Friday, February 17, 2017

Oopsie Moments Gone Bad

Thought for the day:  Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important. [Janet Lane]

[reddit]
 Have you ever done something so bone-headed, you would've liked to hide your head in a bag for a while? Or to crawl in a hole and lie low until things blew over?

Nowadays, that's easier said than done. Now that every Tom, Dick, and Mary seem to carry a phone capable of taking photos, and then they immediately post said pics on the Internet for all the world to see, doing something idiotic has never been more open to public scrutiny.

When out on a group date many years ago... in the good old days... after we all gorged ourselves on pizza, I was trying to be as fast as possible in the rest room, because I didn't want to keep everyone waiting. In my haste, I obviously didn't pull my red-and-white striped petti-pants (WITH a spiffy white fringe!) all the way up, because as we were walking to our cars, they, um... fell down! (Leading my date to refer to me as Droopy Drawers for some months afterwards.) It was hilariously embarrassing, but the other giggling gals very kindly shielded me from view while I yanked them back up again. Nowadays, something like that would have (shudder) been immortalized on the Internet forever. One moment of embarrassments turned into a lifetime's embarrassment... UGH!

Anyhow, what follows is a post that originally appeared on March 29, 2011 with the title Under the Looking Glass? It didn't get many visitors back then, so it will be new to almost all of you.

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Thought for the dayNo matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

Ever have one of those great big oopsie moments? You know, where you do something unbelievably stupid and just pray nobody's watching? Or if they are, you hope they have a really crappy memory?

One of my stupid moments was caught under a brilliant spotlight. Lucky me, huh?

I was a senior in high school at the time, and was selected by my drama teacher to perform a scene from  Tea and Sympathy for a big PTSA open house. Now, I was a bit of a nerd, meaning I was all about the academics, and drama was an elective course for me. I enjoyed it, and was okay at it, but Meryl Streep I wasn't. Still, I was pretty excited at the idea of showing my stuff.

Unfortunately, my friend and fellow nerd Robby, who happened to be manning the spotlight, was also interested in showing my stuff...

In the scene, I was an "older woman" who was about to (ahem) get up-close and personal, shall we say, with a younger man. My closing line was, Years from now... when you talk about this... and you will... be kind. While delivering the line, I was also slowly unbuttoning my blouse. And oh man, I really nailed that line, if I must say so myself. That line was supposed to be the cue for my smart-ass buddy to fade the spotlight to darkness.

It would've been oh-so-dramatic.

Was supposed to be dramatic, damn it.

My "buddy" thought it'd be great fun to leave the light on to see what I would do. Oh yeah, it was hysterical.

So what did I, the academic nerd, do? I looked straight at the spotlight and snarled, "LIGHTS!"

Kinda spoiled the effect, ya know? (But he DID douse the light.)



OK, you got me. This isn't me, but it's pretty much how I FELT, only with a little more hair ...



Anyhow, what made me think about all this was the incredible train wreck I observed on the internet yesterday. A self-published writer from England committed an enormous oopsie. She had what amounted to an emotional melt-down over a review of her book. The funny thing was, the review wasn't even all that bad. The reviewer said that her story was quite good, actually, but because of the plentiful spelling and grammatical errors, he gave her a two-star rating. That should've been the end of it. But it wasn't. Her subsequent postings, which by the way, were chock full of misspellings, grammatical errors, and tortuously convoluted syntax, were laced with profanities. Dropped the f-bomb a couple times. Snarled at anyone and everyone who tried to soothe her anger or offer guidance. Insisted that there was nothing wrong with her writing, although, clearly, there was. All of this, mind you, on a website frequented by other writers, agents, and publishers. More and more people joined the fray, as news of the "happening" spread through Twitter and other websites.

She single-handedly put herself in the spotlight, and then committed professional suicide. It's a shame, really, but I suppose she could always ... change her name.

But the bottom line here is: remember, on the internet, you're more than in a spotlight.



                                                You're under the looking glass.

And it doesn't matter if the people watching you screw up have a crappy memory, either. Once it's on the internet, it STAYS on the internet... providing a potential eternity of shame. Thank God YouTube wasn't around when I was a teenager. For that, I am eternally grateful. (I'll bet YOU are, too!)

