Ever say something stupid in public? Ever do something goofy, or fall on your butt on the ice with everyone watching? Me, too. In fact, I think I’m the Queen of Foot-in-Mouth. My yapper is always going off before my brain kicks in, generally in a lame attempt at humor. Mind you, it works more often than it doesn’t, but when it doesn’t work, it tends to crash to the ground like the proverbial lead balloon. (The Mythbusters proved you can make a lead balloon fly, by the way, but that’s another blog.)
So why is this such a big deal for me? Because I can’t let it go. I’m serious. I will lay in bed at night and torture myself reliving something incredibly stupid I said fourteen years ago. Yes, I have a specific incident in mind when I say that. There was also once at a wedding when the usher offered me his arm, and I took hold of it just opposite of the way a lady is supposed to. That was about sixteen years ago, but notice I can still recall the exact details. So stupid to fuss over, but I do it. In fact, I can think back to a Christmas party my parents had when I was about ten where I said something that was misconstrued by a guest. I was deathly embarrassed, so I drag that one up to beat myself with on occasion.
So am I the only one who will do this? Am I the only one who will be worrying about something, get distracted by something, then come back and say to myself, “Now what was I stressing about?” This has got to be the sign of some pathology. That’s right – I believe I am certifiably insane. I have to be to be a writer, right?
And why can’t I think about all the good things I’ve done. I saved a little girl from choking once. The Heimlich really works, by the way. I’m a fairly decent parent. I am good at my job, and can make people laugh. Yes, even typing that short list makes me cringe. I feel arrogant putting my strengths out there. My weaknesses, though – hell, we can dwell on those for days.
Is this being a woman, I wonder? Or is it being raised with a double-helping of the guilt complex? Or am I really clinically nuts? Call it what you will, but I do think it brings me one advantage in my chosen avocation (hopefully one day vocation) – I can torture the heck out of my characters. I do it to myself every day.