I've had a great many embarrassing moments in my life. Some of
the most embarrassing have occurred while I was attending school. One
of these moments happened in high school during my junior year. I
remember it well because it concerned an event that I deeply feared I
would encounter during my formative years: a high school dance. Not
that I was a poor dancer. Nothing of the sort! It was just that I had
to do it with girls. Later in life, I found out that if I had to do
it, doing it with girls had its advantages. But that's another story.
The scene was the high school cafeteria. The red-faced moment
occurred during a Sadie Hawkin's Day auction. There was, you see, a
particular girl attending said school who was very ugly. She was so
ugly, in fact, that we--my school compadres and I--used the word "ooglay"
to refer to her: a word that connotes outright, without-a-doubt nastiness in the looks department. Anyway, lucky me, old "parrot-beak" (as
we sometimes called her), with a great deal of fanfare and flourish,
picked me as the slob of the hour and plunked down good money to confirm
her choice. Embarrassed isn't really the word I want here. Mortified
is more like it. I was mortified, horrified, embarrassed, and downright
shocked at the prospect of attending a school dance with the Beast of
Looking back at this event with an aged eye, an eye steeped
in a broth of maturity and experience, I find that I am still
embarrassed. My embarrassment today, however, stems from the realization that never was I so cruel and heartless as I was at that auction
some thirty years ago. Often do I wonder how that girl must have felt
as the jeers and catcalls of an undisciplined mob cascaded around her.
I fervently hope that I shall never meet this girl face to face in the
present. That would surely be the most embarrassing moment of my life.