                                    Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

41 comments:

  1. I am so grateful! I am a very clumsy person!

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    1. Me, too! it was no coincidence that three of my closest gal pals all told me the same thing as I was preparing to walk onstage to receive my diploma: "Don't trip!"

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  2. I'm so sorry to hear that about the writer. Unless you're writing a private diary not to be seen by anyone else ever, being a writer means you must be open to criticism and learn from it. If more than one person says your spelling and grammar is bad then you need to learn to spell. Take a class and learn about syntax. (I have no idea what syntax is, but if I do it wrong I'm sure someone will tell me).
    As to your question: have I ever done etc, well yes I have and no one will ever read about it here. Or anywhere. I still cringe.

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    1. Agreed. Bad reviews hurt, but it's NEVER a good idea to react to them defensively. Everybody's entitled to their own opinions. (Even if they're wrong... HA!)

      What's interesting is the things that make us cringe don't seem to bother people nowadays. No matter what horrendous thing they get caught doing, they simply shrug it off. No shame. (I guess our generation used it all up.)

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  3. If you were young and your undies fell down today, they'd be A. a thong B. cheekies C. nothing because you wouldn't wear any.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Mine fell down in school in the 1st or 2nd grade. Surprisingly no one ever harassed me about it!!

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    2. Maybe, Janie, but those petti-pants were soooo much more comfortable.:)

      Lucky you, Fran. Bullying hadn't been invented yet. :)

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  4. My friends and I have talked about how glad we are that phones were not what they are now when we were in college. I have too many oopsie moments to count! If social media would have been around then I can only imagine the humiliation.

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    1. Oopsie moments are much more tolerable when they only reside in our memories, because we can "alter" them a bit to suit our egos. Recorded humiliations aren't nearly as forgiving.

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  5. Today I can laugh at "most" of my more embarrassing moments, however, there are a few that I wish would just disappear from my memory. There is a tape ....., no not that kind, that I hope will disintegrate.

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    1. Wouldn't it be nice if we could erase certain memories from our minds and enhance the ones we want to remember?

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  6. Very glad it wasn't there when I was a kid. Last thing one needs is to become a meme.

    Best just to ignore the trolls, even if they aren't trolls, and carry on. She proved that.

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    1. It depends. Maybe we could be a good meme?

      You're right. No matter how tempting it may be to respond, the best thing to do is ignore inflammatory comments.

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  7. Love the pic at the top of the blog!

    I am so glad the Internet and cell phones and You Tube and all that wasn't around when I was a kid. Home movies are bad enough. A lot of them are "silent" though so that's something. :)

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    1. Thanks!

      One of my uncles was forever taking pictures and movies of our huge extended family when I was a kid, and after he died, his daughter, who is a professional videographer, compiled clips from a bunch of his movies, added background music, and created amazing CDs as a gift for all of us cousins.

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  8. Loooved your post, friend Susan ... and looove your book: Hot Flashes ... as it gave me wings ... smiles ... Always, cat.

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    1. Thank you, sweet cat. Your comment about my book gave ME wings. :)

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  9. I think that all the time-- that I was blessed to get to make all my teen mistakes pre-digital age. It's so much easier to forget the stupid stuff when it's not recorded.

    So sad for that writer, but I wonder if it boosted her sales.

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    1. Oh, you're such a sweetie, I can't even imagine you making any mistakes as a teenager. :)

      I don't know what happened with that writer, but I have a feeling she had to take an anger management class and find a different line of work.

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  10. I worked for a company that had a big open house. I was set to deliver a spiel on our department. Total brain death and silence. A co-worker jumped in and did it. I was mortified.
    It happens to everyone and back in the day it was easier to recover


    Have a good weekend

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    1. Oh, you poor thing. I'm in my element when it comes to speaking in front of a crowd, but it wasn't always that way, so I can relate to your episode of stage fright, too.

      You have a super weekend, too.

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  11. I've had a few of those oopsie moments too. Like you, I am glad I grew up in a time when internet was not yet around!

