I am used to experiencing the horror of humiliation. Although I don't enjoy the feeling, I have become desensitized through a lifetime of unfortunate mishaps. I have heard it said that humiliation is merely an opportunity for obtaining balance within your life. If this is the case, I must one of the most balanced individuals around.
Many of my humiliations were, unfortunately, self-inflicted. There was the time I talked my best friend and roommate Tammy into taking Karate with me. Since we were both single, I reasoned that it would be an ideal activity to meet eligible men. I figured that the male-to-female ratio would be high. I also assumed that the men were single because the commitment required for karate would not easily accommodate an active relationship or child rearing. Because the classes were expensive, the men had to be steadily employed with a reasonable paycheck. I was correct on all three counts.
Tammy and I began our karate experience with open hearts and eager minds. We quickly changed into our uniforms and admired how "cute we looked." We were, however, completely unprepared for the physical pain involved with karate training. Neither of us had anticipated the discipline aspect of the sport. It was difficult not to giggle when performing the exercises. We were really bad.
In our last class, Tammy broke her baby toe trying to do a roll. I was sparring with a cute man who I had been eying since the beginning of our endeavor. I was feeling cute, and was playing up the "helpless" girl act to the best of my ability. This has never been a role I have been comfortable playing, but I was young and it thought it might work. Half way through the class, the instructor asked me if I knew that my pants had split. My embarrassment morphed to humiliation when I realized that I had exposed my Donald Duck panties to the entire class of men. This was our last karate class. It was also the last time I took an idea off "Seinfeld."
When I first moved to Virginia, I set out to make both friends and to find a boyfriend. Friday nights I would get dressed up and go to Home Depot. I discovered that the store was swarming with eligible men on Friday evenings. Saturday and Sunday families or couples accounted for the majority of the customers. By the end of the year I had a huge plastic tote filled with sandpaper because this was the only product I felt competent using.
I changed strategies and started to go to Costco. I bought a brand new outfit and, again, I thought I looked really cute. As I was walking through the store holding my sandpaper (I figured that majority of the single men would be in the tool section and I needed an excuse to browse), I noticed that a plethora of customers were smiling at me and watching me walk.
My confidence increased as more people were watching me. I stood a little taller, smiled at everybody and strutted. It wasn't until I got back to my apartment that I realized that I had forgotten to take the sticker off the back of my skirt. I was walking around the entire store, proud as a peacock, wearing a skirt that said "extra large" in big black letters on my butt. I let my Costco membership expire.
After my amputation I was exposed to a whole new vehicle for humiliation. I am always mortified when I have a prosthetic malfunction in public. My leg has fallen or flown off during the most inopportune occasions. I have learned that the best response is merely to smile and try to laugh. This is not always easy, especially when your leg flies off when kicking a ball at the park and lands in the middle of a league soccer match. There is no graceful way to retrieve your limb discretely when referees are blowing their whistles and little kids are running for cover.
The addition of Robby to our lives has added another layer for potentially humiliating situations. Nothing gets by my inquisitive and friendly little boy. Sometimes when my leg doesn't fit correctly, a high pitch squeaking sound is audible when I am walking. Other than trying to readjust my limb position within the socket, there is little I can do when this happens. I have accepted the squeaking as "one of those things."
A few weeks ago I was shopping with Robby in our grocery store. He loves the meat section, and squeals when he sees the coveted "special" sticker denoting deep discounts. He took off in full sprint when he saw the sticker. While I was running after him, my leg began to squeak. It continued to squeak throughout our trek through the meat aisle. Robby took the squeaking as an opportunity to inform every individual he encountered that "Mommy fart... Mommy stinky fart.... " and tapping my bottom. I gave up trying to explain that the noise was my leg after he proudly and loudly told the 20th customer his observation. I simply started smiling and saying, "too many beans."
I have not been feeling well for over a week now. Scott said that, along with my illness, I have been hit with the "stupid stick." Perhaps he is correct. My thinking is not nearly as swift and I seem to be making more than my usual share of faux pas.
I went into McDonald's the other day because I needed to use the restroom. I walked straight to the back of the store, trying to act as if I had already ordered my meal so my true intent was not known. I went into the restroom, walked into the stall and proceeded to use the facilities. After I flushed, I went to the sink and proceeded to wash my hands. I looked at the gentleman standing in front of the wall and said hello and made a brief reference to the heat and humidity. After I got to my car, I realized that I had used the men's restroom. Mortified, I resolved to not return to that McDonald's. Luckily, it is not in my neighborhood and there are still many fast food restaurants to go through before I have to give up the beloved fries and burger completely. I don't think I will like tofu.