June 14, 2006

Speeches, Headaches and Embarrassment

The past few days have seemed like a sprint to the end of some non-existent finish line. I've worked a lot and slept very little. And when I've slept it's been fitfully at best and I know I've snored, thrilling my wife to no end. In a couple of hours I have to do something I don't much care for - stand in front of a room full of people and talk. Luckily, they've given me a topic. I don't have to wing it. But I've got a big old headache, haven't had enough coffee and I'm grumpy. So, let's all pretend that's not going to happen and focus on other things, okay? Denial for fun and profit! (See, cracking lame jokes is a defense mechanism.) Given all this stuff, not to mention the 3,201 emails I've flagged for follow-up in my work inbox, I've pretty much got nothing for you. Not even a witty post about nothing. My mind is focused on that which I do not want to do. And yawning.

Anyway, I have figured out a few things I would like to avoid saying whilst standing in front of aforementioned people:

"Whaddup motherfuckers!"
"A white supremacist, a rabbi and a priest walk into a bar..."
"Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl, with yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there"
"Hey everybody? Stop! Hammertime!"
"I'm here today to talk to you about erectile dysfunction."
"I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that."

Now, it's your turn. Yes, audience participation time. What's your most embarrassing work moment. Oh hell, it doesn't even have to be work-related. Come on, spill. It'll make me feel better.

Posted by Chris at June 14, 2006 7:20 AM

My first public speaking gig as the President of the Chamber of Commerce of East Jesus NC, I couldn't stop giggling hysterically because someone had told me to imagine the audience in their under wear. If you could imagine the East Jesus NC Rotary Club men in their skivies, it would break anyone down.

Posted by: Wicked H at June 14, 2006 7:36 AM

I'll have to get back to you on the embarrassment, but I do have to say this: If I was sitting in a meeting, and someone opened it up with, "Whaddup motherfuckers?" I would love that person forever. Just saying.

Posted by: Dawn at June 14, 2006 7:54 AM

Just yesterday, friends and I bought a magazine at lunchtime. It was Cosmo. On the cover was a blurb, something like "67 HOT SEX TIPS" or something like that, in huge print. Along with another title, "Spice up your sack sessions". Those mags are great for reading out loud with a group of girlfriends. Anyway...

It was laying on the lab counter. No one comes in my section. No one. Ever. It was sitting there, near my cell phone (plays Guns-n-Roses when it rings) and my Mt. Dew (drinks forbidden in lab sections) when the LAB DIRECTOR brings the UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT into the lab for a tour. The director was standing there with his back to my magazine, and I see the president notice the cover and try not to smile. The university president is a pretty young, cool guy, but still... Our director is still giving his little spiel about my lab and how great I am when my phone starts to ring. The opening to Sweet Child O' Mine. Which makes him look down and see my drink.

Oh, and I wasn't wearing my lab coat, either...

Posted by: Alissa at June 14, 2006 8:06 AM

I once gave a presentation to the Board of Directors of the company I worked at, with my fly down the entire time. And I was wearing pink underwear and black pants.

At that same company, I was responsible for handing out the paychecks to our dept (this was back in the day before all the direct deposits). Some co-workers and I were sitting around, opening our paychecks and I opened what I thought was mine. I looked at the amount and probably nearly shit my pants. Everyone was staring at me because my jaw was on the floor. I had opened my boss's paycheck by mistake! YIKES! I only wish it had been mine!

Posted by: Lisa at June 14, 2006 8:16 AM

Because giving presentations suck and also because I have newly found time (got through the Board Meeting, thanks for the comment!) and because well, you rock Mr. Cactus, I will give you not ONE but THREE mortifying moments in the life of WN:

1 - When I was 12, I went to a hypnotist's show at a local high school auditorium. We sat in the dark on these old rickety wooden chairs and were totally fascinated by this guy who could literally put people under. So just as the hypnotist was working his magic....(and telling people to stay very STILL and as QUIET as possible) I let out a HUGE fart...on the wooden seats (vibration, yes)...in front of 700 people. My friends left.

