Saturday, November 15, 2008

Top 20 Social Disasters - Part III

The following is the next installment of my four-part series, "Top 20 Social Disasters." Each is a common, but no less embarrassing social faux pas.

15. New baby bomb
Any statement that implies, insinuates or explicitly calls out that a woman is pregnant when she is not is the very definition of a social disaster. The question, "So how many months along are you?," is only acceptable if the woman begins the conversation with "I'm pregnant" or "I'm in Alcoholics Anonymous." Yet people (usually men) continue to socially implode by asking this perilous question.

14. Spill on the Nether Region
This usually happens while eating or drinking in a seated position. Through some mishap you manage to spill crap all over your lap. The problem is that even if you explain what happened, there's always the suspicion that your story is a cover up for a particularly bad episode of incontinence.

13. Let's take your car
This one just sucks! After weeks of treating your car like a landfill, your friend/boss/co-worker/girlfriend/boyfriend suddenly decides there's a desperate need to take your car instead. It starts innocently enough. "Mind if we take your car this time?," they say. Then the terror sets in just imagining how they'll judge you at the sight of a sneaker, two coffee cups, four bags of chips, a cord with no corresponding device, a broken CD case, half a donut, six sugar packets and a can of peas. What's your plan of attack? You figure if you shove everything into the back seat like a burrowing prairie dog, NO ONE WILL EVER NOTICE. But they ALWAYS notice. And there's no explanation that will suffice.

"Oh, it's just been crazy lately. I just haven't had any time to [tip my car on its side, dump its contents, wash it out with a fire hose and dunk it in 800 gallons of disinfecting chlorine]. Sorry about the mess!"

12. Puberty strikes back
I suppose this one's more of an issue for guys, but let me explain as best I can for the ladies out there. It's been a long time since I was 13 years old. It was a challenging time in my life as I strove to overcome adversity, especially in the vocal pitch department. For most boys, a cracking voice is particularly embarrassing because it's like a tiny, effeminate boat horn that announces to the world you have no hair on your chest.

Now fast forward a decade. Imagine how much worse it must be for a man whose voice suddenly cracks after years of manliness. What I can say from personal experience is that when your adult voice does decide to crack unexpectedly, it's never in the middle of a long intelligent sentence that offers plenty of room for recovery. Nope! It always happens in the midst of a one word response.

Her: "Can I spend the night?"
Him: "Ye-ah!"

11. "Hi-lo" greeting
You're walking down the office hallway at a brisk pace. Another co-worker approaches you at the same rate of speed. You want to be sure you pick the best greeting, but it's just so damn hard when there are so many choices. You could go with with the tried and true, "hello." But, then again, you think: "Yeah, but 'hi' is edgy, brief and powerful. I want to make a statement." You're the creative type, so this dilemma is no match for you. At the last second, you decide on a hybrid of the two: "Hiii-lo."

Congrats, buddy! You pulled that one off.

File this bumbling greeting in the same category as the infamous mismatched response. For example, someone asks, "What's up?" Your unforgettable response: "Good!"

As always, I want to know what your thoughts are? Am I missing any social blunders? This is your last chance to influence the remaining five social disasters in my series.