I crack myself up. I rarely mean to. But I just do the darndest things, and then later—often much later, after I’ve gotten over the embarrassment—I have to say, I find myself hilarious. Not because I’m innately witty, entertaining, or even particularly clever. I’m funny because I’m a ditz.
I know it’s not nice to call people names—even if the people is me, but I just can’t find a better way to describe my unique brand of humor. I offer a great deal of comic relief to my friends, family, Walmart shoppers, bank tellers and Chris, my local CVS pharmacist. I can make them laugh. And I don’t even have to try. Don’t even have to think about it. In fact, the “not thinking” part has proven to be the secret of my comedic success.
It was springtime—and time for our annual “Women’s Spiritual Retreat.” This was what we called our girl-time getaways. Spiritual Retreat sounded much more respectable than “Get the hell out of Dodge” or “Escape from the husband and kids.” Never mind that the “Spirit” in Spiritual more often came from a bottle than a bible. We needed these escapes. I think most women raising little kids do.
The anticipation and preparation for these events, like Christmas when you’re a kid, was often as much fun as the vacation itself. This was no exception. I was almost giddy with excitement—four luxurious days and nights on the beach in Destin with friends. Cowabunga!
I had bought a brand new bikini—turquoise with pink flamingos and lace—and I had recently acquired a relatively new body. I had lost nearly 20 pounds the previous year and was back to my happy weight. Feeling good about myself. Maybe a little too good.
The week before the retreat, as I often do before big events, I dieted and exercised fanatically, had my hair cut cute and highlighted, and got a manicure, pedicure and pre-tan.
The day before the big adventure, I had a to-do list as long as my arm. As soon as the kids were on the school bus, I was off and running. Of course, I just had to squeeze in one more workout and a few minutes in the tanning bed, so my first stop was the gym.
During Maria’s kick-ass kickboxing class, surrounded by mirrors on all sides, I couldn’t help but notice that I was looking pretty good. Damn good, I thought. I wasn’t quite used to my new, lean body, and my own reflection often took me by surprise.
After class, I ducked into the tanning room, for my final soak in the simulated sun. It was always a bit awkward using the tanning beds at my gym. I found it nearly impossible to be discreet about it, as every piece of cardio equipment in the room faced the door of the tanning room. I would often get dressed and undressed in the dark for fear that someone would barge in on me, and there I’d be, stark naked in front of the entire gym. I was looking good, but not that good!
I emerged sweaty and happy, ready to tackle my to-do list. I pranced out of the gym, past fellow pretty people on life-cycles and treadmills, and out the front doors with a cheery wave to Justin at the front desk.
At CVS I chatted with the cute young pharmacist while I waited for my prescriptions. At the bank, I hollered “Welcome to Bank of America” as I entered, beating the tellers to the punch. (They laugh nervously when I do that.) At Walmart, I sashayed happily about the store, crossing every last item off my grocery list.
I was nearly ready. Just had to head home to pack. I brought all the groceries inside and darted into the bathroom—I had forgotten how badly I had to go, in all my rushing around.
Did I mention earlier that my own reflection often took me by surprise? Well, as I flipped on the bathroom light and started to drop my drawers, I was taken aback. Way aback. Almost tripped over the toilet. I gaped at my image in the big vanity mirror, whimpered a little and instantly learned one of those life lessons you know you’ll never forget or forsake.
Never, ever, get dressed in the dark.
My pants were on inside out. My cute little Everlast exercise shorts, once all black, now sported a big white crotch—a glaring diamond shaped thing jutting from between my thighs, up my pubis pointing in the general direction of my belly button. I turned slowly, looking over my shoulder in the mirror at the rear view. Sure enough, the crotch liner inched up my backside where a couple of crisp white labels sprouted from my hiney crack—Everlast®, small, 63% cotton, 27% polyester, hand wash, drip dry.
Oh Lord. How did this happen? More importantly, when did this happen? Don’t tell me I did an entire kickboxing class like this! No. Everybody in the class would have been blinded by my first round-house kick. And besides, the exercise studio is a virtual funhouse of mirrors. I can’t possibly be that oblivious.
I finally figured out when the little misadventure began—in the tanning room, not the aerobics room and I was momentarily relieved. Momentarily. Then like someone who’s lost their wallet, I frantically retraced my perky little steps in my head, feeling sicker with every errand I recalled.
I had pranced all over town, prouder than a frickin’ Peacock, with my damn pants on inside out. Inside out! Now, I admit I’ve inadvertently put my thong panties on sideways a time or two, with the cotton crotch up on my right hip somewhere. But no-one really had to know about that, as undergarments are typically worn under your clothes. But this, oh this. This was horrible.
It was horrible. For a minute. Then it became hilarious. From horrible to hilarious. Actually, a mix of horrible and hilarious. Horriblarious. What could I do? Boycott CVS, Walmart, Bank of America and the gym? Become a recluse? Move to Jakarta? I couldn’t fix it. It was embarrassing, but I hadn’t hurt anyone. If anything, I had given some bored box boy a chuckle.
And it really was funny. I recognized that pretty quick. Standing there in the bathroom about to pee in my inverted pants, I could see that I looked absolutely ridiculous. And I knew that I would survive this humiliation. I would live to tell the tale. Others would laugh and take comfort in the realization that their last minor embarrassment—spinach wedged in the teeth, toilet paper stuck to the shoe—was nothing compared to this.
That very few things are too—dare I say, horriblarious—to lament for long.