Monday, February 25, 2013

My Most Embarrassing Moment

Not my actual bum or pants. 

One night, whilst in college, I went out on a first date with a girl named…hmmm… It started with an E. (I cared for her, deeply, as you can see.) Elaine? Elizabeth? Anyway, we were walking through a park, fairly close together, but with our hands in our jacket pockets, as it was a fall evening, and the weather was pleasantly cool. When out of the blue, Ellen says, “Tell me your deepest, darkest secret.”

I did not care for this.

Firstly, I had known Ester for about two days. Who was she to demand to know my deepest, darkest secrets? Was I to automatically trust this attractive – though virtually unknown – woman at face value? A woman who had not shared her deepest, darkest secret with me? A woman who found it perfectly acceptable to walk through a park and consider it a date? A woman whose name started with an E? (Edie? Electra? Ebony?)

But secondly, and most importantly…I didn't have any deep, dark secrets. Unless you counted my extensive Huey Lewis & the News CD collection. (And I didn't.)

I’ll never know what Edwina was probing for that day. But I have attended a number of social gatherings since then where people play such “get-to-know-you” games where you are required to recount, in great detail, information you would not normally or casually put on display. “Deep, dark” information, as it were. Only now it is masqueraded as “What’s your most embarrassing moment?”

Well, I happen to have one.

It was early summer, 1993. If memory serves, Rod Stewart couldn't remember if he’d told us lately that he loved us, Tom Hanks was having difficulty sleeping somewhere in Washington state, and I was dating a lovely young woman from Salem, Utah. Danielle.

With BYU located not too far from Salem, we would occasionally go visit Danielle’s family for some dining and dancing. (Mostly dining.)

On this particular weekend, her family’s ward, the Salem 984th Ward, was having a barbecue in a nearby canyon. I am a big fan of both barbecues and canyons, so I was excited to go.

It was still early enough in the summer that it was quite cool up the canyon, so there was a roaring fire to take off the chill. I had helped Danielle’s little brother get a plate of food, and he went off to sit by his sister on a log by the fire. I got my own plate and, not seeing a place to sit, remained standing as I ate on the other side of the fire, straight across from Danielle and her little brother.

There was a large turnout of people, and there were conversations taking place all over the camping area; though most people didn't drift too far from the fire. I had chatted with a few pleasant folks, making nice and quashing rampant rumors about our impending engagement.

I was finishing the last of my barbecued chicken and preparing to throw my plate in the fire, when I felt an odd sensation around my…uhm, derriere. It was a hand. At first it was cupping my bum, but then it began to rub it. And rub it. And rub it. It was as if my bum was a lamp, and they were expecting Robin Williams to appear. Alarmed, my eyes searched across the fire for Danielle. Not that it would have been okay if Danielle was doing this to me, but she was really the only familiar person there. 

Slowly, as if I were being held at gunpoint, I turned and looked to my left. There, facing away from me…was a total stranger. She was probably mid-forties, long hair, mother of five. And her right hand was now stuffed into the back pocket of my jeans. She had clearly mistaken me for somebody else – her tall, firm-bummed husband, for example. Unsure of what to say, but confident this was going to end no other way than badly, I didn't say anything.

I stood there staring at her, waiting for her to turn and make eye contact with a man who she did not know. A man who was not comfortable with the whereabouts of her hand. A man who did not give this stuff away for free!

Finally, she turned and realized she had been fondling the wrong bum. Oh, the horror in her eyes! The shock! In an effort to defuse the situation and bring some levity to the entire scene before she could speak, I threw my arm around her shoulder and said, “Hey, baby, you coming with me?”


Well, she had found her voice. The entire ward stopped and turned. Wards from neighboring canyon barbecue parties stopped and turned. Yes, in addition to roving hands, this woman had some lungs. But now, while her stating of the obvious should have incriminated her, I suddenly look like the visiting sick-o from outside the ward who had been going around shoving people’s hands into my back pockets.

Well, we all had a good laugh, she decided to go back to her husband, and I never visited Danielle’s family or ward again.

Edwina, if you’re still out there, I have a story for you now.

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