Embarassment, Thy Name is Elise

Today, the Sarcasm Goddess is hosting a linky over at For the Love of Writing. The topic: Your Most Embarrassing Moment. I’m not sure that my life has really been anything more than a long list of embarrassing moments strung together under one name, but I’ll try to isolate just one. Let’s see, there was the time that I… No, I don’t want to admit to that just yet. Give it a few more years of therapy. What about when… Nope, that’s more “psychologically damaging” than embarrassing. Grades 6 through 8 would qualify, if three years counted as a moment. But I think I’ve finally got the one. 

Every year when I was younger, my church would get together with other churches in the area and host a week long church camp, at a nice campground with a lake and cabins and basic amenities (electricity, running water that was sometimes warm, food cooked in a kitchen, not a campfire). And no, before you ask, this is not a “One time at band camp…” kind of stories. It was embarrassing, but thankfully not that embarrassing. Maybe...

Anyway, the camp was actually two weeks long: one week for middle school and one for high school. Often, they would enlist a few high school students to be counselors at Middle School Camp, who got to stay both weeks. I volunteered one year and it was a lot of fun. Like being at camp, but getting to choose which activities I wanted to participate in and which ones to sleep through. 

“Missions Time” was the hour I usually dozed in the back of the auditorium on an old couch. I should state here that I have nothing against supporting foreign ministries or missionaries or the countries they came from/go to. But this particular missionary was really boring. And kind of condescending. You could tell that he hadn’t really worked with kids before. And I had heard him the whole week before. So I slept. I was sixteen; cut me a break, okay? My friend Corey, who was almost finished with college, and who I had a “secret” crush on, took up the other half of the couch during this hour. We would hunch down on either end of the couch with our feet towards the middle (they would sometimes even *gasp* overlap!) and we would doze. 

The first day, one of the older counselors came over and woke us up. I thought we were in huge trouble for being bad examples for the younger kids or for co-ed couch-overlapping at church camp. Instead, she laughed and brought us blankets. I really liked her! Corey, I, and the other counselors had quite a bit of fun during that week and he was really nice. I kept telling myself “You’re sixteen! He’s twenty-one!” as if our ages were the only thing keeping me from pursuing something. First of all, he had zero interest in me. Secondly, I am painfully shy and can’t even believe that I was comfortable around him enough to allow the feet-overlapping. Even though we continued to share that couch, by the end of the week it was pretty clear he had a thing for this other counselor, Amy. Which was kind of a downer, since she was my age and I had convinced myself that the age difference was the only reason he hadn't already proposed (it's a little bit ridiculous inside this head of mine). But I got over it. Really. I did. Stop looking at me like that!

None of this has been all that embarrassing (although someone did take a picture of us on the couch and I had really unfortunate bangs back then), I know. I mean, a crush on an older boy who liked someone else? Angsty, sure. Embarrassing? Only the little bit everyone has when viewing their adolescent selves. Plus, looking back, he wasn’t that great of a guy. I only liked him because he was a Christian and he paid attention to me. And even “liked” was a strong word. More like I was interested in getting more attention from him. Because I am an attention sponge. What? You had no idea? I know, I’ve kept this secret well, huh?

Anyways, back to the point: the embarrassing part doesn’t happen until the next year. As summer approached, I signed up to be a middle school camp counselor again. I didn’t even really think of Corey. I just remembered having fun. And I was probably thinking I could count it as volunteer work or something...

So I get to the campground for high school camp. I’m standing at the check-in desk with my Youth Pastor and Brother, when who should walk up but Corey. I get all blushy-flustered like I do around any man that is not related to me or been in my life since childhood. I say, "Hi" without looking him in the eye. He chats with my Youth Pastor and Brother, but he doesn’t know them that well, so that dies off rapidly. I stand there awkwardly until I summon the courage to speak aloud.

