About 6 years ago, I am coordinating my first national sales meeting. 70+ VIPs, employees and sales reps meeting in Vegas for a 2 day annual conference, of which I am In Charge. This was my first one, so I was fairly nervous -- read: anal and overly conscientious. At the end of the first day, I sigh in relief as I make my way to the plush, loud lobby of our Vegas hotel with the Marketing team and a couple of the more "fun-loving" set of Reps for cocktails.
This is Vegas; the cocktails weren't joking around. Toward the end of my second drink, which I know to be my safe limit, the head of Marketing is already climbing to his feet to grab me a third. I know I need to wait, especially with the unfamiliar Reps scattered around the table, and my early-morning responsibilities in the morning.
"No, no!" I insist. "I don't think that'd be a good idea. My nips are numb!"
Followed by dead silence while I stared at my drink, trying to decide whether I'd really heard that or if I had just had too much to drink and thought I heard it. The sudden, wheezing gales of laughter sealed it. Fuck me! I'd like to blame my flaming red face on the fact that I was laughing my ass off, but anyone who knows me knows better. ^_^;;;
"I meant my lips are numb, my lips are numb -- which is self-evident, I believe!"
I never lived that one down in that company. In fact, knowing that marketing department and a couple other people who were there, I bet it's still laughed about every year at the Sales Conference cocktail hour. Which to be honest, I don't resent. :)
But that's not the point. The point is, everyone in my family, from my dad down, does the same kind of thing.
Case in point:
My dad. Ah, the genetic source material. Shy, thoughtful guy. At our recent vacation together in Long Beach, the adult group (6 of us) were talking about about movies and Netflix Instant Watch. Defending his choice to watch The Blind Side with Sandra Bullock, he protests:
"It's not a click shits---"
I have to disagree; it is something of a chick flick. But being the upstanding Christian that he is, this piece of unintended blasphemy ground his defense to an abrupt halt.
Poor dad. He's probably not used to being laughed at quite that hard.
My brother. Smart guy: works as a manager in developing at the largest software developer in the nation. My story is from when he was young -- had to have been at least 10 years ago, maybe more. We were all sitting around the kitchen table, playing D&D. Roland, the Dungeon master, throws something out there to confound us, and my brother crows:
"Ah ha! The flot pickens!"
He has never, and will never, live that down. John will see to it.
My sister. Damn. She did it just the other week, and I drank too much to remember it. Argh! I'll get you later, sis.
My niece. My 21-year-old niece, Betsey, went from person to person through the entire house in order to sort us into our appropriate Harry Potter houses: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff or Slytherin. We're a family of gamers, so I was intrigued when she asked several people to do this "Quest". So I asked her about it... Apparently, she kept trying to say both "quiz" and "test", and ending up with a combination: "Quest." How apropos.
My son. My 19-year-old son, Jude, just said "If someone wants to make a dig beal out of it..." (Rather than "big deal"). Christmas 2015.
My mom. In one sense, my mom gets to sit back and laugh at us, since she doesn't have the same problem. Exactly. However, I'm publishing an embarrassing story of her. Just to keep things even, you understand.
At Long Beach (again), the 6 of us were testing my parents against Briggs Myers' personality test. My mother, a strong "Perceiver" on the test (vs. Judging), always has a hard time making up her mind to answer the questions, dragging it out longer and longer. Finally, frustrated, she tried to explain:
"My P-ness is so strong that..."
My sister, my father and I knew exactly what she was trying to say, and we just nodded sagely. John and Luna, who're genetically unlinked, just heard what she actually said and burst into laughter. Followed -- one by one -- by my family as we finally got the joke. Mom was last, but I love my family, because no one laughed harder than she did.
It's slowly gaining momentum as a legend in the family, and can be a universal excuse for back aches, trouble concentrating or simple hunger. "But my penis is so strong..."
And there it is. Familial quirks and public humiliation. Good times.
Originally published 10/2010