Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Embarrassed (07/19/07)
TITLE: Mostly Immune
By Ed VanDeMark
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It took over sixty years but I think I’m almost totally immune to embarrassment.
Embarrassment is a lot like a childhood disease. It’s a for sure thing, you’re going to get it but once you do you’re mostly immune.
For years when I read the newspaper about a guy that forged a check, I felt guilty. I had no involvement in this or any other crime but I’m an American and this guy is also an American. I’m somehow responsible for him turning out bad. Oh he lives in North Carolina and I live in New York. Not good enough, New York boarders on Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania boarders Delaware, Delaware boarders on Maryland which boarders on Virginia which in turns boarders on North Carolina. I should’ve done something to help this guy before things got out of hand.
My teachers said. “Who wrote those four letter words on the bathroom wall?” It didn’t matter that I’m a guy, who’d never been in the ladies room where the words were written. I felt guilty. If the words were misspelled, I felt doubly guilty, because 75 was the highest grade I ever got on a spelling test.
I should’ve been a Catholic. I spent most of my life on the verge of confessing to virtually everything. If someone mentioned peanut breath I disappeared into an obscure corner and cupped my hands over my mouth and nose and puffed like a wheezing lizard. I’d walk past a homeless man and stick that same nose under my arm to see if it was me. Then I would feel guilty that I’d possibly judged this guy unfairly. A pretty girl would walk by and if I noticed her God given attributes, I was positive that the ground was going to open up and swallow me into the pits of Hell. Did I just write the word “Hell?” Must be I’m beyond perverse? Jesus please don’t have the rapture today, I don’t want to go through the tribulation. What would my preacher think? Oh! He won’t be around to notice. It’s just going to be me and all those guilty people. Cool, I’ll find out who’s really religious and who has been faking it all these years. But that would mean; I’m one of the fakers…how embarrassing.
I was embarrassed so often people thought red was my natural coloring. I considered telling them “I’m an Indian.” Not a good idea, my blue eyes would give me away and that would be one more embarrassing thing on Judgment Day.
Over the course of time, endless, endless, seemingly endless years, I accused myself of almost all the possible crimes against God, mankind, the whales and political correctness. I’m finally immune to virtually every form of embarrassment that exists on this planet. I no longer misspell words. I create new words with similar spellings and meanings to existing words. I eat peanuts with reckless abandon and I believe God is an exceptional artist. He gave us majestic purple mountains, amber waves of grain and the fruited plain. He gave Eve to Adam and Adam to Eve and like all great artists I believe he wants us to pause to appreciate all of his phenomenal handiwork. While I’m free, free at last I must admit I still carry a roll of breath mints and check to see if my wife’s approving of my level of appreciation for God’s artistry. But now that I’m mostly immune, a silly little grin has replaced my red complexion.
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