Katie, I read your blog for the first time today. The part about your hometown being the “archive of the many small humiliations of your youth,” resonates with me. I am contemplating a move back to Jackson, MS. Among other things, I’m trying to figure out how I will address Mrs. Cannada when we run into each other at the grocery store. Four years ago, I “accidentally” pissed on her daughter’s calves at an Ole Miss football game and then skipped her wedding the following year. To make matters more degrading, my parents have said that they don’t have enough room for me to live with them, despite the fact that they live in the same house that my brother and I grew up in. They kindly offered me a spot at my grandmother’s house. Nana seconded the notion on a voice message that said, “Daaan, if you do live with me you can have Mexicans, Blacks, Arabs and Chinese visit the house whenever you like.”
True story: My dad and I were watching Name of the Rose (Christian Slater’s first movie, a quaint little period piece about the Inquisition) in about 1986. When it was obvious that Christian, the apprentice monk, was going to lift his gowns of brown and climb atop the hot disheveled nonverbal feral trashgirl in the hay in the monastery barn, my dad stood up and approached the tv—leaving the sound on, mind you—and just stood facing it, pressed up against the screen. I dont think that he even said anything! Or maybe he did, but in my mind, it was just horrifyingly embarrassing: animal-like sex noises and my dad with his lower torso and hips pressed against the TV to block the visual assault of lusty unprotected coitus on my virgin eyes. Then he sat back down when the scene was over and we watched the rest of the movie like nothing had happened. Jesus, that was sooooooo horrible. I am blushing about it right now.
Amy C. mentioned that she’d like to hear other mind-searing tales of youthful embarrassment at the hands of our elders, which will not just entertain but maybe even be a sort of therapy for you. Hmmm. Therapy. I’ve never really considered myself the most empathetic person, but therapy sounds like a potential career path. I do like secrets. Want to share your humiliation? Lay it down in the comments or email firstname.lastname@example.org