was to respond in kind. All good. Then, yes was to take it up a notch and get slightly more forceful and louder to which no would respond. In the end thirty adults were standing in a conference room screaming yes and no at one another and watching blood pressures soar. I must admit it was an interesting experiment in communicating with one another. It didn’t matter what we were saying, it was how we were saying it. I found by the time we were asked to cease and desist I was thinking about jumping my “no” in the parking lot after class and beating her about the head with the manual.
On the second day of five, we gathered in front of the instructor who was now armed with a video camera. Oh, goody. It wasn’t enough we had to humiliate ourselves, now they were going to capture the moment in film. Definitely, I needed to hone up my resume. Told to get in a long line, one at a time we were asked to run up in front of the camera and make total asses of ourselves. Sounds easy, yes? We’ve all done it a million times without even trying. Funny how difficult this becomes with thirty eyes watching you and a camera rolling. Gave me some understanding of why actors make the big bucks. Vice presidents were hopping around like bunnies, district managers pulling at the sides of their mouths while sticking their tongues out, and HR guru’s making pig faces. I wish I had sneaked a camera in myself that day, there was big money to be made.
Once we had suitably humbled ourselves, we were taken to a local mall by bus. There we were asked to stop people passing by and ask completely ridiculous questions with obvious answers, like “have you seen my shoes?”, when they were settled in quite nicely over our socks on our feet, or approach the cashier at McDonald’s and order won-tons with a side of shrimp fried rice.
It was five days I wish to forget. I learned as the end result of my time there, though something might feel horribly embarrassing at the time it is occurring, in the scheme of things it’s but a grain of sand in a massive litter box of human error. The mantra with the instructors was, “what’s the worst that can happen”? I never utter those words, there’s usually a natural disaster immediately following. After completing the course, I did find I could speak more comfortably in front of large groups of people without having to picture them all naked, not always the best way to proceed.
Thinking back I remember some embarrassing moments I shared with other humans. There was the gentlemen who taught an afternoon seminar I attended on fund raising with a sheet of toilet paper plastered to the seat of his pants. A young woman who walked through a huge room of fully occupied drafting tables with a toilet seat cover and her skirt tucked into her nylons. Certainly as evidenced by this blog, I’ve got stories of my own to tell.
In my twenties my husband bought me a new car, a Toyota, Corolla. My commute took me about an hour and fifteen minutes from home, so in an effort to make me road ready in an emergency we had a weekend short course on how the engine worked, changing the oil, and finally changing a tire, something I’d never done before. Fine, but aren’t men for that?
Back then I showed up for work in the morning in a dress or a suit and heels. Women didn’t have the choices they have today. Pants were only allowed in coordinated pants suits, the worst fashion statement since Nehru jackets. At any rate, after work I was on the middle leg of my trip which took me through an industrial area. As if preordained my left rear tire blew. Limping to the curb, I surveyed the damage and popped the trunk, thinking “I’ve got this”. Ah, pride does goest before the fall”.
In heels and a fitted skirt it was significantly more challenging to get the jack working, maintain some decorum, and remove the flat tire. Somehow I did it, attracting a lot of attention from passing traffic. Placing the new spare where the blown tire had been, I turned to retrieve the lug nuts. The car, seeming to sense this was not going to end well, removed itself from the jack and captured the brand new tire hostage as it leaned on one side slicing a large gash in the rubber. Sigh.
A truck driver pulled over behind me. Scratching his head (why are people always doing that in my presence?) he approached me cautiously, at first standing and staring at the carnage without speaking. Finally he asked me what I thought I was doing. Hmmmmm. Well, obviously I’m changing a tire. In the end I learned a good lesson. If you do it wrong the first time, you won’t be asked to do it again. Haven’t changed a tire since.
I got this recipe from a southern cookbook my mother brought back from her visit to Savannah. How I would love to go there someday and see that irrepressibly romantic city for myself. This reminds me a bit of a poor man’s pecan pie. Particularly delicious warmed with a large helping of freshly whipped cream and a dusting of powdered sweet chocolate.
1 8″ pastry shell, unbaked
1 ripe banana, sliced thin
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup melted butter, cooled
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 6 oz. pkg. semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1/3 cup caramel ice cream topping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Slice banana. Place of bottom of uncooked pastry shell.
Combine sugar, flour, butter, eggs, vanilla, pecans, and chocolate morsels. Mix well to blend. Turn into unbaked pastry shell on top of sliced banana. Bake for 35 mins. Remove from oven and coat top with caramel ice cream topping. Serve with whipped cream.