Today’s Boston Globe printed a huge, full-color front page picture of Sasha Cohen falling on her bottom during last night’s figure skating competition for the Olympic gold medal. Poor Sasha. The indignity of falling on your butt is mulitiplied exponentially when the entire world watches you do it, and then replayed over and over and OVER again. After years and years of flawless practices, you fall on your bottom in the only two minutes that actually matter. And then you’re reminded of this humiliating incident everywhere you turn. Sasha wound up with the silver medal anyway, so hopefully she’s not too disappointed.
However, the picture of Sasha’s pratfall reminds me of the time I embarrassed myself in front of an entire church congregation. Luckily, there are no pictures or video clips preserving the moment, but it was a painfully humiliating experience nonetheless. I was fourteen years old and had been asked to sing a duet with my friend Rebecca as part of a special musical number for a stake leadership conference. I don’t remember the name of the song we sang, but I do remember that we started the song singing together, then Rebecca sang a solo part, then I sang a solo part, and then we ended the song singing in parts together. Very nice.
I was a fairly shy teenager with major performance anxiety, but as we practiced the song, I became comfortable with the music and actually looked forward to singing it. So, the day of the conference arrived, the speakers gave their talks, and Rebecca and I walked up to the front of the congregation while the pianist began playing our song.
We started out strong – and sounded beautifully singing together – just as we’d practiced. Then Rebecca sang her part, and it was my turn. At this point, I looked out at the congregation in front of us, and froze. And then I started laughing. Giggling uncontrollably.
The pianist glanced over at me, confused, but kept on playing, while I stood there, in front of the entire congregation of about 200 people, incapacitated by maniacal giggling. I’m not sure what happened next, I think Rebecca started singing my part for me, and somehow we got through to the end of the song.
After we finished, I immediately ran/walked out of the chapel and into the bathroom sobbing. Looking back, I could have handled things better – maybe I should have danced a little jig, flashed a big grin, and sauntered casually off stage, a la Ashlee Simpson.
So, what is your most embarassing moment at church?