Month: January 2010

  • naughty christmas card

    There comes a time in every child’s life when it’s time to cut the apron strings and buy your own Christmas cards. For me, that would have been about the time I was, say 14 or 15. Doesn’t really matter. Being the multi-tasker that I am, I picked my cards up one day while I was shopping at the mall. Spencer’s had some on sale. Cute little picture of 2 bears on the front. The inside said “It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.” Some of you may already have got the punch line. Just keep reading. The next weekend, I began to hand some of my Christmas cards out to a few friends at church. I may have even handed one to the pastor. I have tried to block that from my memory. By Wed., the pastor’s son, who was also a good friend a just a few years older, pulled me aside. Apparantly, the two cuddly bears weren’t as innocent as I thought. Just one of many of my awkard moments. My parents still screen my Christmas cards before I send them out. Karen – FL

  • secret language

    My best friend and I like to speak to each other in what we call our “secret language” which isn’t so secret in a state where half the population speaks Spanish. But we speak this language to each other when we are sure there are only people around who don’t understand and we don’t want them to understand. So the other day we were at the local Starbucks doing our homework and there was an older couple on the couches right across the way who kept on staring at us. I could see it because it was right in front of my face but my friend couldn’t unless she looked to her right. So I felt I needed to inform her of the rude people so I tell her in our secret language “nos estan mirando” (they are staring at us) in a “how dare they” tone. I said it quite loudly the first time. So my friend mouths to me, “they probably speak Spanish” to which I reply confidently that I’m sure they don’t. …so I repeat it a few more times to her as it is annoying and distracting me. Me giving rude looks, staring back, and rolling my eyes wouldn’t stop them so I just tried to focus on my homework. Eventually they get up to leave but to my dismay they approach my friend and ask her what her shirt says. She reads them in Spanish what the shirt said (it was the name of the Christian organization we work with), and as she was about to explain what it meant, they finished her explanation already knowing the organization and language, and began to converse with us in Spanish. I didn’t say much, I only felt my face get brighter shades of red and they didn’t say much to me anyways. (They mostly looked and talked to my friend) Not only did they know people we know, they were sweet old missionaries for like 50 years. Yeah, I felt like a jerk. But I learned my lesson. I’ll never speak our secret language again in a public place if I’m talking about someone. Rachel – SC

  • gender mixup

    Back in Utah I was part of a para-military group. We’d practice marching, carrying flags, and go on evening or weekend trips assisting / presenting the flags for community activities and events. One hot summer we’d already presented the flags at the opening of the annual Scottish Games in the evening, then returned the next day to assist as needed. We had camo shirts, camo pants, black boots, and black t-shirts. It got really hot, so we were allowed to remove the camo shirts. Keep in mind I’d had my guy friends give me (girl) a military haircut, for the fun of it. So one person from our group got heat stroke. We’re hanging out at the hospital and I was standing with a few of the boys by the restrooms. I moved to enter the women’s just as a lady came out. She glanced at me and said, “Uh, this is the women’s restroom?” I grinned back and said, “I know.” She looked down at my chest, then back at my haircut, and just walked away. We all laughed about it later. Susie – MN

  • rubbers for men

    I worked as a Customer Service Manager at Wal-Mart in New Hampshire for about a year. This required me to wear a bright red vest and stand at a podium in the front center of the store, so people thought I was an information booth. One day an old man who looked a lot like Mr. Rogers approached me. He looked me straight in the eye and asked, “where can I get rubbers for men?” I was twenty years old and instantly embarrassed. I composed myself and answered with a quiet voice, “umm…I think they’re in the pharmacy.” He looked at me with horror in his eyes and exclaimed, “NOT THAT KIND OF RUBBERS! They’re for your feet.” Apparently “rubbers” is a local word for rain boots. This moment was beyond awkward for both of us, and the awkwardness reappeared every time this man came back to my small town Wal-Mart. Micah the Admin

