Toney and I snuck away on Friday afternoon for a couple pints of happy-hour Sierra Nevadas at the local pressed-slacks bar. And while we were enjoying the hops, we remembered something from our California days that had us both laughing.
When we first moved out there my new boss tried to include us in a lot of social activities. He’d uprooted us, with small baby in-tow, from our comfortable life in Atlanta, and was obviously trying to make the transition a little easier. He’s a nice guy, who, I think, took it personally when I moved to Scranton years later; from the day I told him my decision, things were never quite the same between the two of us.
Anyway, he and his wife would invite us to dinner on many of those early weekends, and we’d go over there and try to think of interesting things to say. I’m not comfortable making semi-formal chit-chat with people I don’t know, so it was all fairly excruciating for me. But I did it, for the sake of my “career” (ha!), and because it was a nice gesture on their part.
They live in a sprawling home, with a spectacular view. It was obviously built in the 1970s, and reminded me of the Brady Bunch house. Not exactly, but close enough to make me see phantom Alices out of the corner of my eye.
In the backyard was an incredible swimming pool, with a rock cliff and waterfall at one end. I’d never seen anything quite like it, except in Sir Mix-A-Lot videos.
And inside, probably because of the ’70s influence, everything was on different levels. Every room, it seemed, required a person to take one step up or one step down, upon entering and exiting. In fact, some rooms had multiple levels within them. The architect must have earned his chops designing fun houses for amusement parks.
So, what do you think happened? That’s correct, we’d go over there and trip and stumble around, like big ol’ doofuses.
The problem, you see, is that we were uptight and focusing on the conversation. And we’d forget about all the step-ups and step-downs. I remember following them through their living room, toward the den at the rear of the house, and suddenly stepping off one of those curbs.
My right ankle folded under, both my legs went rubbery, and I free-fell onto an end table. Knick-knacks went sailing in every direction, and a lamp almost tipped over. Highly embarrassing.
And on our next visit, I believe, Toney tripped on our way to the front door, and might have done a full forward roll. Probably not, but that’s the way I choose to remember it…
After two or three of these humiliating incidents, I started to believe the house was conspiring against us. I was sure rooms that were sunken on previous visits, were now elevated, etc. It was like a Bentley Little novel.
It got so bad we’d actually park in front of their house, and give each other a pep talk before going in. “What are we going to do tonight? We’re going to pay attention to where we’re walking – at all times!”
Then we’d go inside, stumble into the kitchen, and almost plunge our heads in a pot of boiling spaghetti noodles.
Yeah, we tried to laugh it off in a self-deprecating manner, but I once caught our host and hostess shooting each other a conspiratorial “Holy shit, what’s wrong with these people?” look. So, it was no good, no good at all.
It got a little better with time, but I don’t believe we ever fully mastered their big ol’ house o’ levels. Ever-changing levels, I’m convinced…
And that’ll do it for today, boys and girls. I’m hoping you’ll make me feel better with some stories of your own. Have you ever humiliated yourself in front of a boss, or authority figure? I can’t be the only one?
Tell us about it, won’t you? Use the comments link below.
And I’ll see ya next time.
I am sooo first! More to follow.
jim britton says
Oh I’ve done plenty of stupid things around the many, many bosses I’ve had.
Most of the time I don’t mind telling anyone who’ll stand still long enough about what an idiot I am.
But this topic just gives me the willies. I think I’ll take the fifth today.
top ten ?
Top 5? Yippee!
Shiny Rod says
Six, O yeah!
Oh, I’ve embarrassed myself alright – embarrassed myself REAL GOOD. That would be one of the reasons I drink SO LITTLE anymore. Let’s just say that alcohol dissolves any filter my mouth might have had. I’ll leave it at that.
That goes double for work related social occasions. Other than that, I’m with Jorge on this one – pleading the 5th.
Happy Monday, Surfers!
Pickles the Clown says
Shiny Rod says
Beside parading my overseas dates onboard ship during port visits. Nah! i can’t think of anything embaressing.
I’m crying in my cubicle!!
Hee!!! Man, you’re funny.
