Today’s prompt from The Daily Post is to recall a situation that wasn’t funny at all at the time, but you get a laugh out of when you recall it now. Hoo boy, this is a toughie. Seriously, a real toughie for me. I’ve never been one to let myself forget the shame and embarrassment I felt when I made a major mistake or faux pas. That most of those times occurred during my childhood, a rough time in of itself, exacerbates the pain.
However, there was one time where I did feel truly embarrassed by what I did but sort of get a chuckle now, and it occurred my first year at my current place of employment. My male mode side may be reluctant to discuss it if it were to be brought up, but it helps that it was something the others who worked in my company then and are still there now likely don’t remember. Anyway, it occurred the first thing one spring work day. I was exiting the parking structure at our work and discovered someone had left their car lights on. Instantly I thought that, well, since this was 2003 and cars with headlights that turned off by themselves after 30 seconds was still a novelty (or so I want to think), I should be the Good Samaritan and let everyone know that someone left their lights on. So, I made a mental note of the car color, parking level, and even the license plate and headed to my desk. At my desk, I sent an e-mail to everyone with the pertinent information.
Now, when I say everyone… well, unfortunately, I meant everyone in my company. That’s because I used a mailing list on Outlook that everyone could access, but only intended for big-level e-mails that went company-wide. Oh, did I say that the company I work for has operations in multiple states? Yeah…
So, rather than having my message of someone leaving their lights on be seen by only the people in our office, I got wiseacre inquiries from fellow associates well outside of Madison inquiring, “So, did they turn off their lights yet?” or “Oh, dear, I’m so concerned; whatever will they do after they left their headlights on?” What I also saw was an e-mail reminder from the receptionist at our fair office reminding everyone (and me) of the proper protocol of passing along a pertinent message… in that, if
idotic ol’ me anyone needed to let anyone know someone left their car lights on, they should contact the receptionist instead of doing what what I did.
The good thing about it… well, two good things about it was, (1) no one on my team made very much of a mention, let alone made fun of me that day, for sending that company-wide message — again, a company-wide message — about someone’s headlights; even my supervisor must’ve thought of it as water under the bridge and never even mentioned it, let alone chew me out over it (I gotta love her for that). And (2) came several months later: In those days, our department would give out good-humored end-of-year awards, one of which was The Homer Award, given to someone who did something that was truly bone-headed but was still worth a chuckle. I wasn’t even nominated for the Homer Award; someone else did (I forgot what he did to deserve the dishonor), and he earned a Homer Simpson-style Chia Pet.
All in all, even though I do feel the sting of embarrassment from my error (that is, when I do think about it), I take solace in the fact that the moment went into the proverbial ether fairly quickly that day. I’m probably even more happy that I didn’t earn a Chia Pet for my faux pas; I mean, talk about tacky.