2 - When I was 21, living in a dorm room at University, I had this monster crush on a guy. His name was Derrick. I invited him over to study one night and offered him some Apple Cider (I was so proud of myself because I was fermetting it myself in my closet...gross, it smelled like dead people). Anyway, there was all this good kind of tention between us...so I thought alcohol would help (I was 21!)..I handed him a glass of cider, thinking I was SO cool...and he jumped back....saying EEEWWW....because right on top of the glass.....there was floating a HUUGE toenail clipping (yummy).

3 - When I was about 26 or so...., I was pretty much just starting to practice law...I wrote a brief to be submitted to Court for a colleague...it had to do with the Province's liability with respect to the flooding of a dam. I was feeling pretty good about myself, it was at the Appelate Court level and this other (stupid) older lawyer totally trusted me (stupid) to draft and file the brief on his behalf (stupid) and then we'd go and argue it together....Anyway, to make a long story short...I finished it at the last minute....and obviously didn't proof-read it too well...because everywhere that was supposed to say DAM....it said DAMN....yea...the judge was NOT amused....and it made for a VERY long 2-day hearing. I have not yet lived that one down.

OK..I've written my book for today (jeez this is longer than the post i have anticipated for my blog!)

have a good one!

Posted by: wn at June 14, 2006 8:17 AM

ROTFLOL! Stop. Hammertime. I heard MC Hammer had a NEW video. Please no.

Embarrasing work moment... hmmmm. Ah! I know! That must be when I didn't wear a special t-shirt bra under a very thin shirt. And it was freezing. Yep. That was embarrasing.

Posted by: Sweety at June 14, 2006 8:47 AM

I never, ever, do anything that makes me look stupid or feel stupid. Even if they catch me half naked making out with a guy on a bridle trail wheh they ride by on their horses.

Nope, not me!

Posted by: Red at June 14, 2006 8:49 AM

AND you quote "Say Anything" - damn you're good.

Not a work moment but my most embarrassing moment ever was tripping as I walked across the stage at my 8th grade graduation. The kicker is that my dad was the one handing us our diplomas - I'm sure he was so proud.

Posted by: Beth in StL at June 14, 2006 9:15 AM

I once knocked over a 30 vase with my breasts whilst reaching up to clean a shelf, if that counts.

The smash, followed by my "shit!" echoed round the store and brought quite a few people running to find out what had happened.

I also once in the same job told a customer that if they didn't stop swearing at and insulting me they could sod off because I refused to deal with it and they went and complained about me.

Posted by: Alice at June 14, 2006 9:28 AM

I took much-needed nap under my desk at work over my lunch hour and was discovered by the ONE PERSON in my department that you don't want catching you doing anything stupid. I woke up because I felt like I was being stared at, (thank goodness my face was out of view!) and I found myself looking humorless navy blue trousers and very meticulously shined shoes. ANYONE else would have thought it was funny, this guy thought it was another sign that the office staff are absolutely out of control. When I was moved from one floor to another and given a different cubicle, many co-workers had to come and inspect it so they could make "So where are you going to sleep now?" cracks.

Posted by: Betti at June 14, 2006 9:29 AM

I was teaching humanities at a community college. I was the youngest faculty member and students thought I was, well, a student half the time.

While walking around during on of my lectures, I was being all "professor-y." I went on and on about Socrates and blah blah blah. I went to stick my hands in the pockets of my suede jacket and heard a "riiiiiiiiiiiipppp." I stuck my hand through my pocket in front of the entire class.

Yep, I'm a dumbass.

Posted by: mingaling at June 14, 2006 9:32 AM

I was to do a presentation at school about world religions. Of course, I was the last one to go during a 3 hour class. Everyone was half dead by the end. I tried to get them to pay attention by saying: People, let's focus. Only to have "Focus" sound like Fuck us. Imagine the schock....Oh the beauty of having such a thick accent. Everyone paid attention after that, my face was read as a tomatoe, and even today my college buddies make fun of me.

I have replaced focus for the word "concentrate."

Posted by: Katherine at June 14, 2006 9:33 AM

Hey - there's nothing like a rousing Hammertime! to get things started. I say go with it!
Embarrassing moments?? Yeah right, like I'm gonna share those. ;)

Posted by: Traci at June 14, 2006 9:56 AM

Oh too much fodder to share! I have been one embarrassing moment after another for 22 years! Trust me...REALLY embarrassing!

