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BRODY: We all deal with embarrassment. Be easy on yourself.

In 1993, during a sermon in my parents’ church, the minister spoke of embarrassment.

He told of the day that just as he was stepping into the shower, his dog, Stormy, barked to come inside.

He loosely wrapped a small towel around himself and left to let the dog in.

As he opened the door, a large burly workman stood just a few feet away in the door and the minister, always mannerly, said, “Hello!”

The workman smiled and boomed, “Well … Hello there!”

Forgetting all about poor Stormy, the minister slunk behind the closed door, his face ablaze.

The minister’s story brought back a painful memory for me.

In high school, I was on the swim team, and at the meets I always got very nervous.

Once, before an important meet housed at a competition school pool, I felt an urgent need to go to the girl’s bathroom, which was situated alongside the boy’s bathroom. Both were in full view of the stands of spectators.

Being as though every eye was on me, (how egotistical can you get), I made my way to the first door.

Guess what? It was the boy’s bathroom, which was immediately obvious by the strange facilities. I had never seen seatless – you know.

“Oh no!” I yelled. “I cannot believe I’m in the boy’s bathroom!” And worst that every single person in this auditorium saw me come in here.

My heart pounded. My palms got sweaty and my brain lost all memory of why I came into that room in the first place.

I stood frozen just inside the door trying to decide which was worse: to walk out that door in front of all those people or stay in there until some boy walked in to use the – um – thing. 

Either way, in my 15-year-old mind, I was ruined forever.

I decided to be caught and to witness a boy – you know – would be infinitely worse, so, in one burst of adrenalin, I fled the room looking neither right nor left. 

Now, before you go laughing at me, let me say that I’ll bet everyone of you have parked your car in some lot, done your shopping and returned not having the faintest clue where you left your blasted car.

Both Gene and I are guilty of losing the car, and I have found my way out of the embarrassment. All you have to do is walk through one isle after another and wave broadly and smile, as if you know exactly where your car is. It is an attitude thing.

The good news is if you wait and wave and walk long enough, everybody else will claim their cars, leaving yours in plain view. That is unless you left it in an entirely different parking lot.

The lesson here is to pay more attention to what you’re doing if you’re leaving your car, and as far as the bathroom dilemma, get over your own sense of importance. Nobody really cares.

I’ll bet you half the people wandering the parking lot have lost their cars, trucks, bikes, whatever and they are acting like they know exactly where they’re going. 

Be kind to each other.

I am writing this in 2020 from memory. I’m feeling so embarrassed that I entered the boys bathroom is almost funny now.

As for the burly workman who said, “Well, hello there!” believe me, the language today would be far more hurtful and nasty.

As far as losing the car, I had no answer. I know we all still forget where we park or even what the thing looked like. The answer is to pay more attention when you leave it all alone with thousands of other cars whose owners are looking for them.

God help us all.

The view from the mountain is wondrous.

Jean Brody is a passionate animal lover and mother. She previously lived in Winchester, but now resides in Littleton, Colorado. Her column has appeared in The Sun for more than 25 years. 

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