We’ve all done embarrassing things at various points in our lives. I can’t count the number of times I’ve found myself in situations wherein I was highly embarrassed. Some of us did the unthinkable in grade school by peeing our pants during the national anthem. Others ended up pissing on the floor during the national anthem because they couldn’t ask the teacher to go to the bathroom. A few select people may have even barfed applesauce (while pissing) all over their desk during the national anthem in third grade because they went to school with the flu.

In spite of the fact that I’m sure most of us have had embarrassing things happen to us during the national anthem (such as getting an erection or losing their virginity) not all embarrassing things happen while the national anthem plays. In fact, you might be surprised to know that getting embarrassed can happen when there is NO national anthem of any kind playing. Even monkeys know that and they sold their soul long ago to achieve their poop flinging prowess.

Don’t let his stance fool you: monkeys feel no shame.
Photo Courtesy of Marketing Pilgrim.

I remember one time, in elementary school, a “very cool” presentation of some sort took place. I forget what happened (I was probably all of 10 at the time) but some kids got some “very cool” shirts that told the world that they were “hip” with whatever “very cool” message was being spewed by the “very cool” presentation. Probably about how injecting black tar heroin into your eye ball was “not hip, dude” or some nonsense.

The thing is I wanted a “very cool” shirt because I was very “hip” with what was being said. My god, I had to be the coolest kid in the school: I knew what a Spock was and I’m sure nobody else there had ever once rolled a “saving throw.” I still don’t know what that means but I’m going to assume it somehow fits in with whatever “very cool” message the “very cool” presenters gave during their “very cool” presentation.

So, when the presenter asked if anybody “had anything they wanted to say” I rose my hand. I thought I’d get a “very cool” shirt or at the very least a “very cool” yo-yo (they had em! But they weren’t giving them out. Guess we weren’t “very cool” enough).

A “very cool” dude playing with the “very cool” yo-yo that should have been mine!
Photo Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

I got up on the podium and stared up at the hundred or so kids, parents and teachers staring back at me, dumbfoundedly. I grew up in a small town and went to a small school. Chances are literally every person there knew my name. Hell, I was related to 3/4 of the damn school.

I gulped. I didn’t really have anything to say. So, as I often do in times of panic (for some reason) I started putzing around on my legs. Often, I’ll pull up one leg like Ian Anderson but that day I spread my legs as far as they could go and went far, far down to the ground. I didn’t realize it at the time but my dad remarked on it years later.

Around then I noticed that everybody in the world was judging me for standing in front of them with nothing to say except “can I have a fucking yo-yo?!” Not that I’d have ever said that but I definitely felt that. Instead, I began to stammer out the first stupid thing that came into my beleaguered and increasingly neurotic (it only got worse from here, folks) mind.

Like this, but much less zany, I’m afraid.
Photo Courtesy of Greenberg Art.

“Uh,” I said, already on good ground, “I just wanted…to say thank you to…” to whom exactly? “All my classmates…for…being my classmates…” That was about all I could stammer out before I realized public speaking was not going to end up in my future career. I bounded off the podium and staggered back to my seat in the bleachers to thunderous applause. My friend Justin’s mom was apparently in tears about the whole thing, as were my parents.

They were TOUCHED by what I’d said! I got a pat on the back by my dad later in the day while my teacher congratulated me on “the fine things” I had said. I hadn’t said anything of worth, of course. I believe they were congratulating me because a) they thought it was brave of me to embarrass myself so fully and b) they realized I had a head start on the embarrassments that came in life as an adult.

And I didn’t even get a “very cool” shirt out of the deal! What a gyp.

Photo Courtesy of Randy Orton.com