Me: 0 , The Universe: A kajillion to the power of a trillion

UPDATE: Share your most embarrassing moment in the comments. I’ll pick the best one to win this extra Dunkin’ Donuts mug I grabbed today. They’re hard to find!


It all started on Monday when I fell off the sidewalk.

I wasn’t wearing particularly high heels or new shoes whose inner workings and bad habits I hadn’t yet learned. It wasn’t raining or slippery. I wasn’t walking through a slick of oil. I was walking with purpose to a meeting, heading from Market Square to Warner Center via Forbes Avenue when I had to step off of the sidewalk to get around a construction zone.

And instead of stepping off the sidewalk, I tripped off of it. Surrounded by other pedestrians, I did my best to stop what I knew was happening. I tightened my grip on my MacBook. I clutched my coffee desperately. I tried to use the Force. I yelped.

And I landed on one knee and one elbow right there on Forbes Avenue.

Embarrassed. Humbled. Redder than your grandma’s lipstick. I picked myself up and hurried the rest of the way up to the Warner Center praying that no one saw me fall. That every single person was simultaneously looking up at the sky the moment the girl in jeans and heels biffed it on Forbes right in front of some construction workers.

I assume they catcalled to me things like, “[wolf whistle] Hey baby, you want some pumpkin spice coffee with that fall?”

Then on Tuesday I was again heading up Forbes from Market Square to the Warner Center for another meeting when a yinzer approached me. Not a nutty yinzer. Not a homeless yinzer. Just a normal Pittsburgh guy sporting a Zoltan shirt. He looked at me, dressed in jeans and a black and white striped shirt, and he did a double take before approaching me very excitedly.

“EXCUSE ME, MA’AM! YOU LOOK JUST LIKE KHLOE KARDASHIAN! People must tell you that all the time!”

Not the Kim. Not Kourtney, Kendall or Kylie. Or Kstacey.

But Khloe, the one who, for lack of a better word, looks like a wildebeest. Like a female Sasquatch with mannish features.

I worked my mouth trying to find a response to being told I looked like the baby of Chewbacca and Bigfoot. Then I gave up and walked away.

Embarrassed. Humbled. Redder than the cherry in your Sonic diet cherry limeade.

Then on Tuesday late afternoon I was standing on the corner workin’ my tricks —

HAH! The look on my father’s face.

I was standing on the corner near my house waiting for my kids’ bus to arrive. I was wearing new jeans. Jeans that I bought because they were comfy and would be perfect for the Pirates game I was heading to an hour later. I arrived at the stop. Said hello to the other parents. And I stood there and waited as car after car stopped at the stop sign right beside me.

Five minutes later, still waiting, I hear, “Excuse me, ma’am? Ma’am?”

I turn around to see a woman calling to me from her car window.

“Yes?” I asked with a smile. She probably needed directions.

“You have a size sticker stuck to the back of your jeans.”

Not just a sticker. One of those gosh darn sticker strips they put on clothing these days.

Embarrassed. Humbled. Redder than Conan’s hair. I reached behind myself to rip the foot-long white sticker from my pants, rolled it into a ball and shoved it in my pocket.

Fast forward to two hours later. I’ve parked my car at the lot near Forbes. I’ve walked through crowded Market Square to get cash from the ATM. I’ve walked all the way to the Roberto Clemente bridge. There I waited for the signal to cross the street when I hear from behind me, “Ma’am? Excuse me, ma’am?”


“You’ve got a size sticker stuck to the back of your jeans.”

Yeah. Apparently I ripped a foot of the sticker off, but those tricky bastards made the sticker a foot and a half long.

She reached down for me and pulled another six inches of sticker from the back of my jeans and handed it to me.

Embarrassed. Humbled. Redder than the incline, I took it from her, thanked her, and gave up.

I give up, Universe.

You win.

I’m a dork. A big dork. I’ll always be that dork. I’ll never stop being that dork as long as you’re there constantly kicking me in the ass like this.

So take note, Internet. The next time you see me, I’ll probably have a booger the size of a nickel hanging from my nose, a live cricket lodged in my teeth, half a donut in my hair, Kennywood will be WIDE open, and there’s a good chance I’ll have completely forgotten to put a shirt on.

