July 28, 2005

We have a winner!

And that would be me!

There are two stories to be told here, but the first one I'm going to keep very short: I won a dollhouse.

Okay, I'll elaborate just a bit. I'm a member of the local Freecycle message board, where this morning there was an offer of a large, Victorian style dollhouse. The catch was that, instead of going to the first respondant (the usual practice on these boards), this offer would be awarded to the person who sent the funniest or most embarrassing story to the original poster. Funny is in the eye of the beholder, but I can kick ass when it comes to embarrassing.

Following, for your reading pleasure, is the story I submitted. (Minus a few identifying details.) Enjoy, and be glad it wasn't you:

* * * * *

I was 15 years old and in my freshman year of high school. It was late winter/early spring and I had, hands down, one of the worst head colds of my life. I had taken some pretty potent cold medicine, but let's face it, that stuff only works so well. I'd also stuffed all the pockets of my jacket with tissues to help me through the day.

So here I was in my German class…my last class of the day. My cold medicine had pretty much worn off, and my entire Kleenex supply had been used up. And while I was sitting there, right in the middle of class, my nose started to run. At first, I tried to just sniffle everything back into place. That worked maybe twice, and then the runny nose started in earnest. (It was only one nostril, but it was working overtime!)

Knowing I was out of tissues, I tried to very discreetly wipe my nose with my finger. Then with the back of my hand. (Hey, 15-year-olds are not usually the classiest people around.) By this point, I decided that the only way to completely take care of things would be to just blow my nose on my shirt sleeve…which I decided against. I opted instead to arrange myself in my desk where I could casually rest my chin in my hand and pinch the offending nostril closed with one finger.

Here I feel like I have to note that not only was I your typical super-self-conscious teenager, but I was also sitting in German class. The instructor was always happy to excuse people for bathroom breaks or other necessities…provided you asked in German! And not only in German, but in CORRECT German. If you didn't ask the question correctly, you stayed there and your request became the topic of a language lesson until you figured out how to say it correctly. (Looking back now, I think this was just a little sadistic on his part, but that's beside the point.)

So here I was, sitting with half my nose pinched shut to stem the flow, shooting anxious glances at the clock, praying for those last few minutes to fly by, and trying feverishly to come up with the proper German for, "May I please go get a tissue?", just in case the situation got worse. (Low-level panic is not the best thing for jogging one's memory, I can tell you.) The one thing I wasn't hyper- focused on was the actual class. So when the instructor stood in front of my desk and asked me to answer a question, it threw me completely for a loop. I sat up in my seat and looked down at my book… somehow forgetting about the finger clamped against my nose!

As my hand moved away from my face and came to rest on the desk next to my book, I suddenly became aware of three things: The horrified look on the instructor's face, the collective, "Eeewwwww!" from the class, and worst of all, the long, slimy, green rope stretching from my nose to my hand.

You know when people say that they wished the ground would have just swallowed them up? There's an understatement! That was an embarrassment so painful that it's only been in the past couple of years that I could think about it and not cringe. (And I'm rapidly approaching my 20th reunion!)

Luckily, the instructor (after his initial shock), played it very cool. He walked to the little closet at the back of the room, pulled out some tissues and very casually handed them to me as he asked someone else in the room to answer the question that I hadn't managed to get around to answering. And it was only a few moments later that the bell rang and I was able to escape.

I'm not sure I managed it, but I kept going to that class for the rest of the year, and even signed up for German II the next year. I got A's in both of them, but I did sometimes wonder if "sympathy points" were ever a factor in my grades.

* * * * *

So there you have it -- my dollhouse-winning snot story. Finally, my mortification has been justified.

(And no, I'm not keeping the dollhouse. I'm donating it to the local animal shelter to be auctioned off at their annual dinner/silent auction. But they're just getting the dollhouse...not the story.)