Monday, December 12, 2005

Some humiliations are meted out by fate itself.

If I do something weird or wrong and get caught-out in public that can be funny. But the tragic ones occur by misperception. This one just happened to me. I was on my morning break in the snack bar sitting with my co-workers. Pete returned just today from his trip to Hawaii. He brought chocolate covered macadamia nuts and ginger candy.

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!


Blogger nicolas said...

I think all kids have a story like that.

One time I was having a mild argument with my stepmom about something that probably didn't matter (I was ten or eleven at the time). This argument involved me mainly saying "You're wrong" or "Uh-uh!", which is the most intelligent responses that one can think of when one chooses to engage in a verbal debate with someone who is much smarter than oneself (NOTE: I still have these kinds of responses-perhaps it's time I stopped disagreeing...nah.).

Anyhow, during this exchange, I said "You couldn't!", perhaps a little too enthusiastically. My stepmom's face immediately got very red, and I was promptly slapped across the face.

"WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY!", she said in the emphasized, low tone of voice that says very clearly that one is in, for lack of a better term, a deep pile o' poo. I should note, I hate it when people say this, because obviously what you just said is very bad, and now they ask you to repeat it.

I was completely befuddled. What had I just said? Voice rising with fear and anxiety, I said (apparently more clearly) "I said you could not!"

Terri immediately looked embarassed, and apologized for slapping me. "What did you think I said", I asked.

That day, I learned about the dirtiest word around. What word is it? MENTALLY-don't do this out loud, because you may be slapped-say the words "you couldn't" clearly in your head. Now say it really really fast. Now say it fast, being sure to eliminate the "ld" and making first part sound more like a u sound. Got it now? Still don't have it? Eliminate the "old" from the word. There you go.

The funny part about this is that even after my stepmom explained what I had said, I still didn't know what the word meant. I think the revenge I got was my stepmom having to explain to me exactly what the word was, which is extremely awkward.

And Jon...I know just the gift for you when next we meet. :D Oh wait...that would make me a real...jerk! I would be a jerk if I did that!

7:49 AM, December 13, 2005  
Blogger Jonny10 said...

Yay!! Nick's gonna buy me some beef jerky!

Seriously though. I still have plenty. You saw how big that container was. It's on my desk here at work right now. I decorated it with some industrial stickers like good old Mad Martigan. It was a Christmas present in 2001 and I have more than halfway to go on it.

7:57 AM, December 13, 2005  
Anonymous Krys said...

Jon, you are TOO hilarious!! I love your stories!!


7:32 PM, December 13, 2005  
Blogger Joe said...

I once taught my economics students an interesting lesson.

We were talking about the fall of the Soviet Union. I hypothesized that the people of the Soviet Union overthrew their government because of the terrible standard of living at the time, due to a lack of consumer goods (you know, like food).

On the board, I wrote "USSR S.O.L." As I started to make a down arrow showing that the Standard Of Living had declined, students started giggling. Apparently, S.O.L. means something else to them. Either way, same lesson!

12:43 PM, December 15, 2005  

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