I just ask one thing. When you’re telling me what stupid dorky thing I’ve done now, just please don’t start your sentence with, “Ma’am? Excuse me, ma’am?”

And if you’re going to tell me I look like a Kardashian, please be wearing running shoes.

Because I will beat the shit out of you.


  1. Em
    August 30, 2012 10:55 pm

    I can’t remember specifically when this happened, but it was in high school about 15 years ago. I was in a keyboarding class when I started having problems with my computer. I raised my hand to get help from the teacher who was off helping another student. As any good teacher would, he acknowledged me and said he’d be right over. Of course, being an impatient teenager, I began to whine and wave my hand around in the air…and ended up making contact with his crotch. So not only did I (accidentally) cop a feel in front of the entire class, but I also hit him hard enough that he doubled over in pain and spent the rest of the class period in his desk chair.

  2. Margaret
    August 30, 2012 11:30 pm

    I was at my cousin’s son’s first holy communion party at her house. All the extended family and friends were there. After eating, I suddenly urgently had to go to the bathroom. I had to wait a few minutes because the bathroom was occupied. By the time it opened up I really had to go. I went in and let loose. And it stunk. Really bad. I looked for a vent fan switch, but there wasn’t one. The bathroom was smack in the center of the house, no windows to open. I hear a knock on the door. ‘Just a minute!’ I panic. This room needs to be fumigated!! What did I eat? I realize that there might be a room freshening spray in the medicine cabinet, so I grab the side of the mirror and pull. But it was just a mirror, no medicine cabinet. The force of my panicked yank noisily pulled the mirror right off the wall with a huge clatter as it fell into the sink, leaving a gaping hole in the drywall & breaking my cousin’s new soap dispenser that she had earlier shown off because she was so happy to have found a dispenser that exactly matched her wallpaper boarder. How to recover?? I somehow shoved the mirror hardware into the scarred wall and re-hung the mirror, but it dropped at an angle. The soap dispenser was history, so I had to explain that somehow. I reluctantly opened the bathroom door to face a line of people who needed to pee. I just ducked my head and ran out of there, my stinky fumes finally released to the horror of the guests. Later I told my cousin that I noticed that her mirror was crooked so I tried to adjust it but it had somehow fallen off the wall and broke the dispenser. I think she knew my story was fishy. I hope she doesn’t read this blog!! And ‘Margaret’ is not my real name.

  3. Pittsburgh Pita
    August 31, 2012 12:55 am

    This story will always haunt me, but I learned a very important life lesson… I never use the work retarded – ever – even as some say “innocently”

    I was in college and had worked with Circle K (Kiwanis college volunteering club) and the Special Olympics for 3 years. My senior year I was college chairman of the track and field event. Everything had started off great, I was so proud, and then just as the college president was coming over to welcome everyone I dropped the microphone. So I bend over to pick it up, and say off-handedly, into the MICROPHONE… “why am I so retarded??”. Into a microphone. At a Special Olympics event. I wanted to die. I just left. I handed him the microphone and left.

    Other friends told me later that parents came up to them and told me not to worry. That they knew my background and knew I would never use the word in a derogatory fashion, but it never made me feel better. I still cringe even thinking about it.

  4. facie
    August 31, 2012 6:14 am

    In 9th grade, for whatever reason, I started to fall backwards in the lunch line. I remember feeling that it was happening, and I grabbed for a guy friend (whom I thought was cute), and he pretty much backed away, and down I went. I am pretty sure people clapped (or maybe that was just when kids dropped their trays).

    But wait, I thought Khloe was the pretty/not-fake looking one? Maybe I have my Ks confused.

  5. Dave
    August 31, 2012 8:27 am

    Traveling on the PA Turnpike with my then girlfriend we stopped at a rest stop. I had had a lot of coffee and needed to go #2. It was an impressive showing to say the least. The stench wafted in a way that caused people to come in and immediately go back out. Being a man I was somewhat amused and proud of this.

    After exiting I joined my girlfriend in line at one of the food establishments. I used to wear work boots everywhere including with shorts because I was way cool. I was wearing boots that day. A young five year old boy in line behind me saw those boots and his eyes got big. He then kid whispered (Definition of kid whisper – Talk as lot as possible in a hushed voice) to his father “Daddy that is the man who made the bathroom smell so bad”. My girlfiend responded with a “Oh.My.God” as everyone in line took about five steps.

