Foot Mouth or Stupid Stuff I Shouldn’t Have Said [Tall Drink of Nerd][Best of FaN]

I really wanted to choose my story about finally being okay with wearing glasses in public for best of FaN, but the column below needed to resurface because I can’t stop saying stupid stuff.

People tell me that I’m an excellent listener. One of the reasons people think that, is that I’m keeping my damn mouth shut before I remove any doubt you have of my idiocy. I am always saying the wrong thing and I can’t for the life of me tell you why.

Here is a little story I like to call “Ruining the Moment”:

We are at an idyllic ranch in Wyoming. My extended family on Mom’s side; cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, have all gathered for our every 5 year reunion. The property is lovely and the sun is melting into the pond and reflecting blues and purples and pinks that color the end of our warm day. My 23 year old nephew and his young wife walk into his Mother’s, my sister’s, cabin and asks the noisy crowd to leave so he can talk to his Mom alone.

“Why!?!” I blurt, a little too loudly “Is it because you guys are pregnant?”

Of course it was because they were pregnant, with their first child and he wanted to share a special moment with his mother. So do you know who has two thumbs, a big mouth and ruined that moment? This gal.

That occurred in 2001. Normally I let go of the stupid crap I say, because otherwise it would weigh me down. That one was a biggie though, so it still sits on my head.

Most of the time, I know immediately after the fact when I’ve said something idiotic. Take today at the animal rescue where I volunteer. When, in front of someone who was either doing an audit or an article, I told the Assistant Manager that the cats had, and I quote: “The Hershey squirts”. Then my face got immediately red and that inner voice said “Why, in God’s name, did I say that? I couldn’t just say ‘loose’ or ‘watery’ or ‘diarrhea’?” Usually, the answer to the question “Why?” is that I’m trying to be funny.

Everybody thinks they have a sense of humor.

We all have those moments of rehashing a conversation post-party or after a job interview. Sure, I do that too, but that’s neurosis. This is pure idiocy. I’m talking about the moments when the face meets the palm.

Let me leave you with a last scene, in which I actually benefit from being a moron:

I had been temping at a placement agency for graphic designers on Los Angeles’ Miracle Mile. This was one of those job tryouts, where you work for 3 months as a temp before they decide if they want to hire you fulltime, kind of deals. The office staff included the admins (me), agents who placed the talent at companies and business development people who went out and found companies that needed temp employees. Office atmosphere was casual, but really successful in our corner of the market. I was doing great and going to have my review the next day.

Since I’d only been there a short time, I was trying to be outgoing with the regular staff. Before I left that night, I walked back to one of the business development ladies as she was packing up her stuff. Our manager was standing next to her, chatting about something I couldn’t hear. I assumed she had an early morning client visit the next morning and was loading up all the things she would need for that. This seemed like the perfect moment for some jocularity.

“Hehehe. Did you get fired or something?” I chuckle as she puts a picture frame into her messenger bag. Suddenly, it dawns on me. She doesn’t need a picture frame to visit a client. Shit. She just got fired.

My manager’s eyes became giant ovals and she raced over to me and put her hand on my mouth. Then I turned a shade of red seen mostly in Buffalo Hot Sauce bottles. I remember stammering something, trying to recover. The manager said “It was a mutual decision…” They both sort of laughed uncomfortably. I ran out the door and started dreading my review the next day.

Cut to the following morning. I brought my sweaty palms into the small meeting room with the hiring managers. The stoney stares they fixed on me lasted all of three seconds before they both disolved into fits of laughter. Turns out, my ridiculous foot-in-mouth ailment lightened the tension last night. In spite of myself, I found a job offer slid across the table to me. While, technically still stupid, I was now gainfully employed.

These verbal slips are occurring less and less, because I’m slowly learning to think, then speak. Also, I’ve become a really great listener. But sometimes, especially in the case of such comic gold as cat diarrhea, the stupid stuff just shoots out.

featured image credit: Suzanne Hamilton