The Cringe Factor

I don’t know if this happens to anyone else, but occasionally, I’ll have a really embarrassing interaction with someone–like I’ll accidentally laugh uproariously at a birth defect or I’ll wee in the corner, get caught, and blame it on the cat, or something…maybe not that bad, but similar things–and it will haunt me for the rest of my life.

My family calls these haunting memories “cringeys,” wherein you get an unexpected, hideously embarrassing memory and you visibly cringe over it.  I get these all the time.  Obviously, I’ve done/said a lot of embarrassing things.

Take today, for example.  There is a guy in my program I would like to get to know (in a totally platonic fashion, thank you).  Let’s call him Francisco.  I see Francisco quite often, but I don’t actually know Francisco because of one simple issue: I always forget his name right before I try to strike up a conversation.  Every time.  I don’t know how, but my brain goes blank.  Almost.  One word is written on the whitewash of my mind: Fernando.  And not merely regular old “Fernando” like, “Fernando, please pass the salsa,” but “Fernando” sung in a high falsetto to the tune of ABBA’s famous song of the same name.

And so when I see him, I not only call him by the wrong name, but I start to sing the wrong name to him.  Usually I’m able to stop myself in this last thing, but not always.

In short, I always embarrass myself in front of this poor, confused guy who must think I’m some sort of lunatic.  After exchanging very brief pleasantries, I walk off cringing and shaking my head at my complete and utter lack of tact.

I believe it was Confucius who said that a wise man closes his mouth and lets others think he is a fool.  A foolish man opens his mouth and gives evidence to the fact.  How hard is it to not put your foot in your mouth?  I not only continuously shove my foot in my mouth, I also take a mallet and hit the back of my heel with it, jamming the foot even farther down my throat until the point where only surgery could be of any benefit.

I feel like my only recourse is becoming a hermit in the Ozarks and raising pigs, some of whom I will talk to on a daily basis, and I won’t get cringeys from my interactio with them, because they’re pigs, and don’t care what I say as long as I feed them.

Do you guys get cringeys, too?  Any favorites?

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “The Cringe Factor

  1. mynameisdayna

    Gah! I know these all too well! “Cringeys” is the perfect description for them.

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