Once, a lifetime or so ago, I went over to my boss’ house for dinner. Just him, and me. Dear Lord, that alone was enough to give me the jibbles….
We were both new in town, didn’t really KNOW anyone, so that was cool, but i KNEW he’d just been broken up with by a friend of mine from over hte mountain in Harrisonburg and all’s I could think was “His bedroom is back there. He had sex with her IN THERE! He has sexual relations with people I know. EW!!!”! I totally geeked out, lost my cool, and as a result of the hyper-nervousness peed all over my jeans the ONE time I dared walk down the hall to the bafroom.
Also there was the time I got so drunk at a wedding reception that it was all I could do to stagger in the door home and collapse on the LR floor, dress over my head. Needless to say, the former Mr Tiff (who did not go to the wedding with me) was none too happy to see that an hour later when he came home with his former boss and life mentor. And his wife.
Yeah. I got a hunnert just like that, if I allow myself to think on it a little while.
I have a bunch that start with me getting drunk.
One that sticks out happened in Houston, TX. He wasn’t really my boss, but we were thinking about buying a condo together as an investment. I’d known him for several years. We went out and had a few beers and he asked me to come to his place to meet his wife. When we got there she was in the back of the house, in the bedroom. He gave me a beer from the ice box and went to get her. They were back there for several minutes.
Then he came back out and said she’d be a minute. So I had another beer and sat on the couch. She finally came out in a t-shirt and panties and she said, “Hi.” then went over to him and they started making out. I said, “I better get going.” and he insisted that I join them. And she nodded in agreement. I was so shocked that I just started laughing. I laughed all the way to the door and I drove off. We never bought the condo, by the way. I haven’t seen them since.
J Shifty says
I was once in an empty elevator, with the doors closing, and let loose a post-lunch methane cloud. A victimless crime, right?
Of course right at that moment a hand appeared in the gap, the doors opened again, and the humorless company CFO walked in. I tried to pretend nothing was out of the ordinary, but he had to know.
Shiny Rod says
Tiff, you are so my kinda woman. My ex did the same thing. went out to a party and came home stinking drunk. I was not amused.
Shiny Rod says
J Shifty – stay away from Yankee Candle Shops then. especially if you see a guy laughing his ass off as he exits the shop.
Funny you mention the Brady bunch house. I was looking at a house this past week which bears an uncanny resembles to the brady house. Kinda cool actually… Nice big garage to store my vehicular collection… Though not built in the 70’s, it features damn level changes everywhere. I’m afraid if I buy it my parents will break a hip in that place when they pop over.
I had a summer job once that required me to drive around in my car all day, checking on swimming pools at apartment complexes. My boss did pretty much the same thing, but with a bigger range and he was checking on my checking.
One day I got pulled over for having expired tags and, since I had long hair and lots of trash in my car, the cop decided I must also have had some pot in there somewhere. Within five minutes, there were three police cars parked behind mine, and a K-9 unit searching my car.
Unbelievably, my boss drove by at just that moment, recognized me leaning up against the cop car, and decided to pull over and watch.
It was then that I remembered I had a replica Colt pistol pellet gun hidden under my passenger seat, complete with a very real police-issue holster that my friend had given me for my birthday. I warned the cop who was guarding me, who told his friend searching my car.
By boss’s jaw dropped when they pulled that out. It took a lot of explaining to him once they let me go, and I’m not sure he ever completely believed me.
Drunk of course…
years ago told my boss that his kid (8 yrs old) looked evil and might be the devil
years ago at a xmas party at the home of the boss, puked in the kitchen while telling a story that was funny the first time i told it but not on the 10th time; then slipped on the steps on the way out (they were icey at least) and busted my ass in front of all. After falling I then decided it was much easier to just lay there and have the car brought to me.
thank god that was a long time ago and I now have a clean slate for last 10 years or so.
Let’s just say that alchol, my co-workers and some badly spaced words do not mix.
We were at a function, I was getting tipsy, talking loudly to my husband, trying to be heard by him over the Really LOUD music when it suddenly went silent, right as I said in my loudest voice……… “Butt Fuck”.
