Humiliation Hall of Fame

Does everyone spend a portion of the night awake in bed replaying all embarrassing moments? It can’t be just me. Anyone else have a Humiliation Hall of Fame that plays as a closed loop of highly edited memories when the room goes dark? Here are some gems from my highlight reel:

My crush and his ex-girlfriend rekindling their romance right after I delivered that flirty note.

Referring to my research project as “sexy” to the unamused Harvard interviewer.

Ignoring all signs that the elderly man was more randy than charming and awkwardly escaping his open-mouthed, grabby advances with backpedaling apologies for being married.

Debuting my spot on seagull imitation to partygoers who were more accustomed to girls with cherry stem tongue knot or leg-behind-ear talents. (Never was invited back to that frat house.)

These memories flood many a pre-REM moment. Sometimes the recollection of past blunders is so vivid that I actually recoil and conk Bernie in the head or loose a shiver of mortified regret that makes him fear there’s a spider in the bed. I hope we were all too drunk to remember me nicknaming that surgeon Asshole Khaki Pants. Maybe it wasn’t that awful when my charming repartee prompted, “I have a girlfriend.” Are all of you occasionally (if not as frequently) ridiculous as I am?

I hope so. Sharing the errant gaffe is the good stuff of late night cocktail parties. And those with consistently impeccable manners and good judgment are laudable, but rarely the ones to whisper with you in dark corners. And I’m a whisper in dark corners kind of girl.

Recently I learned there’s an extra level to the heights of humiliation I can reach because my husband is a plastic surgeon. Just as interior designers have gorgeous furnishings and computer scientists wield the latest iThings, plastic surgeons have injectables. And plastic surgeons like Bernie have a prop patient for poisons and lasers. I promised to love, cherish, and submit to wrinkle-zapping and fat-freezing till death do us part. Apparently.

Having your own, personal (and lovely, talented, and generally awesome) aesthetic guru shouldn’t be anything short of delightful. But I can make even simple forehead smoothing ridiculous. Here’s some handy advice: don’t go swimming after Botox. At the very least, maybe don’t squeeze goggles around your toxin-filled eye sockets and expect fantastic results. Luckily, only one lid drooped… and only for a week or so… and I’m sure no one thought my travel mug was brimming with vodka or anything. I may have appeared concussive, but I looked young, dammit.

Recently, I killed at Garden Club, winning first prize for my dahlias for the third year running. And I don’t even lift my tubers. This should have been a totally not embarrassing day. I arrived early to help other garden clubbers match genera and species to their cuttings. I chatted up other flower fanatics over buttery baked goods and coffee. I wore the girliest of dresses and it was all lovely lovely lovely. Skipping around in my cashmere ruana oohing and ahhing over foliage and photos and fall arrangements, I had completely forgotten that Bernie had attacked my lower lids with the handheld laser the night before.

To be clear, Bernie doesn’t zap me because I’m not already stunning (duh), but because the new laser is a fun new gadget. And boys must test fun new gadgets! There’s something about being a Mom that makes one forget to look really closely in the mirror. With just a smidgen of attention and a bit of concealer, I could have avoided attending Garden Club looking like an Athletic Warrior for the Cure wearing pink-hued eye-black. Until Bernie suggested I don sunglasses, I had spent an entire morning twirling around town Ridiculously Unaware. (The garden clubbers were too polite to inquire about my crosshatched half moons of sunburn.) Friends who are as vain as I am swear they would love to have live-in staff willing to zap away the years. Maybe they’d be smart enough to forgo the goggles or attack crow’s feet on the weekends.

I’m not.

The best beauty treatment probably isn’t found in a syringe or de-wrinkling light saber, at all– but in a long and restful night of sleep. And I plan to implement this regimen. Real quick. Right after I relive decades of ill-timed waterfowl impressions and other embarrassments. Sleep well, my pretties.

The quality of my impression was entirely wasted on the brothers....

The quality of my squawking was entirely wasted on the brothers….

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Master Gardening

Master Gardeners take master gardening quite seriously. They are masters, after all; and those who have earned merit badges usually insist that others endure a similar amount of torture to acquire theirs. Many of these fanny-packing, rubber-clogging, organic-everything conservationists log countless hours pulling weeds in public gardens and manning the HelpLine. I didn’t. I was content to remain a Master Gardening “intern” indefinitely. After completing the 13-week course with its myriad lectures and homework assignments and volunteer gardening shifts, I was content with my newfound knowledge, binder of notes, and soil testing results. I didn’t mind how my bright yellow intern badge contrasted with the forest green of “certified” gardeners or the venerated gold badge of “lifers.” This is just gardening… so… um… (very quietly)… does anyone really care?

Yes. Yes, they do. Yesterday I received a curt email informing me that my “status” was about to be switched to “archived” for my inability to log 60 volunteer hours since graduation. This, from a gang of reusable tote-toting, composting cat-lovers to whom I’ve devoted 48 hours of free work:

…sadly only 25 of them count towards the Certified collection– you can only use 6 of the Admin hours so the others are banked until you have your green badge. So you need:

12 hours HelpLine

11 hours of approved Outreach

3 hours of approved gardening

1 hour of Continuing Education

Plus 8 more hours of any combination of gardening and outreach

They were kind enough to honor my Big Cancer Excuse for failing to check all of these green badge-worthy boxes in a timely fashion.

If you are of this world, recognize an entity call The Internet and its effective little encyclopedia for the universe called Google, you might wonder why a HelpLine staffed by Master Gardeners exists. But it does. And three years ago, when graduation required we waste a certain number of hours replying to inane emails and fielding questions from bored elderlies, I wondered that, too. One morning, the only phone call was from an octogenarian requesting tips for freezing basil. Emails to the HelpLine are usually to-pull-or-not-to pull soliloquies, and include fuzzy pictures of overgrown common weeds. And every single scintillating exchange must be documented longhand in a gigantic binder as if some future historian might want access to Official Garden Emergencies of 2013. Another dozen hours in that cinder block cell is varsity level hazing of the nerdiest kind.

I’m less focused on completing an additional 35 hours of volunteer garden grunt work than learning which clickety-clack meeting-knitter ratted me out to the administration. Is there some seditious faction of sober gardeners who want me “archived?” It’s quite possible I don’t really fit in, being rather fond of fancier footwear, and being mostly indifferent to cats. But in order to earn the green badge of this lofty class of shear-wielders, I’ll have to follow their rules. Anticipating twelve hours addressing your most pressing plant problems with Girl Scout enthusiasm… just as soon as I run out of excuses (and master gardener stereotypes).

I may not be "certified," but I can grow a lovely flower.

No green badge required to grow this beauty.