Cringeworthy moments. You know what I’m talking about, those singular instances in your life – sometimes painful, sometimes embarrassing, always impossible to forget – that, when recalled, incite the sort of response commonly reserved for that part in the horror movie when the bad guy/monster/ghost/possessed grandmother crosses the line from horrifying to Oh-my-God-I-can’t-believe-they-just-did-that! The mere recollection can cause you to wince, curl your toes or, in my case, force the thought from my head by humming an improvised tune. It’s one of those moments in life that sears itself into your subconscious, forever threatening to rise to mind unannounced like some leviathan from the deeps or the chorus to Britney Spears’ Womanizer.
There was that time in high school I dropped off a jacket at the dry cleaner’s. As I stepped through the front door, I was instantly smitten by the girl behind the counter. She was gorgeous. So gorgeous, in fact, that I was positively tongue-tied. She prompted me for my name, the number of items I’d be dropping off. With some effort, I was able to come up with answers to both questions – then even managed a little small talk. Pleased with myself for laying the groundwork for a future relationship, I said goodbye and headed out. I went to open the door. It wouldn’t budge. “Excuse me,”I heard her say. I pulled harder. Still no go. “Excuse me,”she repeated. The last thing I needed was instructions on proper door opening. I pulled even harder. Nope. Then realized. I pushed. Ah! “Excuse me!” I could ignore her no longer. I glanced back, threw her a look as if to say: “Yeah, I got it. Thanks.” She pointed to the jacket I was still holding: “Uh, aren’t you going to leave that here?”. “Oh. Oh, right.” Every time I think of that moment, I cringe.
Or there was the time in elementary school where my gym class was setting up a trampoline. As we were unfolding the apparatus to lock it into place, it sprang back and landed on my arm, snapping the bone in two places. The palm of my hand was flattened against my wrist. It was horrific. And, every time I think of THAT moment, I cringe.
And then there was today when I was out for a walk with Bubba. He did his business and I rewarded him with a treat. I went to pick up his poop on the lawn, then turned to pick up a forlorn nugget sitting on the sidewalk – which he, for some reason, assumed was a treat I’d mistakenly dropped. He moved lightning fast, snapping it up before I could reach it. It took a couple of seconds for the realization to dawn at which point he dropped it, foaming at the mouth, and threw me a look that, I have no doubt, said: “Please, for goddsake, give me a treat so I can get the damn taste out of my mouth!” Every time I think of THAT moment, I’ll cringe.
So, what about you? Any cringeworthy moments you’d care to share?