There’s something about public humiliation that really tests your mettle as an adult human being in ways that nothing else can. And I’m not talking minor humiliations, like say – farting in public, or speaking to a neighbor I’ve known for 3 years and addressing her throughout the conversation by the wrong name, or congratulating a friend on being pregnant when, in fact she is not! That last one I’ve done twice now and both times the recipients of my enthusiastic gushings have been women who probably weighed 100 lbs soaking wet!
Some humiliations are situation dependent and expected. For instance, an annual visit to the ob/gyn necessitates the girding of loins to get through the stirrup-tastic and specul-amazing experience of being poked and prodded in one’s lady parts without the benefit of at least a cursory getting-to-know-you drink. Similarly, childbirth is rarely that miraculous, soft focused, melodious, sepia-tinted montage that is shown during movies. More often than not it’s the slow and steady decline of a rational, capable, intelligent woman into the most animal part of her brain as various health care “professionals” examine her and a fully formed human being explodes out of her nether regions. What follows is no less dehumanizing as lactation consultants -aka Nipple Nazis – and the previously mentioned explosive baby now proceed to treat the mother like a dairy farm on legs.
But some humiliations are the stuff that serve as fodder on YouTube and America’s Funniest Videos. And normally you can see them coming a mile away and they follow predictable equations:
Kid+blindfold+pinata+metal bat = Ball busted hapless spectator, or Baby+enthusiastic-swinging+laughing adult = violent-upchucking-in-face.
Here is my equation: Me+flat-surface+walking/jogging/running/trotting = face-plant-in-street-ass-over-backwards! Just in the last 5 years this has happened to me outside a sub shop, walking to class, walking to work, and on a basketball court. When I told my mom, she hypothesized with all seriousness and maternal concern – “maybe it’s because you have weak ankles that aren’t meant to support a body of your current weight“. I love her for the brutal honesty – I just wish she would dial back the brutal a bit ;-)!
But on the 4th of July weekend I took the equation to Vaudevillian heights. It’s a memory I’m going to put down here and then try as hard as possible to scrub from my neural synapses and never ever revisit!
It all started very innocently when we took the kids to a local fun park with go-karts and mini-golf and batting cages one afternoon. We began with mini-golf which only resulted in a few tears and accusations of cheating – a good start. Then it was off to the go-karts for 7 circuits of looping right turns and some moderate gasoline huffing. The next activity choice caused a rift in the family with Adam wanting to do the bumper boats and Maya wanting a go-around on the go-karts. So like good parents, we split up and I took Adam to the bumper boats. We selected our round boats and proceeded to spend an enjoyable 10 minutes bumping into each other in a pond the size of a bathtub. All was going great and then … it all went to hell in a handbasket.
The pimply teenage youth manning the bumper boat station came to help us out. Adam successfully stepped from boat to dry land. Pimply teenage youth came over to me, stuck one foot on the boat to stabilize it and I attempted to clamber out. As I stepped from boat to dock, the boat started moving away from the dock s-l-o-w-l-y, and at an excruciatingly not-fast speed I tumbled in – into the bathtub sized pond – with one leg. My left leg still in the boat, my right leg in 4 feet of the scummiest greenest water known to man, my right foot trying to find some grip on the slick concrete sides, and me trying not to imagine the slimy horrors at the bottom of the pond that I was currently stepping in. Pimply youth could only gasp in horror while Adam asked – quite unnecessarily – “Mom, why are you in the water? Get out!”
In a heroic feat of core strength and hamstring chutzpah, I managed to climb out as gracefully as a one-flipper-ed sea lion on the beach, only to see that lines of people waiting to get on the bumper boats were staring at me in shock. People attempting the windmill hole in mini-golf had stopped mid swing to assess the situation with a mixture of perplexed-ness and consternation. And I heard one little boy turn to his mom and say – “See, that’s why I said I didn’t want to do the bumper boats“!! Pimply youth was apologizing furiously while probably trying not to snigger and all I could do was stand up, stick my hands in the air, and with water dripping from my sodden clothes, yell – “SUPERSTAR“! The Russian judge gave me a very low score for that dismount!
I guess the new equation is Me+any kind of motion=embarrassing pratfall that I pray to god does not end up on YouTube! On the flip side, I have learned that contrary to my own belief I, in fact, cannot walk on water!