Monday, February 14, 2011

Small Humiliations: Part VIII

When he was in college, a friend of mine once found himself in urgent need of a bathroom. He rushed to the nearest men's room, which he was delighted to find empty. Once in a stall, chaos ensued, but he naturally felt better. It wasn't until he reached for toilet paper that he truly felt sick.

Empty. Horror of horrors, considering the explosive episode that had just occurred. There was no one to ask for assistance, and to make matters worse, he couldn't do a quick, pants-less shuffle to another stall without exposing his naked rear to the open doorway and countless potential passersby. Plus, he didn't have time to simply air-dry. In his despair, he put his head in his hands.

And that's when he saw it. His checkbook (remember when people wrote checks?) hanging out of the back pocket of his jeans. In a flash of inspiration, he did what any man with limited options would: tore out his carbon checks and proceeded to wipe his ass with them.

Talk about flushing your money down the toilet.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Small Humiliations: Part VII

A few years ago, my sister was dating this guy who was a runner. Actually, he was the first of two runners that we would both come to regret ... her for wasting time caring about jerks, and me for wasting several perfectly good Saturdays standing on the side of marathon routes.

However, if one (and only one) good thing came of this first relationship, it was the following story. If you've ever had any in-depth conversations with runners, you'll know that you hear super disgusting things about how people's digestive tracts react to 26.2 miles and the various ways that competitors deal with their particular situations. This one's not too graphic, just embarrassing, which makes it perfect.

Evidently this guy was out training one day, and as he ran, his stomach started to feel a little iffy. He was alone on a stretch of road. Another mile passed, and he felt worse, so he thought he could just pass some gas. What happened instead was that a solitary turd popped out the bottom of his running shorts and fell on the highway behind him.

At this point in telling the story, he said, and I quote, "So I laid a road apple. I was like, what am I, a parade pony?"

But sometimes, when things have suddenly turned to crap, there's no fixing it. You have to keep running forward. Just ask my sister.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Small Humiliations: Part VI

One fine autumn evening, my sister and a friend attended an outdoor dance with a Halloween theme. Upon spying someone familiar in the crowd who was dressed as Satan, my sister's friend ran up and proceeded to talk, joke, and good-naturedly harrass the person. That is, until a very unfamiliar voice came from within the mask.

"Do you know who I am?" the person asked.

My sister's friend paused, now unsure of her visual ID. "Uh, yeah."

"Who am I, then?" the person persisted.

Realizing her mistake, my sister's friend replied matter-of-factly, "Duh, you're the devil."

And then she ran away.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Small Humiliations: Part V

My phone debacle from the last entry in this series reminded me of a similar gaffe made by someone near and dear to me, my lovely sister. I hope she doesn't mind my retelling it here. And if she does ... well, too late.

A few years ago, we were both home for Easter, and we were dyeing eggs together one evening. As usual, we were having a good time and getting sillier by the minute. When the phone at our parents' house rang at about 10:00, she assumed it was a friend of hers from high school who was also home for the holiday.

So, when she picked up the call, she said in her sexiest, sultriest, breathiest voice, "Peter Rabbit speaking."

And then, I wish I had video of the shock on her face when she realized it was not her friend, but someone from my mother's office calling with a work question.

It runs in the family, I guess.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Small Humiliations: Part IV

When I first moved to the Twin Cities, I worked retail for about a year. As part of my job, I answered the phone. This is in addition to dusting, straightening, restocking, gift wrapping, counting out the tills, and taking out the trash (I didn't have a job where I wasn't responsible for the garbage until I was 26). Oh, and I also got to call 911 after the occasional skateboarding punk tossed a lit firecracker into the store, since I was a supervisor who made 50 cents more than the other clerks.

But I digress. The crux of this little story is the phone. One afternoon, I received a call for another employee, whom I knew was on break. I told the caller this and put her on hold.

The phone rang again. This time, it was an employee I was good friends with who wanted someone to check the work schedule for her. I put her on hold as well. And then, because I couldn't resist making a joke, I picked up the receiver and proceeded to sing my own rendition of call-waiting music to my friend.

The song I chose? "The Girl from Ipanema."

I don't know why this was my go-to tune, other than it seems appropriately Muzak-ish. But I wasn't really singing, just "doot-doot"-ing.  As in "Doot doot doot doot, doot doo-doot doo-doot ..."

I think I got almost to the chorus before the person on the other end, the first person I'd put on hold, the person on LINE ONE and not LINE TWO, said, very confused, "Uhhhhhh ... so is Chris there or not?"

Realizing I'd just made a complete ass of myself by humming sweetly and happily into a complete stranger's ear, I was at a loss for an adequate explanation. I think I simply replied, "Um, yep" and gingerly placed the receiver back in its cradle.

But that's the kind of employee I am. Always willing to go the extra mile. Even if it means digging into my limited repertoire of 1960s bossa nova music for random people's entertainment.