    I jumped out of line with a “Grab me a burger” to my girlfiend and went and hid in my car.

  6. Jdstar3177
    August 31, 2012 9:11 am

    No one enjoys high school. It’s just a necessary evil you must suffer in order to get on with life. High school kids are purposefully cruel mostly I suspect to deflect attention away from themselves. So here is my most embarrassing story and how I got called “Big Blue” for most of my sophomore year.

    I have never been one to wake up fresh as a daisy and step out the door perfectly put together so it comes as no surprise that this story involves me getting ready in 5 minutes before the bus got to my house. Underwear – check, pants – check, socks – check, baggy white open weave sweater – check, bra- hmmm can’t find a bra… screw it I’ll just wear this. I guess this is the part where I should explain that when other girls developed and got cute little training bras I was given a B-cup out of the gate and continued to develop from there so by 10th grade I was rocking some Ds. Fast forward to school and I’m sitting in class and can’t figure out the snickering and occasional overheard comment about blue this or that. Finally a frenemy gleefully filled me in that my BRIGHT ASS BLUE bra was clearly visible through my sweater. To make matters worse a teacher pulled me aside and told me I had to change or else my parents would be called. Needless to say I spent the rest of the day in a gym shirt and suffered the ridicule for the next 6 months.

    Side note: nowadays showing your bra is fashionable and you better believe that chaps my ass.

  7. cara
    August 31, 2012 9:27 am

    We’ll start this one with… this one time, at band camp (dot) (dot) (dot)

    We were all in formation on the football field and the band director was working with one specific group of kids while the rest of us sat in our positions on the field. It had been a while, so some of us were were lounging… It was time to get up and get back into standing position and somehow NO ONE was talking so it was completely SILENT. I um passed gas REALLY loudly… the entire band heard it and the entire band laughed. Horrified. There is one particular classmate who STILL razzes me about that moment. and let’s just say it’s been NINETEEN YEARS (OMG) since that happened.

  8. Mel
    August 31, 2012 9:49 am

    On our honeymoon I got food poisoning which choose to manifest itself after a two hour drive to the coast of Oregon. Unfortunately my urgent need for a bathroom occured at five pm as the tiny coastal towns were shutting down for the evening. After a frantic drive through town we finally located a small cafe/coffee shop/bar which had a sign that clearly stated that the bathrooms were for customers only. I didn’t have time to stop and chat and/or become a customer so I just went barreling into the ladies room leaving my husband to fend for himself. He stood around near the bar until the bar keeper/waitress shot him so many dirty looks that he felt obligated to purchase something. Meanwhile I was in the bathroom for a long, long time. I have never been that sick in my life and well, the toilet WOULD NOT FLUSH. I tried everything. There was even a plunger but I plunged to no avail. Finally I cracked open the door of the ladies room and saw my husband sitting at the bar eating a brownie. I started motioning violently for him to come over to the restroom. He saw me, misinterpreted and waved back at me and resumed eating his brownie. I must have sounded extremely evil as I hiss out the words “NO. Come HERE!!” while gesturing madly. He jumped up and came over to the door and I dragged him into the ladies room with me. I made him plunge the toilet! All was eventually well with the toilet situation and I made sure to clean up any signs of a mess before we came out. However we returned to the cafe/bar area to see that all of the locals are watching us and then my husband whispers “I still have to pay”. I was mortified and wanted to get out of there right away but instead we casually sat back down at the bar while he paid for his brownie and finished eating it and THEN made our hasty retreat. My poor husband, forced to plunge a toilet for his wife only three days after getting married. He didn’t know what he was getting himself into!

  9. Heather BT
    August 31, 2012 10:10 am

    I was standing with my hand on hip, in line at KFC with my Mom and my Best Friend when I shifted backwards a bit and stepped on the man-behind-me’s foot. As a pre-teen, this was mortifying, but, my Mom raised me with manners, so I turned to apologize. Except, I forgot I had my hand on my hip, and my elbow was bent out, so as I turned to tell him I was sorry, I elbowed him in the gut.