  • holy nightmare

    Several years ago I went on a trip to The Netherlands with a small group of friends. Towards the end of our stay we decided to check out a very old church from the inside by actually attending a service. I might as well mention here that we were a group of energetic, college-aged Americans. We were late. We were under dressed. We were the only young people in the room. And every head turned as my friends noisily took their seats and tried to figure out what the heck we were all supposed to be doing. Everything was in Dutch. My friends were whispering louder than most people talk and that got us even more dirty looks from the old people. After fumbling to keep up with a few hymns and reading aloud in unison, it looked like we were finally going to get to sit down for awhile. Except that I couldn’t sit, something was wrong with my bench and I had to perpetually kneel on the prayer stool at a weird angle. My friend Rick, who apparently does not have a healthy reverence for the house of God, thought this would be the ideal time to find out exactly how ticklish I was. Let me tell you now that my tickle-tolerance is a below zero. My side and my knee were attacked and I had to bite my lip and draw blood to keep from making an even bigger scene. My whispered pleas and threats were disregarded, and by this time the priest was making eye contact with me. I didn’t know priests were even capable of giving “the look” but this guy certainly was. I don’t know what was worse: the fact that I was making a scene against my will or the fact that none of my friends seemed to think anything was amiss. Now it was time for communion. I shuffled into the line and tried to see ahead and figure out what I was supposed to do. But Dutch people are very tall. And I couldn’t even see past the person in front of me. Too soon I was standing in front of the priest. I only had movies to guide me. I had watched actors hold out their hands to receive the bread, but I’d also watched them open their mouths and receive wafer deposits. I hesitated, and like an idiot opened my hands up AND my mouth. The priest looked at me funny and placed the wafer in my hand. I didn’t even bother with the wine. By this time the priest and I were on track to start dating with the amount of times I attracted his gaze, getting blamed for my friends’ insensitive behavior. The service finally closed but to my great horror the priest stationed himself at the only exit and was shaking hands. The door was not very wide, but I was so mortified by this point and did NOT want to look this guy in the eyes again, so I put my head down and walked as fast I could. So much for sightseeing. Liz the American

  • the way we talk

    Years ago I was driving through Minnesota with a van full of friends, many of whom were foreigners. We stopped at a convenient store and the clerk could not understand my friend’s New Zealand accent when she was asking for water. She tried two or three times. I jumped in to translate. “She wants water,” I laughed. And since we had so many accents flying around, I put on an exaggerated Texan drawl and said “She’s not from ’round these parts.” Inexplicably, the Minnesotan man looked up with an icy stare and said, “Don’t make fun of the way we talk, sir.” In my confusion, I think I might have apologized. Jason – OR

  • the shack

    I was always very awkward socially, so many of my interactions with peers were, well… awkward. I remember riding home with a group of girls after some school function (I was about 12), and there was an older girl who I didn’t know very well. To make conversation, I said, “I can’t wait to see where you live. My brother says you live in a tar paper shack, but I’m sure you live in a really nice house.” As we pulled up to her home, I realized my brother wasn’t joking. And that was awkward – especially for that poor girl! Laurel – NH

  • the racist

    During a summer break in high school, I took a trip with some friends. While we were in the airport waiting to board our flight, a couple of my friends started picking on me and another kid for being so white and pale. Both of us happened to be the type of people who couldn’t ever get a tan, no matter how hard we tried. I was pretty touchy about this feature of mine, so I tried to say something that would boost my self-confidence and make it look like I wasn’t bothered by them pointing out how pasty I was. I raised my fist high in the air and yelled out the first thing that came to mind,”White people rule!” As soon as I said it, I knew it was a poor choice of words. I also realized that several people at the gate had heard my exclamation and were now staring at me. I wanted to die. What was meant to be a quick comeback made me look like a racist jerk. Emily – CA

  • christmas magic

    I was window shopping in a crowded downtown a few days after Christmas with one of my girlfriends. The streets were still decorated with Christmas lights and wreaths, everyone was in a good mood because of the sales, and there was snow on the ground. Suddenly I saw what I thought at first must be a mirage: It was a tiny old man, smaller than most midgets. He had a long gray beard that flowed over his round belly, and–get this–he was wearing a green and red jogging suit with matching red earmuffs. Even though I was 29 and had been raised without believing in Santa, for one magical moment I was convinced he was one of Santa’s elves on vacation after the busy Christmas season. I pointed, loudly crying “Look! An elf!” before starting down the street after him. The tiny man took one terrified look at me and bolted across the street, disappearing into a crowd of shoppers. Everyone was looking at me like I was absolutely nuts, and my friend was embarrassed. I felt really bad for frightening the poor guy, but I still maintain that if you are tiny and look like an elf, you really have no business deceiving the childlike at heart by wearing red and green around the holidays. Rachel – NH

  • you first

    I’m a physician assistant in dermatology. One day I walked into an exam room to see a patient who was there for an upper body exam. After introducing myself, I walked to the computer to look at his chart and I stated, “Go ahead and remove your shirt.” To which he replied, “You first.” I looked at him for a while since it didn’t register to me what he was saying. He then repeated the statement as it clicked in my brain what he was talking about. It must’ve been the confused/disgusted look on my face that made him state, “Sorry, bad joke.” Amanda – Somewhere