Embarrassing Moments


Add a Story, Photo or Pict-Oral Memory about an embarrassing moment to your Legacy Portfolio

Have you ever seen the Youtube footage of former President Gerald Ford as he tripped and fell down the steps of Air Force One?  My mother-in-law calls those moments "hummers," and when we see or hear of somebody else's, it can help us laugh about our own. A friend and I experienced awful embarrassing moments when we began our first jobs in New York City.


In the late 1970s, we read the newspapers classified section for employment opportunities. The jobs that featured great appeal were often placed by employment agencies. And when Joni interviewed for one, she was hired to work as an agent. I marveled. She’d now evaluate and match other’s skills. It was like being plucked off a police lineup and given the seat of a Supreme Court judge.

After training, she traipsed through the agency, conferring with coworkers and applicants when she noticed people staring. Perhaps it was her confidence, or she’d had a good hair day. When she arrived to the far end of the office, a co-worker whispered, “Pssst! Look behind you… your skirt is tucked into your stockings. She was a good sport after the initial shock and horror wore off. And while I almost died laughing as she described it, my time would have been better spent preparing for my own impending hummer.

Nothing bolstered confidence like the sharp navy blue suit and white blouse I wore as I descended into the subway, located in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York.

In summer, the heat rose up the stairwell, like an inferno of molten makeup remover. The subway car itself felt like every clothes dryer in New York was vented through the air ducts. That was good for hair frizz. I removed my suit jacket as I boarded and walked through the connecting cars to the opposite end of the train. When the train stopped in New York City, I was then closer to the right exit.

People stared and smiled as I passed, which was odd for city commuters any time of day, but especially morning. It was a sign from the universe that I was about to have a great day!

When I arrived in the last car, I collapsed into my seat. The man who sat opposite leaned over and whispered: “Ma’am, your blouse is open.” I thanked him, buttoned up, and never made eye contact again. Then I rode the express bus for a month.

What were your humbling or embarrassing experiences, and how did you recover from them? A shared reflection can offer heirs and future generations solace as they peek through the window into the faux pas we’d all like to avoid.

Embarrassing moments could be categorized into social strengths, personal, family, other. Acknowledging how you manage those less than stellar experiences can also provide valuable information and demonstrates an essential survival skill: a sense of humor.


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