Experiencing that moment when …

VERNON OICKLE vernon.l.oickle@eastlink.ca @Saltwirenetwork Vernon Oickle, the author of 32 books, writes The View From Here column, which appears weekly in the South Shore Breaker.



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The world is a serious place these days. Between the death of Queen Elizabeth II, rising cost of living, natural disasters caused by the climate crisis, wars in various hot spots around the world and a long list of heavy issues, most of us wonder what the future holds in store. To escape from those oppressive, sometimes smothering topics, about once a year I like to throw in a fun column just as a diversion and to break up the serious talk. For instance, just the other day while I was having a conversation with a friend about those little things in our lives that sometimes cause us big embarrassment, I thought, what a great idea for a column so here you have it. I call them some of life’s most embarrassing and frustrating moments, but I’m sure we’ve all experienced that certain moment when … You’re driving along the highway on a hot, sunny day with the window down just minding your own business and enjoying the cool air when you feel something fly through the window and hit you in the head. A few minutes later, when you just happen to look down you see that a bee has come to rest on your crotch. What do you do? Do not panic. Your first instinct is to swat it away, but then you remember you’re driving and this may not end well. You get stopped at an RCMP road check and you suddenly realize you have left your wallet at home meaning your driver’s license is also at home. All you can do is hope for a forgiving officer, plead forgiveness and promise it won’t happen again. You go to pay for your goods at the grocery store only to find you don’t have enough money in your pocket. It’s been a while since that’s happened, but can you say embarrassing? Or that moment when the tap on your bankcard won’t work and you can’t remember your PIN. Hey, so the memory isn’t what it used to be. Let’s hope you have enough cash in your pocket to pay the bill. You meet someone on the street and they immediately start talking to you as though you are a long last friend, but try as hard as you might, you just can’t remember their name. Can you say bad memory? You’re sitting in a busy restaurant, talking to a friend and you knock over your cup of coffee and the hot liquid spills all over your lap. Can you say very unpleasant experience? You’re eating in a restaurant and as you squeeze ketchup over your fries, you miss your plate and the thick, red liquid lands on the front of your light-coloured shirt. Since you’re out of town and since you don’t have a spare shirt in your car, you quickly wipe away the ketchup and hope no one will notice the red stain. And one more embarrassing restaurant moment — when you silently and indiscreetly burp following your meal and hope no one else in the establishment hears you (except maybe your wife) and everyone suddenly looks at you. Well, maybe you weren’t so indiscreet after all. You’re standing in front of a group of people when you realize your shirt is buttoned improperly. You just hope no one notices but then realize they can’t help but see it. When that happens, just ignore it and move on. Besides, what else are you going to do? After you rush and practically kill yourself to get to your appointment on time (because you can’t stand to be late) and you get there, you find out that your appointment isn’t until the next day. You think you have enough time to make it through the intersection before the yellow light turns to red, but you were wrong. Remember, yellow means slow down. It does not mean speed up. You hit the send button on the email and then immediately regret that you sent the nasty message. Piece of advice here — be very sure you want to send the message before you hit send as there’s no taking it back once it’s gone. The cyber world is very unforgiving that way. Turning to phones, it’s that moment when the person you just called answers and you immediately forget whom you called. Does it get any more embarrassing than that? Well, in fact, yes it does. You push on the door and try to walk through it at the same time, only the door doesn’t push in, it pulls out. After you’ve just washed your hands in a public washroom, you realize that not only does the hot air blower not work but also there isn’t any paper towel either. Now this is a conundrum. especially if you’re at a formal function. Who wants to shake hands with someone who has wet hands? I hate it when that happens. You’ve just realized that you’ve walked out of the washroom with a piece of toilet tissue stuck to the bottom of your shoe. Here’s a piece of simple advice — check your shoes before leaving the washroom. Worse still, you’ve walked into a crowded room with your fly open. Now, don’t deny it guys, we’ve all done it at some point in our lives. It happens. Maybe not so much with the strict pandemic rules in place, but it happens. You drop a glass jar in the supermarket and it shatters into a thousand pieces making a mess for someone else to clean up. It was an accident. Honestly! You’ve argued with your wife that you can’t find something (insert whatever item you want here), but she walks into the room and puts her hand on it in less than a minute flat. Awkward, for sure, but all you can say is “sorry, honey” and insist that it wasn’t there just the minute before because you looked for it. Really! Hold your ground. It wasn’t there. You immediately know you’ve said something in a crowded room that you realize you shouldn’t have said but can’t take it back. Okay, so as I’ve said, we all have these moments when you wish you could snap your fingers and be somewhere else. Or you wish you could hit the rewind and redo that last minute, but when life throws you an embarrassing curve ball, all you can do is shrug it off and accept it because, once it’s done, it’s done and there’s no going back. The best solution is just to laugh about it or at least that’s the view from here.