something that embarrasses
hangover [N.] \ˈhaŋ-ˌō-vər\
something that remains from what is past
Has this ever happened to you? You're driving along -- perhaps you're on a long road trip -- and your mind starts to wander. You think of that nice vacation you had in Maine or maybe the punchline of a joke comes to mind. You grin to yourself as you hop and skip from fleeting thought to fleeting thought. You might even start humming some jingle you heard on the radio as the road's yellow lines race past your car.
Then, without warning, you remember an event from your past so horrifyingly embarrassing and vivid, it forces an audible "arrghh" from your lungs and startles any passengers who may be along for the ride.
What you've just experienced is something I like to call an embarrassment hangover:
embarrassment hangover [N.] \im-ˈber-ə-smənt, -ˈba-rəs-\ \ˈhaŋ-ˌō-vər\Embarrassment hangovers can be triggered by a wide range of stimuli ranging from a friend's story to a song on the radio. But no matter what the catalyst, the experience is bound to be unpleasant as you relive a social disaster from your past.
the experience of suddenly remembering and reliving an embarrassing moment from the past
It might be the time you peed your pants in gym class. It could be that moment you accidentally copied the entire company on an intimate email. It could even be the time you danced like a complete ass at a friend's wedding.
No matter what, the memory hits you and it hits you hard. In some cases, the memory is so powerful that you actually forget what you're doing at the present moment. After a few minutes of intense shame, you suddenly realize people are talking to you:
"Hey are you ok? Is something on your mind," they ask.
You make up a story: "Oh. I was just thinking about all the stuff I have to do on Monday."
But your next embarrassment hangover is lurking there somewhere in the recesses of your mind, just waiting to pounce and make you feel like an idiot at the most inconvenient time.
Ever had an embarrassment hangover? What was the source of your humiliation?
Photo Credit: Striatic