No matter that it was not a hint of the evening to come, it had absolutely nothing to do with me or the hubby. We had been discussing a co-worker who had some issues, but the people I work with never did let it go. In fact it became a running joke. Soo glad I don’t work there anymore. Jeeze.
I commented on a female co-worker’s rear end only to get the response, “Yeah, she’s my wife,” from my boss.
Nothing bad came of it, in fact he hired me at another job years later.
I used to work at a company with an office in my home town, and an office in Union Square. One co-founder was in my office, the other in New York. The NY space was one of those shared Tech spaces and the other company in our space made educational videos for small children.
Someone came to visit my office and was saying how annoying the video people were and did an impression in a very sing-song voice “Click on the BLUE ball”, “That’s right, very good!”.
So fast forward to the first company meeting and both co-founders were at my office. At the end of the meeting the NY guy announces that they had secured new office space. To which I say:
“Great! No more blue balls!”
Total silence, total utter silence. I knew something was wrong, but didn’t know what. After a long pause he slowly turn to me and says “What do you mean by that?” And I repeated the example that was given me. He turned about 10 shades of red and gave the much better example of “The cat is in the tree. Click on the cat”.
Only after the meeting was over and I was back in my office that I had the a-ha moment where I realized what I had said.
New in town. Boss takes me cross country skiing. Getting back into her car I shut the door and the point of my ski pole impales the lovely leather upholstery on the inside of the door. A nice real big rip.
She never invited me again…
I blogged about it once, but it would take longer to find it than tell it again.
Went to a revue and then to an after party given by mr. kenju’s boss and his wife, for breakfast, about midnight. We had to leave early (2am) because our babysitter had to get home. They all asked me why she had to get home and (in front of about 18 people) I tried to say…”Her husband has a slipped disk” and I said “he has a stripped dick.” I had not had a drop to drink that night, I was just bone tired.
db grin says
I was at my girlfriend’s folks’ cottage one summer afternoon, and stepped from the boat onto the dock. My swim shorts split, right up the front, from inseam to Superband Waistband.
Her father was standing right in front of me on the dock.
These shorts did not feature a safety net.
She broke up with me later that week. The reason is still a mystery, and I’m content to leave it that way.
db gin – tell her it was cold outside. I’m sure that’ll work.
Shiny Rod says
db gin – always, boxers or briefs but never go commando when visiting the future in-laws. To many things can go wrong and as you found out, well I think you didn’t impress the future father-in-law that you could bring give him a couple of knee bouncers.
Shiny Rod says
A super secret update, a friday and saturday update and now a monday update. Jeff you are too kind. U Da Man!
The Evil Twin says
The dad of a good friend of ours had an interesting first meeting. He moved from the west coast to a new position here at Carbide. He had a bad cold but couldn’t miss his first day reporting for the job, so he showed up promptly. He was given his orientation and, upon meeting his new boss for the first time, sneezed so hard that a huge snotwad flew across the table and landed on his new boss’ tie! Ho!
Jason, you’re crackin’ me up!
ralph b johnson says
i was in prescription meds that made me very iritable
i warned everyone at work about the irritibality, and to avoid me if possible
my boss, a minister,did not believe me
he was telling me something that was not requiring an answer
my response to whatever he said was”listen mother******,”
he then relized that should be left alone
Shiny Rod says
Well, now that I think about it I do have one but it didn’t involve the boss thank God. We were in our lab chatting one day and one of the female techs was talking about her boyfriend. She mentioned that he was very picky about what he liked on his sandwich so he always went to the same place to get his favorite. She stated that they even named the sandwhich after him. Well, blurted out the name and every fell to the floor laughing. You see, the guys favorite sandiwch is a hamburger and his last name is Furr . Yeah, try that one in mixed company and when everyones sober.
Shiny Rod, again, you’re crackin’ me up!
Shiny Rod says
Ok, time for some Fullers. My spelling is getting bad.
Hey Jeff, just thought you should know and nobody has told you, Jack Boston died yesterday. Here’s a link to a story about it in the local paper:
Matt Hearn says
I had a boss in college, great guy, very short; I’m no Yao Ming, but I’m over six feet. I don’t know if it was Tourette’s, or what, but for some reason my brain simply could not have a conversation with the man without accidentally mentioning his height.
