Saturday Night I fell on my face in front of about 100 people who were ALL watching me.
No, that isn’t a metaphor.
Falling on my face ACTUALLY actually happened. If I was going to slaughter the English language more than I already do, I’d emphasize this with “it LITERALLY ACTUALLY happened.”
Saturday morning I received news that a friend, who was far far far far FAR too young, passed away after an epic battle with brain cancer (PS – To anyone who wants to make a statement about how much cancer effing SUCK please check out never quit., an online store full of merchandise bearing the legacy that he leaves behind. All proceeds go to the Relay for Life of Greater Portland (and American Cancer Society)) Needless to say, being around people and trying to laugh and enjoy life was going to be pretty much going to be imperative.
“Fortunately” for me I was already heading out to the Portland Improv Festival since I had helped out with their PR. I even had made arrangements for a date. I was doing anything and everything to take my mind off things for the night.
Fast-forward to 6:45 PM, date cancels, drop mascara wand on shirt so I need to put on another, laying on the couch being miserable but still trying to push through cause darnit I made a commitment and I like to stick by those things. I mean I’m not really big on relationship commitment, but being good on my word is a totally different thing.
I managed to pull myself vaguely together and wander down to the St. Lawrence Arts Center, arriving at about 7:50 for an 8 PM start. By myself. But ready for good laughs. The first group was hilarious, the second grou amusing, and the third group (Running With Scissors) held a dear spot, cause my friend is in the troupe. And when they scanned the audience after a 3rd request for a female volunteer, I figured “What the hell do I have to lose?”
I stood up, climbed over the 3 people seated immediately to my right (those rows at St. Lawrence are NOT designed for movement during the show. And walked down the stairs to the stage. What happened in the next 2-5 seconds I cannot recall exactly cause I have NO idea how I could be this un-coordinated. I’m usually pretty clumsy, but this was at an excelling nature.
I went to step up onto the one foot high stage and somehow tripped and laid myself flat on the stage edge.
Photo Credit: Getty Images – MIXA
Now I’ll grant you. This was a Comedy Festival. And there was beer and wine served at the concession stands. So people were free with the laughter. And let me tell you…as I lay splayed for what couldn’t have been more than 3-5 more seconds many thoughts went flowing through my head.
- Did I seriously just do that?
- How the hell did I seriously just do that?
- I bet my butt is sticking either straight up in the air or in some guys face.
- Oh god, three Twitter folks I know are sitting RIGHT in the front row.
- Seriously…where is my butt pointing?
- I’m going to have to get up, there’s someone coming to help me.
- Ow, my knee really hurts.
- This is totally going to suck in stories of posterity.
- Speaking of posteriors…WHERE IS MY BUTT?!?!
Before I knew it I was up and sitting in a chair telling the Improv performer, who was trying to “interview” me without continuing to laugh hysterically as she, I’m sure, replayed the scene over and over in her head America’s Funniest Home Video style.
Back to the safety of my seat (yes, I craftfully navigated the “exit” from the stage) I watched as the improv scene unfolded. Where Rachel acted out what *I* would be like on a date, based on our little interview. Needless to say, she fell multiple MULTIPLE times.
And I was faced with options. Option to sit awkwardly and pout. Option to seethe. Option to hide my face in complete and utter embarrassment and shame. Option to leave to said bar and stock up on Allagash microbrews.
Or the option to sit there, watch the scene unfold (PS Rach – it isn’t fair when you bring our outside improv experiences in with lots of beer bottles…that was just that one time!) and laugh full heartedly at everything that was happening on stage.
I chose that last option. It helps that grace has never been one of my top five shining characteristics, so scenes like that, though infrequent, are not foreign to me. Granted, this one was on a slightly larger scale!
The funny (pun only kinda sorta a little bit intended) is that when stuff happens that shakes you or hurts you or puts you down (physically…puts you down on your butt…) then the best thing to do it laugh along with everyone else and take the good-natured teasing in stride.
Pride and ego are things that easily bruise. So don’t let the events of the day leave a mark.
Course the edge of the stage at the St. Lawrence Arts Center sure does!!
Got some stories of public shame? How did you find a silver lining, or laugh them off? Or do they still haunt you to this day?