Posted by: Gypsy at June 14, 2006 10:04 AM

I have a book of embarrassing moments that i have faced in life. Mostly, since I'm shameless I dont really count them as embarrassing. But one that is in the top 3 is as follows. I was at a party with lots of loud music and dancing people. Some of the dance moves were a lotta fun and very "bendy". I was wearing comfortably loose clothes but the sweat kinda made the clothes do some stickage and then there was loud ripping tearage on the behind. I covered it up and ran to sit on a chair. I know for a fact no one noticed. I had to call my friend and ask to bring a pair of pants for me, since if I stood, the loud gaping hole would be literally the BUTT of all jokes!

Posted by: Dee at June 14, 2006 10:07 AM

Not a work story...One of the best was my first night bowling on a league. On my very first ball that I threw, I slipped and landed flat on my face. And landed the ball in the gutter. Even better? I did the EXACT SAME THING on my second ball.

Posted by: rai at June 14, 2006 10:33 AM

When I was 20 I was giving a speech at my old junior high on career day. I walked up in front of auditorium of kids, talked about being a young business owner, up on stage, walked back down to my seat, sat down, and realized that yesterday's pantyhose hanging out the leg of my pants and dragging behind me.

Posted by: Lisa V at June 14, 2006 10:41 AM

Not my embarrassing moment, but one from an old workplace that still slays me. We had an office assistant who dressed rather provocatively but was otherwise very sweet and good at her job. One day a coworker of mine found a printout of hers sitting unclaimed on the printer (each printout was marked by whose account had printed it). It was for an open casting call for a porn movie.

AWESOME. She left shortly after that, and we heard rumors sometime later that she sued the pants off our company for sexual harassment or some such thing. I only hope she is having a successful career. Go Karen!

Posted by: Nicole at June 14, 2006 10:45 AM

I was temping for a stuffy law firm - they are known in DC for being full of former Supreme Ct clerks - anyway - I had to work a little late and the rental computer I was using didn't have the program I needed so one of the associates let me use his buddy's office after he left. I needed a caffeine boost later on - so I went and got a ginormous coffee with cream and on my way back into his office, my sweater sleeve caught on the door handle and yanked that cup right out of my hand. The bottom of the cup busted and the entire cup leaked right down into the BRAND NEW CREAM COLORED CARPET.
A friend and I spent 2 hours soaking up the mess - or so we thought. The next morning the guy was screaming that someone better fess up to the mess - I went and looked - you couldn't event tell we had done any clean up. They ended up having to replace his carpet.

They hired me anyway :)

Posted by: Sue at June 14, 2006 11:02 AM

Okay. I'll give you two -a work one and a non-work one.

The work one? I had this cute new outfit with this pleated flouncy skirt that had an underlining kind of tacked (a sewing kind of tacking with thread, the other kind would be way too painful in my cushy parts) to it on the inside. It's so cliche that you'd think every woman would always check first but... I walked out of the ladies room and the lining part of the skirt had some how got caught in the waistline of my pantyhose, which also drew up the flouncy part of the skirt. I don't know how many people actually saw this since the ladies room was tucked between every department, but when I was almost back to my office one of the Customer Service Women drew me aside. I did not leave my office the rest of the day -for anything.

2) Babies are so wonderful. So sweet and lovey and cuddly and clingy. We were at church a little early. I was sitting forward very quietly talking to a male friend of ours. Darling baby Vincent chose that moment to grab a handful of my blouse and pull it completely down in full view of our friend Tom. I don't know whose most embarrassing moment it was -mine or Tom's. But Tom sure turned around quick!

I could give you a million of them. Once you have kids your whole life becomes one humongous embarrassing moment -like the time my ten year old -then 3- told someone on the phone, "My mommy's nakey in the shower." Which I later learned from that person when they called back a half hour later.

Posted by: HR Mommy at June 14, 2006 11:05 AM

"I'm here today to talk to you about erectile dysfunction."