  10. Robin
    August 31, 2012 10:28 am

    I was having a pulmonary function test in a hospital. During the test, you need to put a cylindrical tube into your mouth. I was advised to do this by the pft tech. Apparently, I forgot where I was……what I was doing and tried to put THE WHOLE TUBE INTO MY MOUTH, PRACTICALLY GAGGING. The tech says, “ma’am, you don’t have to put it in that far.” Yes, apparently I was trying to “deep throat” the pft tube. I’m surprised I could breath at all after that.

  11. rose
    August 31, 2012 10:58 am

    I was working for a local newspaper and had to photograph an Amy Grant concert. I was in an aisle near the front row snapping away, then crouched down to get a better angle. I tried to stand and got a cramp, then fell on my ass in front of 20,000+ people. Amy laughed, people pointed, and I was humiliated. But the photo made the front page, so take that, baby, baby.

  12. Ginny's Dad
    August 31, 2012 12:55 pm

    Gin – do you remember the time we were all at the airport coming home from Florida and saw the businessman walking thru the airport with his briefcase and a long strand of toilet paper hanging out the back of his pants. I feel bad a never ran up to him to inform him. But by the time I caught my breath from laughing so hard, he was long gone.

  13. Bluetail
    August 31, 2012 2:43 pm

    A long time ago, shortly after the Big Bang, I worked as a secretary at MIT. Being a sweet young–and very single–thing back then, I was quite smitten with all the very smart, very interesting, very earnest young men studying there, one of whom asked me to go to the movies with him.

    We saw a western, one full of stage coaches and bad guys chasing wagons–lots of wheels in motion, looking for all the world like they were going backward.

    I leaned over to my date, eager to impress him with my observational skills, and asked, “Is that an optical illusion” on the screen, the wheels going backwards?

    No sooner were the words out of my mouth when I realized just how stupid this must have sounded to a PhD student in physics; I don’t remember much about the rest of the evening other than my wondering where a black hole was when you needed one, and needless to say, that was our first, last and only date.

  14. tmb
    August 31, 2012 6:17 pm

    I looked at her picture. She is not ugly.

  15. Emme Kay
    September 1, 2012 8:52 am

    Hey, I’d prefer Khloe to any of the other Kardashians. If someone mistakes you for Kim, you know you’re rocking enough makeup to put Tammy Faye Baker to shame.

    Most embarrassing story? So hard to choose. I once went out for dinner with That Annoying Friend. Everyone has a TAF, right? That person whoannoys everyone and can’t take a hint but you’re too nice to say no to? Well, we went to a tiny Japanese restaurant on a 100+ degree day in Australia. No airconditioning. Even better, communal tables so you sit crammed in with strangers. Mid-meal, I passed out from the heat… and face-planted into my sushi. The nice woman next to me (didn’t know her) apparently grabbed me, got me head out of my food, moved my food down the table, and then splashed her drinking water on my face to wake me up. I came to to find the whole place staring at me and my table freaking out (also with food stuxk to my face). And then… I threw up, my default reaction after passing out. I realized I was going to barf all over the table, so I grabbed the only thing within reach to throw up into- which happened to be my friend’s bowl of noodles. That’s right. I passed out into my food and then threw up on my friend’s food. He got me out of there and home to my fiance, but he never contacted me again. To this day my friends tease me that I am tje only person to manage to drive TAF away. He won’t even show if he knows I’m going to be there.

    I have to say, there are a lot of commenters who sound fun to have a beer with. Er, someplace with AC, of course.

  16. Emme Kay
    September 1, 2012 9:11 am

    The Special Olympics story made me snarf my Pepsi. It reminded me of the time I was helping a woman in the computer center of the library where I used to work and another patron’s cell phone went off for the 8th time that day. Thirty seconds into Take Me Out to the Ball Game, I lost my temper, especially since I’d already spoken to said patron twice about said phone. I turned around and belted, “Jesus Christ! Turn the cell phone off!” The phone goes off. It’s dead silent, and I realize all 20+ people at the computers are staring at me and the woman I’d been helping. I turn back to her, say “Sorry about that,” and then realize tjat she’s a nun. In full habit. Fortunately Sister Rosemary just smiled benevolently at me as I died inside. My regular patrons still sometimes say to me, “Hey, remember that time you finally lost it and took the Lord’s name in vain in front of a nun?”

