Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Open Mouth...Insert Foot!

"Open mouth...insert foot." Yes...those directions apply to me. Over the years, I have perfected's quite an art form, really...unfortunately, it happens more times than I would like.

Take this example...I'm at the oldest son's baseball practice, sitting and chatting with the other mothers. We see that one of the usual faces that show up at practice is an older man with white hair, sitting some distance off with a two year old girl...they are giggling and taking photos. After each photo taken, the man shows the little girl what it looks like on the back of his camera. "Look over there!" says one of the mothers. "How cute...grandpa is taking photos of his little granddaughter!" says another. We admire the moment and then watch practice.

(art from the web)
The next day is the baseball game. Halfway through the game, I see the grandfather with his granddaughter...and being the friendly person I am, I strike up a conversation. "We all loved watching you take pictures yesterday with your darling granddaughter," I say...and then add, "It's so nice to see a grandfather having such a great time with his grandchild." "Oh," he says, "Actually, I'm not her grandfather...I'm her DAD!" I stand there stunned in silence. Crud! "What a jackass I am," I think to myself, as I hear the braying in my head. He starts to chuckle and says, "Don't worry...I get that a lot...I'm an old dad to this one." I mumble incoherently, give him a big smile, nod...and hightail it back to the bleachers, engrossing myself into the game...but not before I tell the other mothers, who howl with laughter at my faux pas. "Oh sure...they laugh at me...they all thought he was her grandpa, too," I think to myself...only to realize that while that is true...I am the only one dumb enough to say something! UGH!

I'm on a roll...I might as well go find a fat lady and ask her when her baby is due!! Which by the way, I have inadverdantly done, one time in my life! Never again...I don't care how obviously pregnant a woman is...I will never ask! I don't care if she is in labor and the baby is hanging down to her knees...I will not ask! Once is enough! That embarrassing moment is emblazoned in my brain like a scarlet letter on my forehead.

No, not  really me...found this on the web! 
I was teaching aerobics at the YMCA. One of my regulars was a woman in her 30's who would always set her step up in the back row. She wore a leotard and tights (yes, it was the 90's) and had a bit of a belly on her. She was always very careful with her movements and never went "all out". One day, after class, she was talking to another woman, who had participated in the class. The woman was obviously pregnant...looked about ready to pop. As I was putting the equipment away, I asked, "When is your baby due?" "In three weeks!" she happily exclaimed, with a huge grin. I turned to the other woman, "And when is YOUR baby due?" She looked at me with an icy glare..."My baby was born three years ago!" I stood gaping at her, red faced and gasping for air like a fish out of water. I can't remember what I said, but I remember feeling like I wanted to be invisible...wanting to just melt away into the wall. Instead, I mumbled something stupid, got myself back to the aerobic room office, fiddled with the equipment until they left and died with embarrassment. If I remember correctly, I could not face her again and traded classes with another instructor..and eventually quit teaching there!

I'm not the only one who does these things...I know that...there have to be other people who have mouths that get them in trouble! Maybe I could start a support group, and we can come together to discuss why we feel the need to say stupid things! probably wouldn't work...we would just end up offending each other by saying something inappropriate. The good thing for me, is that once is usually won't find me saying anything to an older man with a toddler...I will not assume anything. Even if the guy is 100 years old and in a wheelchair, being pushed by a kid calling him Grandpa. I will not say a word!

It's not my fault, really. I come from a long line of blurters. My Mom used to take us to the children's department of the only Department store in our small town. The woman who worked there, had a Bristish accent. After about 5 minutes of talking to her, my mother would have a british accent too! It was completely unintentional...and she didn't even know she was doing it. But the woman would give her the funniest looks, trying to figure out if she was making fun of her!

My dad was notorious...We took a cruise to Mexico as a family one year. I was about 20 at the time.. It was my mom and dad, two of my sisters and my sister's new husband. We had a great time and in the evenings would come together for dinner. The tables were assigned seating, and our group had our own table, but not every table knew each other. If you were a couple, you would be sitting with 6-8 people that you didn't know. Each night, the man at the table next to us, would saunter in wearing a different goofy hat. He was loud and obnoxious and really made a spectacle of himself. We found him annoying and nicknamed him "Hat Man".

Yep, this is what the guy wore! (photo from web)
One night, after a particularily obnoxious night of "Hat Man", we ran into one of his table mates, in the hallway. "Hey," my dad said to him, "You sit at Hat Man's table! How do you deal with him? He is so obnoxious!" They guy levels his gaze right at my dad and says, "That's my father." Stunned. Silence. You could have heard a pin drop. My Dad quickly recovers with, "ho ho...he's a funny guy!" That was it...we could not contain it...One sister and my mom dive for the elevator before they break into the giggles. My brother-in-law and I head to the stairs and run down the next level, shrieking with laughter. I don't remember where the other sister went, but I know she was doubled over with laughter wherever she ended up! What I didn't know at the time, was that our laughter was traveling up the stairwell, and could be heard by my red-faced father and the offended son of Hat Man. Dad had some pretty choice words for us, when we all met up again...the worst of it was at dinner service the next night. Not only did Hat Man stagger in with some crazy hat...but his WHOLE table wore crazy an act of defiance to the group at the table next to them, who found their father to be an obnoxious blowhard.

Favorite story about my Dad...God rest his soul. Funniest guy who made friends with everyone he met...never met a stranger...and genuinely liked by all. But every once in awhile he would open mouth and insert foot! I learned from the best...

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