Whoa. Intern Rachel and I have had the hardest time narrowing down the entries in last month's "Sheer Embarrassment" contest. I invited readers to share their most embarrassing summer stories (I shared my "I peed my pants at Epcot" story) and the one that made us laugh the most would win.
There were a ton of entries. Y'all have some really humiliating stories! We got it down to two really great stories, and neither Intern Rachel nor I are able to choose the winner. We decided to have Stephanie over at Lulu*s choose. All of the stories were stomach clutching/ tears from laughing hilarious, but alas, we had to narrow it down, so we finally got it down to these two. Get ready to laugh...
Katie B.- "Bugging Out"
My first professional job out of college was working as the Head of Interpretation for a butterfly conservatory. And it was there, surrounded by beautiful nature, that I experienced an unmatched level of personal, political, and underpants-based shame.
First, a little bit about our outfits, as it's pertinent to the embarrassment that follows. Everyone on staff had to wear what we deemed "safari" clothing - dark shorts and a khaki shirt. However, the shirts had all been ordered in men's sizes. I don't know if you've ever considered this particular employment ratio before, but not a lot of guys end up working with butterflies. Go figure... So here was a staff of women, all stuck wearing shirts far too big for their frames. I ended up in the XL size, with shoulder seams drooping down near my elbows and a collar large enough to stick a second neck out of.
One day, only a few weeks after I began working, the Premier of our province was visiting and myself and some other staff members were tasked with giving him and his entourage a tour. Everything was going swimmingly until I suddenly felt something *thud* onto my shoulder. Let me back up for a moment and tell you one of the dirty secrets of all zoos, aquariums and live-animal exhibitions: we have cockroaches. It's a problem that's almost unavoidable and very hard to control, and wherever you have animals and food and poop and water, you get roaches. Anyway, back to my *thud* - can you guess where this is going?
A giant (and I do mean giant - we bred 'em big in the tropical conservatory) cockroach had fallen from the greenhouse ceiling onto my shoulder. Every fiber of my being wanted to jump, scream, and flick it off, but the determination to impress the premier coupled with the desire not to lose my job kept me calm. And, thank goodness, no one else had seen the cockroach land on me. I slowly and oh-so-casually reached over to brush the roach off my shoulder when, obviously sensing the impending flick, the offending insect scurried up and then into my collar and down inside my shirt. Because we wore our shirts tucked in (good little safari-goers that we were), there was no place for the cockroach to go. Well, no place to go but down into my pants.
And that's just where the cockroach went. Into my pants and then, by some cruel twist of navigational fate, into my underpants. I'm proud to say I had made it to age 22 without ever having anything of the six legged variety in the vicinity of my lady bits, and I hope none of you ever have to experience that feeling, because OH MY GOD!!!
Since I couldn't risk having a prominent political figure see a roach crawl out of my shorts, I excused myself and slowly, oh-so-slowly, began walking towards the staff restroom. I was determined to make it the 100 yards without a) squishing the cockroach or b) encouraging the cockroach to do anymore exploration.
I don't believe I've ever ripped off my clothing as quickly as I did once I was safe inside the restroom stall. The cockroach flew out, smacked against a wall, and I shook out my shorts for a good five minutes before becoming brave enough to put them back on. And that evening, you can be sure I took all my uniform shirts home to begin altering the necklines.
Sarah G.- "Clowning Around"
One summer in college, I got a job as a "Children's party entertainer"... better known as a birthday clown.
I didn't actually KNOW when I applied that I would be a clown... I saw a hiring poster at my school that said they were looking for girls with "who love to be the center of attention, are good with kids, and had a great smile." More importantly, the poster offered $50 an hour, so I gave it a shot and got the job.
As a clown, I'd be hired by various moms and dads around town, and I'd go to the houses of said parents and put on a show (magic tricks, face paint, the works, really). For customer service reasons, I always tried to call the parents ahead of time and ask for directions to the house... this is where this particular party went wrong.