“So, Corey… How’d the school year go?” I ask tentatively, a question that makes me sound more like an interested parent-of-friend than actual friend. My Youth Pastor and Brother continue their side conversation, not totally paying attention to me or Corey.

“Oh, you know. It’s over… I graduated, so that’s good…” He says, kind of bored.

“Congratulations!” I say, all over-eager-ridiculous. “I’m going to be a counselor next week, just like last year. Are you?”

“Yep…” He says, probably trying to figure out a way around me to the registration table.

“Oh, that’s great! Then we can sleep together again!” 

Yep. That’s right. That’s exactly what came out of my mouth. As soon as the words escaped, I wanted to bite them back into my mouth and swallow them for all eternity. We can sleep together again? Brain, did you really just do that to me? Could you not take a half-second to process the potential ramifications of that phrasing and warn me before blurting it out in a Tourette’s-blurting kind of fashion?

Corey’s eyebrows flew up to his hairline. My Youth Pastor choked on his Pepsi. Brother stared at me with an expression that was half I’m-sorry-have-we-met-before-because-my-real-little-sister-would-never-say-anything-that-inappropriate-in-public and half oh-my-word-this-is-the-best-thing-that-ever-could-have-happened-I-need-popcorn-and-a-soda-so-I-can-watch-how-this-thing-plays-out-it’s-going-to-be-awesome. 

I spluttered and mumbled, “Oh, no. Ha! I didn’t mean- Well, you know- Like last year? On the couch? Actual sleeping? I didn’t mean to say- Ha?” Which was not only eloquent, but of course completely covered up all of the mortification of the moment and put everyone at ease. He nodded vaguely and we both made our get-aways pretty quickly after. I left Brother standing there, chuckling at my pain and devastation. 

To add a beautiful crown to that Awesome Demonstration of Elise’s Man-Catchin' Skills, I was told minutes later that they didn’t need another high school counselor for the next week, so I didn’t need to stay. I refuse to believe that the two incidents are at all connected. Also, Amy showed up that year with a boyfriend who was far cuter than Corey and Corey ended up needing to go home mysteriously right after high school camp week. So there’s that.

Please go visit the Sarcasm Goddess and link up your embarrassing moments. Because I don’t want to be alone in this. And telling your story might just aid the healing (mine didn’t, but you never know…)


  1. Ahhhh!! This is hilarious/mortifying!! I think I almost busted my stomach open laughing so hard! I'm so sorry your brain betrayed you like that, but it makes for a GREAT story. "Then we can sleep together again!" Love it, you little hussy! ;)

  2. What a GREAT story and I laughed so much. I could FEEL your embarrassment. I have been following you a short while and I can really see you are becoming more comfortable about sharing and your writing voice is coming out. A great post, glad I got to see it!

  3. lauramiriam7/18/11, 7:20 PM

    Oh. My. Is this me? You, are you me? My mouth does this FREQUENTLY. Gotta tell that bitch to LOCK IT UP, know what I mean? Ah. Well. Yep, that's embarrassing all right.

  4. Wow, this is awful and hysterical at the same time. The only reason I can safely laugh at this is because I have this happen to me at least once a week! Never at church camp though, which is odd. Enjoyed your story!

  5. This is not the first or last time that my brain has betrayed me in such an embarassing manner. I'm sure it will happen again in the next few months. Then I'll post about that incident and you can all laugh at my pain again... ;)

  6. Thanks! I actually feel a lot more comfortable these days. Well... Except for the whole revealing-my-embarassing-story-for-the-whole-Internet-to-read thing. That was a little uncomfortable.

  7. It's like a train wreck! I can see it coming, I know it will end badly, but I have no power to change it. And there's a tiny part of my brain that thinks to warn me and then says, "Nah. Just let it happen. It'll be fun."

  8. The most difficult thing is that I was gramatically and dictionarily (is that a word? well, it is now!) correct. I just forgot to take into account the cultural/social significance of that phrasing. Gah!