Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Top 20 Social Disasters - Part II

The following is the latest installment of my ongoing series examining the Top 20 Social Disasters. Enjoy!

10. Case of mistaken identity
This often happens in department stores. Your significant other is in front of you checking out some magazines. You look away and without looking back you give 'em a tap on the shoulder and say something real endearing like, "We are in desperate need of toilet paper!" When your eyes focus back on the person, you realize in horror that it's not the love of your life. Nope. It's just some random shopper who's now considering filing a restraining order.

9. How's the weather?
We all know the cocktail party nightmare well. You're standing with a drink in your hand and someone, with whom you have absolutely nothing in common, opens up a dialogue. It's a nice gesture, no doubt. But soon you both realize what you've feared all along -- you have absolutely nothing to say to one another. Look down at the floor. Look up. Ask a moronic question: "What's up with these napkins??" Uggghhhh.

8. The "chicken wing"
The job interview wraps. It's time to assert yourself with a strong, memorable handshake. Except the bastard clamps down too fast and catches a whole lot of fingers. Your only hope of salvaging some kind of dignity is to wrestle that little thumb free, but it's not looking good.

Getting your thumb pinned down feels a lot like a playground bully is beating you with your own arms.

7. Sidewalk tripskip
We've all done it. You're walking along confidently, maybe even a little bit too self assuredly. Suddenly, you trip on a sidewalk crack and lose your balance. What do you do to save face? That's easy. You fly into a goofy jog walk. Because, hey! You meant to go for run at that exact moment ...while carrying a bag of laundry.

6. Sloppy meal choice

That triple-decker Reuben always sounds like a great idea when you're ordering. But, when globs of Thousand Island dressing are seeping into your shirt sleeves, it's time to join a new online dating site. Lobster, chicken wings and cheese steaks are just some of the meal choices that will leave you begging for a way to go back in time and order the fruit plate.

What social disasters have you encountered?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Top 20 Social Disasters - Part I

Whether it's forgetting someone's name or botching a handshake, every social interaction offers infinite opportunities for awkwardness. I know from experience! Over the next few weeks I plan to examine the Top 20 worst social disasters.

For now, here's the first installment of goofs that will leave you aching with an embarrassment hangover.

5. Elevator nightmare
Whether it's awkward conversation or flatulence, a lot can go wrong in the tiny confines of the elevator. Seriously! It's best to take the stairs. Just boarding the elevator can be an issue. One time a woman was trying to get on, but I accidentally hit the "close" button in my efforts to keep the doors open. The woman thrust herself between the doors which clamped down on her like jaws of death. Then, just as suddenly, they swung open and the woman flew in. I'll never forget the scowl on her face after she came to the conclusion that I had purposely tried to shut the doors on her.

4. Trash talk express
Nothing like trash talking your boss when he's standing right behind you. "Doug looks like he fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.... oh, ummm, hey, Doug."

3. What's your name again?
"This is Karen, and Karen, this is...........umm........rrrr...ahh." And the only thing more humiliating at that moment is your red face and sweaty forehead. I especially hate it when you forget someone's name after you've already introduced about eight people. The things people do just to hide that fact should also be included in this list. For example, coughing like you've suddenly been stricken with Typhoid or pretending to be distracted by something in the distance. "This is Bob, Sara, and .... WOW!! I had no idea they had salad here!!!"

2. Hold that door!
Holding the door can be a nice gesture, except when you commit too soon. You wind up looking like an ass as the person you're trying to help has to run a half marathon across the parking lot just to take you up on the offer. Of course, you might also be on the receiving end of the gesture. In which case, you'll be the one racing like an Olympic athlete through mud puddles. The worst is when you have two laptop bags and a coffee. You wind up spilling crap all over yourself just to make the other person feel like they were helping you.

1. Hug or handshake?

One of you goes in for the intimate hug. The other sticks to the formal handshake. Self aware, you both switch and end up doing the Macarena like a couple of idiots. One night, my wife introduced me to a few of her friends. As the night came to a pleasant close, I decided to say good bye and ended doing a fairly awkward hug vs. handshake dance.

I'd love to get your feedback on any embarrassing social experiences I might have overlooked. Stay tuned for more!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Loonie Exchange

In the midst of these dire economic times, it's important to take serious measures to keep your assets safe. No, I'm not talking about diversifying stock options or making sure the local bank is FDIC insured.


I'm talking about changing my U.S. dollars into Canadian currency.

Sure, I'll lose some money in the short term, as the Canadian dollar continues to outperform the ubiquitous buck. No doubt the exchange rate will be awful. But, when everything goes bust here on Wall Street, at least I'll be able to take the five-hour trek up to Montréal to buy bread and milk with my big bag o' Loonies.

And while everyone in the U.S. is trading cigarettes for gasoline, I'll be enjoying a frosty beverage on Saint Catherine St. with my best gal. I know the bar tender will be impressed when I throw down some serious coin.

"Another round, sir...and a Loonie for your troubles!"

Listen to the analysts and economists spewing fiscal nonsense all you like, but I'm headed straight for the bureau de change!

(Photo courtesy of Fire Engine Red)