    • bucdaddy
      September 1, 2012 12:16 pm

      No big thang. My priest told me this one:

      Q: Why are the pope and (insert name of football coach known for questionable game management HERE) alike?

      A: They can make a stadium full of people stand and shout “Jesus Christ!”

    • Pittsburgh Pita
      September 1, 2012 9:43 pm

      I don’t even like telling that story it is so mortifying – however, my love of Pittsburgh overrides that fear of humiliation. Being 3000 miles away, it’s not likely I’d find a Dunkin’ Donuts, let alone a Dunkin’ Donuts with a Pittsburgh skyline coffee mug…

  17. N
    September 3, 2012 1:16 am

    Seriously? you’re most embarrassing moment should be that time you called another woman a “wildebeast.” You have been a bitch before but this really takes the cake. Would you want someone to speak about your daughter like that?

  18. Suzie-Q
    September 3, 2012 11:34 am

    My 80 year old mom posted this on facebook yesterday…so I am sharing her most embarrasing (and hilarious) moment:

    I went to WalMart today because I had to (I hate the place). Some young woman started talking to me and said that she hates to shop with her husband because she’s older than he is and people always ask if he’s her son. She said Oh, here he comes. I SWEAR I meant to say your husband is cute and I said your son is cute…I could have cried out loud..!!!

    Apparently something else funny happened also which she could not post…once I find out what it was, I’ll share (unless it is top secret!!)

  19. Marisa
    September 3, 2012 7:00 pm

    I was almost arrested for trying to help an old woman.

    So, I work for a company that goes into the homes of seniors and assists them with things like bathing, meals, housekeeping, etc. Sometimes, we get calls from individuals looking to start service and we try to help them as best we can.

    One day, a few years ago, I received a call from a woman who said she was being discharged from a local nursing home and need a way home. She was also interested in starting services with our agency, so I told her that I would be willing to transport her home. I went to the nursing home and inquired at the nurse’s station for the woman. She appeared and then the nurse said, “What are you doing?” I told her that I was taking the woman home, as she was being discharged, and she headed to the phone.

    Here – the nurse called Protective Services. She thrust the phone in my face and the woman on the other end asked if this was something I do often. I explained the situation and ran the hell out of there. My co-workers had a good laugh from it and still, to this day, tell me every now and then that there’s an old woman on hold who’s looking for a ride home from a nursing home.

  20. Chubbytoes
    September 4, 2012 3:11 pm

    Oh dear. My most embarrassing moment happened at the Honduras/Nicaragua border. I was 19, studying in Honduras and on spring break with my best friend. We took a bus, and we had to get off at the border for customs. These hot guys came up to talk to us, and it turned out that they were an El Salvadorean music group traveling to Managua to work with street kids. *Swoon*.

    We were chatting in a circle, when all of the sudden, the lead singer bends over, strokes my toes, and says, “miran a los dedos gorditos.” I literally wanted to die. A) who strokes somebody else’s toes? B) Who tell’s a woman that her toes are chubby?

  21. TK
    September 4, 2012 3:55 pm

    When I worked downtown years ago, I was waiting for the walk sign on the corner of Forbes and Ross. A bus was coming up the street so I stepped back. Next thing I know I am being pulled to the ground. Apparently when I stepped back from the curb the back of my coat got caught in the wheel of a motorized wheelchair and when the operator of the chair went to cross the street in the opposite direction, I went with him. No one at work believed me until I showed them the tire marks on the back of my coat.

  22. Noelle
    September 4, 2012 7:27 pm

    In 1996 I hooked my foot around my chair leg and when I stood up, failed to unhook it, and fell over backwards flat on my back. My dress went up over my head.

    I did this at church. Right in front of Bill Clinton. (in 1996 we both attended Foundry United Methodist in DC.)

  23. Marlene
    September 4, 2012 8:07 pm

    I read this post days ago and I’m still laughing at the second one where she ripped the mirror off the wall. My favorite for the mug!

  24. amy
    September 5, 2012 11:33 am

    I have had so many of these kind of moments that I no longer get embarrassed; just pissed off. I should get an award for my ability to play off these episodes. I do feel, however that I am now part of a brother/sisterhood of cool people who have moments of reality checks that keep us grounded. Tried to come up with an acronym, but it just seems like a lot of unnecessary thought. Its just gonna happen.