Hey! I resemble that remark! That, in and of itself, is not so embarrassing. It's when my male colleagues/bosses start asking questions about their personal experiences that it gets embarrassing...seemingly more so for me than them!

Posted by: Jaycie at June 14, 2006 11:38 AM

I fell down the stairs at work once. Luckily a co-worker caught me. Unfortunately, I was new to the group and will never live it down!

Posted by: ::c:: at June 14, 2006 11:43 AM

I heart you for the Lloyd Dobbler quote. As for public speaking? Yeah, I avoid that. Of course, it helps that I don't actually have a job where I have to do it. That, my friend, would suck.

Posted by: candace at June 14, 2006 12:03 PM

Oh, embarrassing moment? I'm SO boring that I don't have one.

Actually, I don't get embarrassed. Really, I don't. Or maybe I just supress those memories. Either way, it's working for me!

Posted by: candace at June 14, 2006 12:05 PM

i think i've shared this before...
meeting room with all the vp's, directors. etc. discussing deadlines, budgets and feasibility stuffs.

i say to myself "why the hell do i have to be here" or something to that effect - OUT LOUD. needless to say i wasn't included in those meetings any longer.

Posted by: monique at June 14, 2006 12:23 PM

My most embarrasing work moment would be really hard to narrow down. I'll gow this one, though I know there are others.
When I realized in the middle of a very important meeting wherein I was pitching a message plan, that I was also inadvertantly flashing a very immodest amount of cleavage. No wonder I had their attention.

Posted by: Polichick at June 14, 2006 12:32 PM

All of those conversation starters (or stoppers) are great, but Lloyd Dobler is a wise, wise man and his words should be embroidered on a sampler and hung in the parlor. Right next to another sampler saying, "YOU MUST CHILL!!"

Posted by: wordgirl at June 14, 2006 12:43 PM

How much space do you have?

1. On my first day temping at a firm in Memphis when a co-worked rescued me from a vice president who was chasing me around the Xerox machine. He's the one who should have been embarrassed don't you think?

2. When I was pregnant with my youngest, back in Jonesboro, AR 33 years ago. I was standing typing a label (don't know why I didn't have a typewriter on my desk then) and my water broke. Not just leaked - it was a flood. Most exciting thing to happen in Jonesboro in years except for the time the tomato truck overturned on the railroad tracks. Tim was born about one the next morning - 3 lbs 8 oz. He's now a little over six feet tall.

3,000 emails? Sometimes I'm not sure how timesaving modern technology is.

Posted by: ann adams at June 14, 2006 1:11 PM

Well, there was that time I gave that presentation (a wonderful presentation, I might add) to a bunch of senior managers. I got up from the table after it was over, and proceeded to fall right on my ass. In a skirt. I STILL get made fun of for that one.

Posted by: Kerry at June 14, 2006 1:20 PM

I *heart* Lloyd Dobler, and if you gave his "I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything" speech as your presentation, I am certain you'd get very high marks. I'd give you an example of an embarrassing thing I've done, but I've never done anything even remotely embarrassing.

Hey, stop giggling.

Posted by: shelley at June 14, 2006 1:22 PM

Lloyd Dobler. Must be something in the air.

I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen...

Posted by: RS at June 14, 2006 1:23 PM

My first day of work my boss took me out to lunch. She went through the revolving door and I jumped in with her; yes the same container. She looked at me like I had a disease.

Or maybe I should mention that time the Snap On Tools sales guy came into the shop and told me my skirt was split up the back. It was 2 or 3 in the afternoon. My guys let me walk around all day like that. Oh and go to lunch.

Posted by: chantel at June 14, 2006 1:45 PM

Me? Embarrassed at work? You're funny. I have no concept of shame. This coming from a girl who told the CFO to move away from the TV because she was blocking a World Cup game...

Posted by: Oakley at June 14, 2006 2:01 PM

* I once sent an email bashing my boss TO my boss.
* After we moved our office around I face planted into a standing file cabinet because I wasn't paying attention.
* I once gave out paychecks but forgot the checks.

The list goes on and on...

Posted by: Tink at June 14, 2006 2:35 PM

Love the Lloyd Dobbler reference.