In winter once we both wore large-brimmed fedoras to work (it was snowing, he was older and of a hat-wearing generation, I was a college-aged douchebag who thought I was the reincarnation of Walter Nitty) and compared sizes, and I said something like “Wow, you sure have a big head for a little guy!”
It was shit like that, all the time. It was never on purpose, and of course the more I tried to avoid mentioning it, the more often it just sprayed out. And then I’d spend the rest of the day sitting in my cube muttering “what the fuck is wrong with you you schmucksack, stop fucking referring to his height” and then I’d pass him on the way out and do something like not realize he was behind me and drop a door on him and say something about how I didn’t mean to drop such a heavy door on him, as if to say “it’s good thing I caught it before you bounced back across the room, shrimpy!”
It was unbelievable fucktardation.
db – pictures or it didn’t happen.
Shiny Rod -!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And six glasses of cabernet later – it’s all good. 🙂
Greg- I don’t mean to make you laugh. I’m only here in a pathetic attempt to impress Gretchen. So far, so bad. Hey brother, did you wish her a happy birthday? She ate raw fish, you know. And I think there was some green tea involved.
And Diane thinks I’m an ass (cute but creepy). Not the best place to be, if you’re me.
Jason: Oh, you’re impressive all right. :oP
Actually I switched gears and had Mediterranean. Mmmmm, baba ganoush. It was getting late, I didn’t want to miss the game, and they had takeout. Sushi can wait for another day.
Shiny Rod: Humor me, I’m having a blonde moment and can’t for the life of me figure out your joke, dang it. Must have blown out a ball bearing cheering for the Eagles.
Gretchen – you know you love me. It’s okay. We can keep it quiet. Truth be known, you’re too smart for me.
(Gretchen, I’m playing. You’re fun)
Oh God. I’m drunk. Remeber that? Gimme a pass, Gretchen, if you please Thanks. Super.
My worst actually DID NOT involve alcohol………Amazingly enough..
I was out of town for a final interview with the CEO and the National Sales manager…….. After a full morning of being run through the wringer by both they sugested we go to lunch….. ahhhh a bit of relaxation? Nope……. I ordered chicken, as I beagn to make the first cut my knife slips across the plate a strikes a bowl of broc. and cheese soup……. Yes you guessed it…. Soup all over both of them, I was looking for a rock to crawl under. Luckily they brushed it off and hired me anyway. Great job except for the corruption of cash payments to state employees! I left after 4 months…..
Made an ass of myself last night, I don’t know if that counts.
Shiny Rod says
Oh Gretchen! Just for you, besides, I have a thing for blondes. His name is Furr and he likes burgers. So iuf they named the sandwich after him, what would it be called? That’s all I’m gonna give you.
Love the illustration (falling down), Jeff….where’d that come from?
Amy’s story had me trying very hard not to laugh out loud at the office. Just thinking about it makes me giggle.
No embarrassing stories that I can think of. I don’t drink and drive and since I’m single I generally drive myself to these types of events.
Shiny Rod: I have figured out the problem!! Apparently I was unaware of the term “fur burger” as, well, what it is. Crap! My “Compendium of Vulvular Euphemisms” must be missing an edition! That or when you turn 36 you’re officially out of the loop. You crazy kids, get off my lawn!! }:oO
Northerner on Holiday says
Just last season Orlando, the lead carpenter in my office was talking about the Yankees…and he’s from the motherland with a heavy accent. He couldn’t quite get the J sound going and kept saying ‘Jankees’.
That’s all well and good, give the guy a break, right, he’s not from here…..nope!
I stop him in his tracks in front of everyone in the office and say “please tell me you didn’t just say Jankees!” Then I started laughing directly in his face. WTF?
To make matters even worse, Jim, Orlandos’ boss, chimes in with “If you can say Jankees how come you always call me Yim”. Fucking hilariousness! It was like our collective pc filter just went and broke down!
Shiny Rod says
Gretchen, I’m actually turning 50 tomorrow. My boxer/chow does a good job of keeping everything off the lawn except what she puts there.
Well happy big 5-0 in advance, Shiny Rod!