I called the mother on Monday, for a party to take place Saturday. This party was a town over from mine, so I specifically warned her over the phone that I wasn't too familiar with the area. "Ohh, it's easy!" she insisted, "It's just right off the freeway you won't have any trouble at all!" Lies.
So on Saturday, I got dressed in my clown outfit... a big hot pink clown afro wig, a rainbow striped jumpsuit with a huge metallic purple neck ruffle, and glittery pink hearts on my face. The face paint doesn't cover my entire face like most clowns, just simple hearts on each cheek, so I'm recognizable to someone who'd know me. I set out 45 full minutes early for the party that was (according to MapQuest) 30 minutes away. When I got to the town where I was supposed to be, I was looking for a certain street (We'll call it "Sam Road") and I couldn't find it to save my life. I went up and down the street I'm on (Highway 20, for all intents and purposes) several times before calling the mother hosting the party at ten minutes until start time.
"Hey, this is your party clown... I think I'm just a teensy bit lost but I'm really close to your house, do you think you could help me get there? I'm at the intersection of Highway 20 and Highway 70 going north."
"Oh yeah, not a problem at all! Just keep going straight on 20, you're nearly there!"
So I did.
I continued straight, still looking for Sam Road, until I drove into the next town... and I kept continuing until I reach a dead end. So I called them back.
"Uhm, hey... I kept going like you said, and I'm at a dead end? Are you sure that's right?"
"Hm. Well just look for a Wendy's and an Applebee's. You must've missed the turn! Stay on the line and tell me what you see."
So I did.
I reach the same intersection where I first called... "I'm on Highway 20 at the intersection of Highway 70 going south now... are you sure this is right?"
"Oh yes of course! Just go straight!"
By now I was getting frustrated... and fifteen minutes late for the party. I went up and down Highway 20 for another 15 minutes before finally the frustrated mom says, "Look, I don't know where the heck you are, you're going to have to stop at a gas station and ask."
So, reluctantly, I did.
I considered de-clowning myself before entering the gas station... but by this point I was already 30 minutes late and quickly losing tip money, so I didn't think I'd have time to change back if I did, and wiping off the painted hearts would have been a pain anyway.
As I'm walking in in costume, I got some stares, but I'm used to it. The outfit is, after all, designed to make people laugh. But when I walked in the door of the gas station, my stomach dropped. Standing at the counter working was my ex-boyfriend. He and I had broken up rather messily a year or so before, and since then we'd been out of touch completely. If I had any way to know he'd be working at a gas station a town away, I would've picked somewhere, anywhere else to stop and ask directions. Of course I wouldn't have any such luck. No turning back now, though, so I went up to the counter and desperately attempted to alter my voice just a little.
"Uh, uhm, excuse me sir... could you tell me how to get to Sam Road?"
"Oh yeah, just turn left at the light up here... it's labeled Highway 70."
I HAD BEEN AT THE INTERSECTION THE ENTIRE TIME AND THE MOM ON THE PHONE HAD NO IDEA.
Trying to hide my anger at the mother and joy of making it out of this gas station successful disguised from my ex, I said, "Oh! Okay. Thank you sir."
I turned to walk out the sliding door; I was so close to making it out safe, when I heard my ex call from the counter,
"Why don't you wave at the surveillance camera? Cute costume, by the way, did you wear that for me?"
No no no.
He had me on tape. In a pink wig and an insanely unflattering jumpsuit. Asking for directions to a road only a block away.
I arrived at the party 45 minutes late. The mother insisted I cut $30 off my pay for making her wait, then wouldn't let me leave on time. Tips were out of the question.
I've never checked YouTube for my gas station appearance, I'm too ashamed. I can only hope he wasn't able to take the tapes home, and could only replay them again and again for his own amusement.
Adding insult to injury: I was fired from the Clown job a week later when the mom complained to my boss.