Some humiliations are meted out by fate itself.
To set the scene, the snack bar is off of a hallway. No, check that; it is off of a HALLWAY. The aisle is a quarter mile long and runs the entire length of the plant. It is capacious enough to accommodate the passage of forklifts, pallet jacks and departments of people all at the same time. My group invariably sits at the first table we come to so we are thus right by the HALLWAY.
I accept the proffered treats and the chocolate covered nut goes down sweet and smooth. Then I bite down into the ginger candy. Let me take a moment to describe for you the experience before I announce the tragic consequences. You see the effect the candy had lead to my reaction and the forthcoming misunderstanding.
When I was younger I was placed in the charge of the neighbor lady because my parents were out and I often played with her son. Once while trying to impress the fellow I announced that if I were to be thrown in a snowbank naked I wouldn’t care. His mother heard me and gasped. And the gasp was not the kind I had expected, sheer admiration for my macho devil-may-care, but rather the lady had taken offense. I was informed that we do not use such language in that family. As she marched me to the bathroom I replayed my declaration mentally and could find no curse-word therein. She produced a bar of soap and informed me that she was going to clean my mouth out with it. Puzzled, I asked which was the offending word and found out it was “naked.” To this day I maintain that naked is no swear, but the soap I got nonetheless. In protest I had planned to bite a chunk out of her soap as soon as it entered my mouth, but the soap was very strong and I did not have the fortitude to carry out my plan. I mention this story only to note that if she had taken the time to sprinkle sugar over that strong soap she would have very closely approximated the flavor of ginger candy.
Flash forward, back to the snack bar by the HALLWAY. As I bite down and tear off a piece of the ginger candy the flavor hits me and I scream. YYYYOOOOO! (The multiple o’s signify the length of time I was saying ‘yo.’ they are to be read as such, not rhyming with ‘you’.) It sounded very like Bill Paxton’s character in the movie Aliens when he discovered the missing colonists. I follow that with a Stoogeian headshake and lip blubber all the time sounding a high note. I look up and all of my colleagues are staring at me like I am a pervert. I look further up into the HALLWAY and see a pretty young woman has just walked past the table.
Did I mention that my wife works in the same building as I do and we take breaks and lunch together? She sits across from me shaking her head.
I pointed at the ginger candy. Somehow words wouldn’t come. That’s the hardest I have ever made my boss laugh in 3 or so years of working here. He said that he had never seen my face so red. I hope the gal didn’t hear me or knew I wasn’t hooting at her like some construction worker. Sheesh!