Probably the time a pretty girl I work with walked up right next to me at my desk to look at my screen after I had just cut one.

Posted by: Brad at June 14, 2006 2:36 PM

The time that my boss's boss told me - with an audience - that I needed to start wearing a BICYCLE FLAG so that people could see me coming at cubical wall intersections.
The walls are tall, the Opal is not... many collisions still happen. It's funny now, but at the time I was a pretty timid co-op student and I was pretty insulted/humiliated.

Posted by: Opal at June 14, 2006 3:14 PM

ummm. today my pants fell down as i was running for the bus. i think that's about as embarrasing as it gets...

Posted by: suze at June 14, 2006 3:23 PM

umm yeah I mak an ass out of myself daily so I dont know which would be novel enough.
that said. I LOVE YOU. and ummm yeah love you in spite of the fact that I snorted cranberrry juice out my nose.

Posted by: stinkerbell at June 14, 2006 3:51 PM

My boyfriend had just broken up with me, and I had let myself into his house to get my stuff and leave my key. He came home just as I was about to leave. It was incredibly awkward, so I threw my backpack on and headed out. He stood on the steps trying to talk to me about just how sorry he was for all this, and I just wanted to get away so he couldn't see me crying. I had rollerbladed over, and wouldn't you know it? As I was trying to hold my head high blading away, I hit a pothole in the driveway and went face-first into the asphalt. He came running over to try to help me, now splayed out with rocks in my skin. I pushed him aside, picked myself up while trying to maintain some sort of dignity, told him to go to hell, and rollerbladed away.

I still cringe when I think about that moment.

Posted by: erika at June 14, 2006 4:02 PM

The first time I had to do that, it was 6 sessions, and over 300 people. I think they call that "trial by fire"

and that e d comment would be ok where I work.

Posted by: cas at June 14, 2006 4:45 PM

I farted rather loudly at lunch yesterday. Sitting at the table with me, some of the highest Nokia Execs from Finnland. Oh yeah, I did. We were at a picnic table out in back of our office building by the pond, standing pretty close to us was a group of geese (gaggle of geese) so I said: "My I didnt know ducks could bark?" Oh yeah, I did.

They all played cool but I know they probably call me stinky pants behind my back now.

Posted by: Kelly M. at June 14, 2006 5:18 PM

I was walking in my company's parking lot on a beautiful spring morning and fell.
I fell (not tripped, not ran into something, nor was I knocked down by a herd of cats) in the parking lot and broke my arm. I had to explain it many many times and everyone just laughed.
People are still asking me if I can make it to my car unassisted.

Posted by: JJ at June 14, 2006 6:12 PM

One of my fave work memories was when I did PR for a large Engineering/Architectural/Construction Management firm. I was writing up a news release on a guy who got a promotion to vice pres of sales in another office. And I said something along the lines of "Opps. Just had a blonde moment there. Sorry. Do you ever get thoses?" The guy started laughing. Because he's very serious, in his 50's and from India.

I haven't visited lately. Sorry. No time to check up on anyone's blogs...

Posted by: Lisa B at June 14, 2006 6:42 PM

I sent a friend a really REALLY nasty email about my boss (I was having an off day, and was really tired of him always trying to get me to sleep with him and his wife) except that it didn't get to my friend. It got to my boss. Or rather, it got to my bosses email address, but his wife opened and read it.


Posted by: e at June 14, 2006 8:35 PM

Why do I still giggle when I hear fart stories?

How about the time when I was in church and lifted a friend's new baby above my head. I look up just at the time that the little shit threw up RIGHT IN MY MOUTH. I nearly threw the baby to her mom, spit out the vomit very loudly, and ended the scene with a moderately loud "FUCK!" (It really IS different when its not your own kid.)

Or the time I was in Vegas for budget meetings. The group of us headed up to our rooms at about 5 a.m. after a LONG night of celebrating that it was over. An east coast friend calls me on the cell phone then--trying to be cool in front of my co-workers--trying to be cool while walking AND talking--and my friend makes me laugh so hard I pee my pants. While I was laughing so hard, it was one of those silent laughs (wide open mouth, head tilted back, hand on the stomach)--my peers could even hear the drops hit the floor.

