by RICK MORTON
I was in the Very Important Meeting when my nose began to run. Not the oh-so-subtle run where a well-timed sniffle could take care of it. Oh no. The kind of run that feels like China has opened the flood gates on the Three Gorges Dam without prior warning.
A droplet formed right on my beak. Right there in front of the Very Important People. And then it fell.
Time froze. I knew everyone saw it. I’d been speaking at the time and they were all looking at me.
It fell just like that stupid silhouette does during the Mad Men opening credits. And then it hit the table and exploded. I’m pretty sure it made a noise that even the removalists in the freight elevator three hallways away could hear.
It was awkward.
But here’s the thing. I’m going to reclaim my awkward moments after the fact. We’ve all been there, usually in that public situation when something stratospherically embarrassing happens. In that very specific moment our dignity withers and wilts like a petunia thrust directly into the sun.
You feel the stares of a thousand people. Judging. Mocking. You want to dig a hole, crawl into it and fill it with lead, the better to ignore everyone for ever after.
They can be simpler, of course. Like when you say goodbye to a friend in the street and then you both end up walking off in the same direction, at the same pace. I’ve been known to concoct preposterously elaborate ‘last minute’ excuses to avoid these situations.
“Oh, I forgot, I have to go back and shut a window. It looks like storming. Next month.”
I’ll ask you yours in a moment, but don’t think I’m done just yet. Here’s a few more that spring to mind:
1. There’s the time I projectile-chewed a cracker and French Onion dip directly into the face of an exceedingly highly ranked Saudi prince during an interview on the Gold Coast. In some cultures, that’s a criminal offence I’m pretty sure.
2. One night while on night shift I absent-mindedly picked at a thread on my pants. A few moments later I looked down to find a hole roughly the size of a Mini-Minor has opened up around my crotch. I ended up stapling it together in the optimistic hope it might hold long enough to shuffle past a bank of sub-editors on my way home.
3. This one has happened approximately 14,752,987 times. You know how you try and tell that one joke in a circle of friends that is just so bad, so not funny, so awful, that everyone just stares in uncomfortable silence and it’s so quiet you can hear a mouse fart in Germany? Happens to me all the time.
4. I was an awkward child. In high school I received no less than two Valentine’s Day roses during once lunch break – anonymously, of course – and was so mortified by the thought of the attention I paid two close friends to smuggle them back to my bag like they were exotic lizards bound for black market terrariums in Burundi.
5. Every time ever in the history of all the things that I’ve found myself in conversation with a boy I fancy.
So, I’ve spilled my awkward moments. Now it’s your turn. What totally embarrassing, hilariously awkward little moments do you remember?