You know all those embarrassing things we do but try to forget ever happened? Yeah, I call those “derp moments.” I’ve racked up quite a few of them in my day, which is why I’ve devoted an entire category to them (and it’s not just for me, I hope I get to share others’ as well!). So, why would I willingly tell things most people try to repress? Because doing stupid stuff is our M.O. as humans, and sharing our foibles is one way we connect with each other. Plus, they’re just plain funny. That’s the benefit of distance, I guess: I no longer feel the embarrassment, I just see the humor.
Here’s my first installment for you, straight from 1987:
The summer after 6th grade, I played softball with the local community league. It was something I did for six summers in a row, but this was my most memorable one. (Well, aside from the year I hit that triple. I can still feel the bat connecting with that pitch…)
Anyway, at the end of the season, it was commonplace for the coach to throw a party for the team. Luckily for us, Mr. K. lived in an upscale neighborhood and they (he had a daughter on the team) had a large house with a pool. It really was one of the biggest houses I’d ever been in at the time.
I had just gone inside to change into my swimming suit, but once done, I got turned around in the lower level somehow and could not figure out how to get back out. I knew it opened up to the patio somewhere, as I had just come in that way, but all I saw was one dark hallway after another. (And if you’ve ever been inside on a really bright, sunny day, then you know how dark the interior of a house can seem in comparison.)
I was already feeling the low thrum of panic as I tried to figure out how I was going to get out of this confusing maze of hallways and dead ends. Luckily, that’s when I spotted it: the piercingly bright outline of the patio doors – they were straight ahead! And open, too, because I could once again hear the boisterous voices of my teammates and the sounds of splashing water.
Excited and relieved that I’d finally found the exit, I broke into a run. And I thought that’s all there’d be to it, too, except the next thing I knew, I was on my hands and knees outside on the patio. Everyone had fallen silent and no less than a dozen pairs of eyes were watching with a mixture of amusement and shock.
Had I tripped? Maybe, but I like to think I would have remembered doing that. Then I looked down. Underneath me was the patio screen door, with its black material and black frame. (Remember what I said about summer lighting?) In my haste to get outside, I had simply run “through” it, pulling it off its tracks and landing on top of it – right in the middle of the party.
And if that wasn’t humiliating enough, then the coach’s wife leaned over and said, “Oh, don’t worry – the dog does that all the time.”
Yes, thank you, because that just made it so much better.