Thursday, December 28, 2006

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

The humor of public humiliation is the gift that keeps on giving, isn’t it? Thanks to the beauty of You Tube and such, you can capture and share an awkward moment for everyone to enjoy for years to come. There are some real classics out there.

Here is a video that has made the rounds on the internet showing various moments of embarrassment, poor judgment, and some good old fashioned stupidity, all set to a little musical soundtrack. It’s not the funniest I’ve ever seen, but some of them are pretty good.

Lord knows, the soundtrack accompanying the public gaffs of my life would be a multi-CD box set. In my mind, the song accompanying the following story is always Javert’s suicide lyrics he sings just before jumping off the bridge into the swollen river in Les Miserables. A fitting tribute to a moment when I just wanted the earth to open up and swallow me whole.

I was in college and my best friend Steve, and I, had tickets for Les Mis to see the original international cast that was traveling through Denver. Gary Morris played Jean Valjean and his liquid smooth voice and crystal clear amazing tenor range held me mesmerized throughout the entire production. I was enthralled by the performance and it didn’t even matter to me that I had to sit through the three hours with my head perfectly vertical because if I leaned back at all I would knock into the sloped wall that was right behind me. We were, quite literally, in the last row of the enormous Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

For what we lacked in good theater seats we made up for in presidential parking. Steve had scored a perfect parking spot directly in front of the theater. As we left, there were still hundreds of people milling around the stage door near the main entrance when we got in the car to leave.

But Steve’s car wouldn’t start.

He drove an old beater and it just couldn’t get going that night. As luck would have it, we were parked facing the direction we needed to drive and the street was slightly sloped downward. Steve figured that there was enough of an incline that if we got the car rolling, he could pop the clutch and get it started, after which he would make the block and come back around and pick me up.

Sounded like a fine plan…until he asked me to help him push the car. Granted, I’m a big, strong girl and all, and could have easily broken spindly little Steve in two, but for the love of Broadway, I was all dressed up for the big show, wearing white from head to toe!

After enough cajoling, I finally said I’d do it. I went around back and pushed from behind while Steve pushed from the driver’s side door. We needed a break in the on-coming traffic so we waited until they were at the stop light just a mere half a block behind us. On Steve’s mark we start pushing like he-men since we had only a short time before the light would turn green again.

We got the car out into the middle of the street and it started to pick up speed. With the agility of an antelope, Steve leapt in the drivers seat and I continued pushing from the rear of the car.

Then, at the exact moment that Steve popped the clutch, started the car and roared away, the elastic in the waist of my skirt broke and my skirt fell completely to the ground in a millisecond.

Because I was pushing the car, I was running, so to avoid tripping over the skirt that was now at my ankles, I instinctually leapt out of it…and one shoe…and kept moving forward as I slowed to a stop about 10 feet from where my skirt and shoe were laying on the street behind me.

I was standing by myself in the middle of the street basically naked from the waste down.

That’s right – I was not wearing undies - only nude colored nylons. Because my skirt was a white flimsy material, I didn’t want underwear showing through so I just put on those nylons that have a “panty” at the top, but let’s just say that they don’t offer much coverage and they leave very little to the imagination.

It’s like time stood still because I was in such shock.

There were HUNDREDS of fans waiting at the stage door not twenty feet from me who erupted into applause and cheers. The red light had turned green so there were two lanes of on-coming traffic HONKING with their headlights shining right at my naked bottom half. I was truly a deer caught in headlights. I hobbled as quickly as I could on the one shoe that remained on my foot back towards my skirt that was laying in the dirty street like a puddle of white foam. I grabbed the skirt and shoe as cars WERE MAKING THEIR WAY TOWARD ME. They didn’t event let me get to the sidewalk!

I finally ran/hobbled to the side of the street, holding my skirt and shoe in my left hand, frantically waving my right hand from front to back as I was indecisively trying to shield both my naked front and back girl parts right as Steve rounded the corner to pick me up.

As he drove toward me, his eyes popped out of his head like they do in cartoons when there is an “AH – OOOOO- GA” horn blasting in the background. For a moment I feared that he might just keep driving.

Steve had been so focused on pop-starting the clutch that he hadn’t seen any of this going on in his rear view mirror. He left me for two minutes to make the block and drove up to find me naked in the street waiving my shoe around and screaming “OHMYGOD”! I can only imagine what he must have thought at the sight of it all.

Luckily he stopped, and I jumped in COMPLETELY MORTIFIED. Horns were still honking and people cheering as we drove out of sight. Because he’s like that, Steve honked his horn as we were driving away and held his hand out the window in the thumbs up position.

I was so stricken and Steve was laughing so hard that it didn’t dawn on my for about fifteen minutes that I still hadn’t put my skirt back on. I somehow managed to do so even though I had to clutch the waistband where the traitorous elastic had broken.

My only wish is that we had video taped the moment so that strangers could share my humiliation by posting it in their blogs!


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