Sunday, October 16, 2005


I think I was born without the gene for embarrassment. For the first part of my life, this was a bad thing. I had to memorize what wasn't appropriate.
  • It's not appropriate to walk through the mall in just your boxers, no matter how comfortable it feels.
  • It's not appropriate to look down the girls blouse, no matter how low she wears it.
  • It's not appropriate to point at the 9 month pregnant lady and say, "I know what you did," no matter how fun it is.
  • It's not appropriate to be better than your teacher. At anything, especially the subject they teach (not you, Professor Ware).
  • It's not appropriate to call your girlfriend or wife, "Damn good piece-of-ass," no matter how true it is. This is especially true for 1st dates. Sorry Sherry (1986)
  • It's not appropriate to start a food fight with the kid at the next table in Old Hickory House bbq restaurant. I found out another use for hickory that night. So did the other kid.

Well, it's taken almost 40 years, but I think I've got most of it down. A few things here and there, but my friends and girlfriend help keep me in line. For the most part.

In later years, especially since I was about 32, the lack of embarrassment has been more of a good thing. Embarrassment keeps people from reaching themselves. Really, I think it's not embarrassment, but contorted set of social parameters that may have worked for the parent, but not the child, or especially not the grandchild. Sure, we need to be civil, and treat others with kindness and respect. We should consider the effects of our decisions (like THAT every actually happens). The problem occurs when we live in such a manner that everyone around us is what we use to consider our actions; how will 'they' think? What will 'they' say? Most of the time, the 'they' we worry about are thinking on their own sorry lives, and never giving us a second thought.

Since I've never experienced embarrassment, as far as I know, when someone says they are embarrassed, I immediately hound them with questions;

  • What does it feel like?
  • What were you thinking when you felt it?
  • Does it hurt?
  • Did you know you were wearing different color socks?

Of course, half my questions seem to increase their embarrassment.

Since I've never really experienced it, I've come with up with some theories about it. First, embarrassment is a selfish feeling, almost an act of conceit. To think that we are the focus of everyones attention is conceited. Arrogant. They aren't paying attention to you. They're paying attention to me! Or, at least they should be. Second, embarrasment is a form of mind reading, which is what's known in the psychology world as one of the 'cognitive distortions'. The only way you can even possibly be embarrassed is to believe you know what other people are thinking. If that were true, I need to talk to you about some lottery numbers, and where I left my keys.

Well, I'm too tired to write anymore, but let me leave you with this though:

If you're wearing pants at the moment, did you remember to zip?

Betcha looked!

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