I am such a jack ass.

Posted by: kristen at June 14, 2006 11:21 PM

"Kickboxing. Sport of the future."

When I waitress at the Hotel Del in San Diego (very swanky) I poisoned a customer on Christmas day. He told me he was allergic to nuts and so I got him a fresh salad made that had not touched hte walnuts. The salad guy asks me (after I explained about the food allergy) 'you want dressing?" Yeah I guess so. And off I go. I check on the table a few minutes later and the man is very uncomfortable. 'Are you sure there weren't any nuts?' I watched him make it fresh, but I'll check. Hey, what kind of dressing is that? 'Walnut vinegarette.'

I had to go find the general manager, tell him I poisoned a guest, went with him to get some Benadryl and brought it to the man at the table. Total nightmare. Though the ladies he was with thought I was very sweet to bring the meds. After I poisoned him. Merry Christmas!

Posted by: Annie at June 15, 2006 12:36 AM

Unfortunately I've had more embarrassing moments, work or otherwise then I care to recount, however one that could have been a lot worse then it turned out was a number of years ago I was giving a 401k meeting in front of a room of about 40 West Virgina coal miners coming off their nightshift before heading home or to the bar or wherever miners go when they get off work.

Anyway, as I'm stressing the importance of taking charge of their financial independence and giving them false hopes that they could actually become finincally independent provided they "really, really" try I see this giant moth flying around the room from the corner of my eye. Things like this don't normally bother me while I'm talking in front of people but for some reason I didn't let this moth get too far from my sight.

Well after about 45-60 seconds of this oecophorid (sure, it could have been a thyatiridae) was getting closer and I began to get concerned it was going to land on me while talking and I wouldn't know it. As I kept going I also kept one eye on the moth and no sooner had I processed this thought when the moth, which was about the size of the top of a beer can landed smack dab on my crotch.

Now the last thing you want is 40, tired, anxious WV coal miners concentrating on (unless of course I'm getting paid for it) your crouch! I'd already been there a week and we'd had our fill of Deliverance references so I didn't want anyone making jokes about my perdy lips.

So because I was already at full alert prior to the moth landing on my home base I was able to use my hand and sweep it across the front of me as if I was pointing to a chart I held. All of this happened in a matter of seconds but seemed like a hour.

Afterwards, as we're walking out of the meeting room my co-worker who'd been standing at the back of the room and looked up disinterested and said "nice catch." I thanked him and we never mentioned it again.

(I'll save my taking a leak story while leaving my wireless mic on for next time) Ciao

Posted by: Johnny Smoke at June 15, 2006 1:31 AM

My most embarassing work moment was when my boss threw open my office door and started talking to me while I was in there with my shirt pulled up to my neck, trying to use my breast pump.

Actually, that would be my 3 most embarassing moments, as it happened 3 separate times with 2 different bosses.

I don't breastfeed anymore.

Posted by: SMIT at June 15, 2006 7:57 PM

I worked for an "intranet" company oh, about 12 years ago that was run and staffed entirely by men except for me. There were about 8 of us total including the 2 men in charge, both of whom were total idiots. I have a nervous habit of rubbing on my lips when I'm trying not to talk and this one particular day I was wearing red lipstick. A staff meeting that was dragging and making me crazy ended with me turning into bozo the clown (Circus performer?) with red lipstick in a big red circle around my mouth. I turned to my friend to confirm what I had done and excused myself to wash my face... I am a strong proponent of the lipstick that doesn't come off all day, no matter hard hard you try... :~)

Posted by: Amy at June 18, 2006 1:10 AM

Hmmm... I seem to have blocked out anything really horrific. Either that or I'm just so suave that nothing too bad ever happens. (ha!)

In the minor shames at work category, there's the time I wore what turned out to be the world's squeakiest pair of shoes on a very quiet day at the office, or the time I wore a shirt that *looked* opaque in the lighting at home, or the time I spilled half a cup of tea onto my left breast and down the front of my white shirt, first thing in the morning, and had to go around like that the rest of the day.

Posted by: Kate the Shrew at June 19, 2006 2:12 PM