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    1. I reckon we've all had our share of oopsie moments. Still, it strikes me as odd how many people willingly post those moments online these days. "Hey, world, look what a stupid thing I/my kid/husband/wife/friend did..."

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  12. Oh yes...thank goodness there were no mean girls with cell phones when I was in school. I wold have been mortified on a daily basis.

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  13. Most of my oopsie moments are because I am so daft, I take whatever is said at face value. Daft Daft Daft I say !
    Great post today.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Taking things at face value isn't daft; it's sweet. (Says one gullible ol' gal to another.)

      Cheers back atcha.

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  14. I have come to see embarrassment as a cautionary function in nature. We feel it for ourselves. We feel it for others. We learn by it and are bettered by it. We are encouraged toward compassion toward others and even ourselves. Knowing this has in no way decreased my hatred for embarrassment, or my suspicion that nature doesn't always like us very much.

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    1. Embarrassment is a useful tool to keep our behavior in check, because most of us hate to be humiliated, but unfortunately, too many people no longer get embarrassed by the cringe-worthy things they say and do.

      Can you blame nature? We haven't always been terrific stewards.

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  15. Your post reminded me of what was probably the biggest embarrassment of my childhood. I was in nursery school (maybe about three or four?) and I was the witch in the play "Hansel and Gretel." All I remember is that I hadn't gone to the bathroom in a while, I must have had too much to drink, and the excitement and stage fright must have gotten to me... I remember I was mortified at the time, but now I can laugh about it. Yeah, glad there weren't any cell phones around!

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    1. I can imagine how mortified you were, but ya know what? I'll bet you weren't the only child in the play who experienced a bit of leakage. :)

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  16. I've seen many authors ranting out publicly over a bad review. And I've personally walked many of my author friends off the ledge with advise and encouraging them to not say a single word in public...just pretend they didn't see the review.

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    1. Bad reviews are tough to take, but responding to them only makes matters worse.

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  17. Well, I'll never again hear that famous line from "Tea and Sympathy" without thinking of you. That's funny - although it wasn't at the time....

    I've done so many stupid and/or regrettable things in my life that they would fill a book (maybe two). And unfortunately, people seem to remember the crappy things that we did rather than the good ones.

    Another enjoyable post, Susan, and I love those two cats in the header photo.

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    1. No, it wasn't very funny at the time, but now I think it's hysterical.

      As for being able to fill a book or two, keep writing! (I'm waiting to read that book, cowboy...) And I disagree about the crappy stuff vs. the good stuff. With time, the crappy stuff starts to fade away, and the good memories become even better without all of that bad stuff weighing them down. That's how it works for me, anyhow.

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  18. Hi Susan - yes we can't get away ... and thank goodness the internet didn't come on stream any earlier than it did! The rants people start are so foolish ... taking so much time away from life.

    I wonder if you see Robby any more ... and if by chance he feels guilty about his actions - yet probably you both don't particularly worry now ...

    Lots of good thoughts here about rash ideas ... thanks - and enjoy the weekend - Hilary

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    1. Hi-ya, Hilary. It's so silly for people to get into silly online rants. I don't do that in real life, so why in the world would I want to do it from my computer? I guess some people think it's "safer" to be mean from the safety of their desk chair.

      No, I haven't seen Robby in years, but from what I remember of him, I don't think he ever regretted doing that. Afterwards, he just grinned at me. (And we remained friends for the rest of high school.)

      You enjoy the weekend, too. Cheers!

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  19. Guilty as charged. I have had my fair share of oopsie moments. :-)

    Greetings from London.

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  20. How funny, we both blogged about embarrassing moments! I'm guessing the 'petti-pants' were what we called (ca. '68) 'pant-a-loons'?
    Like others have commented, I THANK GOD the camera phones and the internet weren't around when I was tripping over my own tongue and toenails.

    PS - That's pretty sad about the writer's meltdown. Like my DIL says, I'm guessing she has no filter.

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    1. What can I say? Great minds think alike. :)

      Petti-pants and pant-a-loons are probably the same thing. Just different names from different parts of the country.

      You're right. No filter, and a complete inability to accept criticism. Not a terrific combination.

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