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The Great Fall

December 26, 2006

My friend and co-worker Tom wore a bright red jacket to work on Thursday and the sweet gal who sits next to me, Melanie, commented that if her fiance, Mark, were to run around wearing a jacket like that she might get a little embarrassed.

The thing is, if you were the lady married to Tom you’d have to raise your embarrassment threshold quite a bit. I told Melanie that and she agreed.

It also made me realize that most of my friends and family have had to raise their thresholds for tolerating embarrassment quite a bit as well.

In fact, I should warn people about that. If a person wants to hang out with me or date me it needs to be out in the open — I’m embarrassing. Basically I embarrass those around me because I don’t get embarrassed too easily.

In fact, I had a defining moment years ago (I even wrote about it for my college paper) which was so horrifying that I was forced to let go of my ego and pride and just accept the fact that, although I looked really foolish, it was incredibly funny. As a result of that release of ego and embracing of humor I made the decision to no longer get embarrassed.

Sometimes I’ll still have a flash of embarrassment, but for the most part my decision to let it go has stuck. If you’ve ever seen me do something stupid — and most of you have — you know that it’s true. But then again, maybe I just don’t do stupid things as often as I used to.

Want to read the funny account of the defining moment that taught me not to get embarrassed? Sure you do:

My Defining Moment: The Great Fall
SDSU Collegian 09/16/03

I have noticed that compared to other people I don’t embarrass easily. I do, however, remember the last time I was thoroughly embarrassed. (My defining moment I mentioned above.)

Sit back in your seats and relax as the music swells and the screen fades to a scene of me as a freshman in high school ….

Once upon a time, in a far away land, I had a crush on a boy. However, unlike most of these stories, this boy did actually know that I existed. In fact, he frequently flirted with me — although, in retrospect, I see how this may have been just to get me to fall all over him and gorge his ego.

It is unlikely that he really liked me because — not only was I chubby, goofy, pretty untalented and not too cute — I was a freshman and the beautiful, blue-eyed, black-haired object of my affection was a talented junior named Paul Braddy. He was also a trumpet player in the jazz band and the top tenor at our school. (I couldn’t play one note one any instrument and I had — okay have — horrid pitch).

One Tuesday early in November, I learned there was to be an awards assembly in the gym. That meant the jazz band would be playing, and, GASP, I was going to get to see Paul.

It also meant that I was going to be able to work on my English homework that was due in the next class.

As fate would have it, there was a place in the bleachers where I was well in sight of Paul and I could perch myself nicely in his line of vision. In fact, as I sat down in the bleachers, Paul waved at me!

I smiled coyly (or as coyly as I was capable of at 15) at Paul, sat down in the bleachers and proceeded to frantically read a chapter in Great Expectations.

After engrossing myself into a few pages I had forgotten all about the awards assembly happening around me until I heard my name called. My first thought was, “I didn’t win anything.” Then I realized that the Knowledge Bowl team was being announced — yeah I was a member of the team and I have no excuse.

I was shocked and I quickly hopped over the three rows of bleacher-seats in front of me, trying to look cool because I knew Paul was watching. My feet made contact with the gym floor … then my knees made hit the floor … then my left side … then my elbows and my shoulder.

Yes, it had happened to me — that thing that all insecure teenagers dread — I had fallen in front of the entire school. But I’ve always been a good sport so, despite my shock and embarrassment, I stood right up and decided to make my way across the gym toward the rest of my nerdy team.

Good plan Crystal, but…

… there was a reason beyond my innate clumsiness that had caused my fall. I had been sitting with my legs crossed while I read. As a result, my right leg had fallen asleep — from hip to toe my leg was unresponsive mush!

Somehow I managed to limp across the gym floor. By the time I had to walk back to my seat my leg was awake, but the damage had been done. I must have been bright red. I was hoping my friends would tell me it hadn’t been too bad when I got back to me seat, but they were still laughing so hard they could barely breathe.

I must have looked really bad because later in the day a friend of mine said she had thought there was a new “special” student at school, until she realized that it had been me.
The final nail in the coffin — holding my ego — was Paul. He had laughed so hard that he almost fell off the riser the jazz band was seated on, and his director had sent him out of the gym.

So, alas, no jazz band love for me, but at least I don’t embarrassed much anymore.

(Anyone remember seeing this happen?)

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