Embarrassing moments — we have all had them. There seems to be an unwritten rule that requires all human beings to experience those blush-producing incidents that we commonly refer to as awkward. What makes matters even worse is that those incidents are usually self-inflicted. It is painful when you look around and realize that you have no one to blame for your uncomfortable situation other than yours truly.
I recently had to face this shameful truth over and over again as I looked back on all of my life's most embarrassing moments. However, upon greater reflection, I discovered that there was a certain experience where I could place all of the blame upon someone else's shoulders.
So, without further ado, I would like to proclaim to the world that it was all my mother's fault!
It all happened one crisp winter day. The little college freshman version of me was walking back to my apartment after class with ear buds in.
I was listening to classical music.
I may or may not have a tendency to close my eyes when I hear a song that touches my soul. It has been my experience that one can more fully soak up music when one's eyes are closed.
That being said, as I was walking along, the beautiful melodies of "Nessun Dorma" began to sound in my ears.
I instantly found myself lost in the music and the world around me quickly disappeared. Before it could completely fade from all consciousness, however, some logical side of my brain reminded me that I was still in the middle of walking home.
That same logical side of my mind also reminded me that eyes are usually pretty crucial in navigating where my feet take me, and that without them I would likely walk straight into something. With this in mind, my eyes immediately flew open and found myself within two inches of running into a large object.
As my good old mind was preoccupied in sending a signal to bring my legs to a rapid halt, it did not have time to process the situation that stood before me. So, in a sort of reflex, I began to apologize profusely to the "person" I had almost run over. I started explaining what had happened and why I was walking the streets with my eyes closed.
Then my brain processed the situation more fully: I was standing there, apologizing to a telephone pole.
I quickly looked around to see if by some miracle my act had somehow gone unnoticed by my fellow students — no such luck. They were all staring. So I did the only thing one could do in such a situation: I smiled and continued to walk on as if nothing had happened.
But inside I was brimming with laughter. I tried my best to contain it so that I wouldn't make myself look any more insane than I already had. However, something worse happened. My body could not hold in that much hysterical laughter at once, so it proceeded to push tears from my eyes as a sort of release.
Now the crazy girl who had just finished apologizing to a pole was walking down the street biting back a smile and crying like a baby. I couldn't take it any longer. I let it all out. I laughed and laughed as tears continued to stream down my face. To an onlooker I would have seemed to fit the definition of insane.
Now, I bet you are wondering how I could possibly find a way to blame my mother for this embarrassing moment. After all, she was in a completely different state at the time! Well, ladies and gentlemen, I will now share my amazing realization that makes this whole argument valid.
"All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother."
OK, I guess Abraham Lincoln realized it first. However, it still applies to my situation. You see, I too owe everything I am to my angel mother. She should get the credit for all of my successes. She can also be blamed for how I react to certain situations. For example, let's look at that telephone pole incident once more.
Why was I closing my eyes?
From a young age my wonderful mother instilled a deep love for music in me. We listened to Bach in the car and went to many concerts. She helped me learn how to embrace music and let it touch my soul.
Why did I apologize to the telephone pole?
I cannot even count the number of times I was gently (or not so gently) told to go apologize to someone when I made a mistake. Whether I was being asked to go say, "Excuse me" to the old woman I had bumped into as I ran down the cereal aisle as a child, or being forced to sit in a chair opposite my brother until we had both apologized for calling each other weird, my mom always made sure I learned how to properly apologize. She obviously did a superb job if my immediate reaction upon opening my eyes was to tell the "person" in front of me how sorry I was.
My mom taught me to love life and the little moments that piece it together. She taught me to "stop and smell the roses," and find reasons to celebrate. But one of the best things she taught me was to laugh at myself. Life is too short to take yourself too seriously.
So you see, my mother can be blamed for everything that happened that crisp winter day. Her expert mothering helped me become the happy, mannerly, music-loving person I am today. Everything I am is her fault.