A few days ago, I posted something I wrote from a class I took in the Fall 2006 semester and today, I'm posting a piece that I wrote just a few days ago for my non-fiction class. The reason is because many of the events in them deal with music, and feels like a shame to just let the piece the die after getting it graded. So, here's Embarrassment:
I remember the embarrassing things that have happened to me in my life easier than I remember the good things, like my first kiss or the first time I got an “A” on a paper. There aren’t as many embarrassing moments as there good ones in your life, so they’re much easier to not forget. And boy is that ever true:
I remember the time when I thought the way to impress a girl was to buy her a ticket to a Britney Spears concert. It could just as easily been Pearl Jam (who were playing only three days before at the same venue), but I instead went with Britney, who was in the midst of her Oops, I Did It Again tour. After not calling Allison, the girl I was looking to woo, for practically the entire summer (which, I guess, I thought was the right thing to do), we got together the day of the concert, and right before going through the turnstiles, she noticed that she had lost her ticket. And I bought her another ticket…well, that would have been the smart thing of me to do, but instead she bought herself the ticket—and she had also paid for her original ticket too. So, for a show that I’d later find out she didn’t even want to go to, she paid over 100 bucks. You can imagine how the rest of the night went.
And that was my first date.
I remember when I was on a bus to Camp Nassau, which is where I spent two summers of day camp, with this incident happening in the summer of 1999. Sitting in the back, I noticed two sheets of paper on the ground, and picked them up. I wasn’t sure what I thought they were, but I read the first two lines: “Somebody once told me the world is gonna roll me/I ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed.” I went on to read the whole song, and soon after heard some kid much bigger than me yell out, “Where the hell are my lyrics to ‘All Star’?” I didn’t know the song’s title, but had to assume that there wasn’t another set of stray lyrics on the bus, so I shyly held them up over the seat so that he could see them. Getting out from his seat, the kid grabbed the papers and said, “Why the hell did you have these?” I responded back, “I, um, I found them. I’m, uh, sorry…” With the knowledge that everyone in the area was looking at him, he fiercely responded back, “Damn right you are. Do it again, you’re dead.” The typical response of a 13-year-old boy looking to prove himself. To this day, I can’t listen to Smash Mouth—although that’s partially because they stink.
And that was the first time I almost got beat up.
I remember when my girlfriend at the time couldn’t go to the prom because she was a year younger than me and her Mom wouldn’t let her go. So instead, I had to take her best friend, Allison—a different Allison, mind you. I had never met Allison #2, but it didn’t really matter because a) she wasn’t my girlfriend and b) she wasn’t who I wanted to go to prom with. I had also never seen a picture of her, and was forced to rely on one conversation over AIM to shape what she was like. Needless to say, things didn’t work out well, I heard snickering behind my back at prom while we participated in the most awkward slow-dance ever and she ended up making out with my friend later that night in a drunken haze—something that I wasn’t all that irritated over.
And that’s the closest I’ll ever get to a blind date. And get involved with someone named Allison.
I remember practicing for my graduation from elementary school where everyone had to act out what actual graduation in front of our parents was going to be like. For some reason, I was very nervous and before we even really started rehearsing, I felt myself silently burping and sweating, but didn’t do anything about it. When it started to get worse, I tried to get permission from my teacher to go to the nurse but she didn’t see me. I knew something bad was going to happen, so without permission, I ran to the nurse and made it just in time to vomit into a nicely placed trashcan—right in front of one of my other classmates whom I had been arguing with for essentially the whole year.
And that was the last time I would ever wait to puke.
I remember, to continue with the semi-disgusting embarrassing stories, the time I was in a program in elementary school called After School Activity Program, or ASAP, and I peed my pants while making a snack called Ants-on-a-Log, which is simply celery coated with peanut butter with raisins acting as the “Ants.” I didn’t have another pair of pants, so I was forced to pillage through the school’s lost and found box, and ended up with a pair of gray sweatpants that I, even at that young age, knew weren’t stylish. It also made it obvious to everyone that something had happened to my old pants, and it didn’t take much stretch of the imagination to guess what that was.
And that was the last time I peed my pants.
I remember the first time I tried taking a girl’s bra off. It was with my longest lasting girlfriend, Hannah, and on the floor of her living room. After making out for quite some time, I reached under her shirt and stealthily tried to get her bra off in one quick move, like you see in the movies. But sadly, because I hadn’t done this before and was suffering terrible allergies from her cats, I had moves closer to Woody Allen than Marlon Brando. After not getting it after the first try, I instead went to rubbing her back, hoping that she hadn’t noticed what I was attempting to do. A few minutes later, I tried again. And again, I had no success. Waited 3 minutes, tried again and failed. Hannah pulled away and asked, “Are you trying to take this off?” pointing to her bra. I sheepishly answered affirmatively, and she did it for me. I was happy to reach my goal, but upset that this was going to happen all over again because she didn’t actually show me how, she did it herself.
And that was the first time I acted like an idiot while kissing someone. And definitely not the last.
I remember another time with Hannah where we, once again, were kissing and things were about to progress to the skill I had now accomplished mentioned above, when, for no reason, I asked Hannah a question about Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I can’t quite remember what the question was exactly, but that’s sort of beside the point. At that moment, while kissing a girl I loved her, I felt the impulse to ask her about a boy wizard, with no attempt at humor meant for.
And that’s the last time, well, I’d ever do that again.
I remember the first time I took a hit from a bong. It was on my friend Tom’s porch that hung over the driveway and had a good view of the street mere feet away from the house’s ground level. He and I were hanging out with a mutual friend, Josh, when Tom asked if we wanted to “smoke up.” Not being one to pass up an opportunity for free weed, I said sure, and expected him to take out his handy red and black glass pipe. But, instead, he told us to follow him out of the living room where we were sitting onto the outside porch—but not before grabbing a small plastic soda bottle. I didn’t know exactly what he was doing by grabbing that, but I had an idea. After decorating the bottle with a slash and some tin foil, I definitely knew what we were about to do. Sitting in a circle on the unusual turf carpeting of the porch, Tom and Josh put the bong together while I sat around looking pretty and wondering what I was going to do. When they were finished, Tom got the first hit, passed it to Josh who also took a hit and then passed it to me. I had been watching them but was a little too nervous to really have paid attention. But I knew what I had to do, so I got ready to take a hit and…exhaled. I knew something was going wrong because I was feeling nothing and they looked pissed at me. Turns out, when you exhale, nothing happens and you get the weed soaked, making it rather useless.
And that’s the last time I would ever use a bong with Tom.
I can remember going to the hospital in a stretcher although I was perfectly conscious. During my brief stay at SUNY Purchase, I became very depressed (hence the “brief” part) and thought it would be a good idea to, what they would call later, “harm myself” by taking pills. When I did this, I was commuting from my Uncle’s house because they kicked me out of school housing due to a previous similar incident. He brought me to the ER and, after getting tested, the doctors decided I needed to be in a psychiatric center (another term I like to use), and they called an ambulance. I really wish my Uncle could have brought me, but they wouldn’t allow that. So, I was put into a straight jacket, cutting off all movement that I wouldn’t have used anyways because I was very calm, solemn even. Walking through a hospital while being escorted by two ambulance drivers in that jacket is something that I won’t soon forget, for although the other aforementioned events were embarrassing, this was a new kind of embarrassment. Those were individual moments that are mostly forgotten by everyone but me (although I’m sure Allison remembers the concert…), but this one played a heavy role in my life, and was a different kind of judgment than people thinking that maybe you peed your pants when you’re a 8-year-old kid because you’re wearing different pants than you were before.
And that’s the last time I would be in a straight jacket and go to the “psychiatric center.”
I remember when I was trying to get some private time with my current girlfriend, Nadia, at my William Street dorm. I live in an Open Double in the Open part, which means that the room I have my bed in also has another bed 10 feet away and the entire kitchen. There’s another room in the dorm that is closed off, and has only one person sleeping in it. Nadia and I had planned a good time to go into the other room when the roommate, Baxter, who lives in there would be gone. Once we knew he wasn’t coming back (and the other roommate wasn’t in the Open part, for he could “tattle” on us), we went into the room, and started to, ahem, mess around. After about five minutes, I thought I heard the main dorm door open and close, and was immediately on alert. Turns out this caution served me well, because it was Baxter and, just like in the movies, he started turning the doorknob to his room very slowly. I raced over to the door, and barricaded it with my body so he wouldn’t come on. He kept trying to open it, and I said something like, “Hey, I’m just watching a movie in here,” which gives no explanation for why I was keeping him out of his room, a room I didn’t have permission to be in anyways. After this, he gave up trying to open the door and said, “I’ll come back in a few minutes.” Nadia started to laugh, while I wanted to do the same but couldn’t bring myself to do so because of how much of an asshole I felt right there. We straightened ourselves out, and went back to my bed and watched TV. After a few minutes passed, the door opened. I expected to see Baxter, so I was surprised to see his friend. I knew that he must have known what had happened so I told him, “Tell Baxter that I’m so, so sorry. And don’t worry, we weren’t doing that.” The friend grabbed something from the room, laughed and left. For some reason, I thought leaving a note on Baxter’s pillow would be a good idea; sort of a twisted Tooth Fairy action, I suppose. Roughly an hour later, Baxter came back with two friends, and I just said, “I’m so sorry.” He laughed and told me, “It’s alright. I figured what was going on because I know Nadia’s here a lot. It was my friend,” he pointed to the guy who came in earlier, “who thought you were in there by yourself, if you catch my drift.”
And that’s the last time I would go into Baxter’s room.
Many of these events were quite inconsequential; I mean, all kids vomit in school at some point or do something awkward while making out with someone. But I can remember all of these events quite clearly, as if they were all recent occurrences while, in fact, many of them are from years and years ago. Although I’m ashamed of most of these (for varying reasons), I am sort of happy with them because they can make for one heck of a story.