Everybody has felt embarassed at one time or another. You know that feeling, when you just wish the ground would open up and swallow you whole…

Back when I was studying for my ‘O’ Levels I decided to take a night off from revising and go to the local park with some friends. It was the night before an exam and I figured that if I didn’t know my stuff by that stage then I never would.

This is how God paid me back.

I remember it was a beautiful evening, the sun was shinning and the summer holidays were within touching distance, everything in the world felt good.

There were loads of kids at the park that night, there was a real buzz about the place and at the age of 16 this summer was the last one my friends and I would experience as ‘children’, for next year we would all be working or taking up places at college.

This was definitely a time to savour and we all sensed it.

There were loads of girls around that night and all us boys were showing off terribly. I was a good footballer back then and in hindsight I think I was a bit too cocky for my own good.

We’d played football for ages, with all the girls cheering us on before a large group of us moved over to the tennis courts, I’ve never been into tennis so I decided to chill out on the embankment outside the courts.

My cousin was one of the guys playing, and after a few games he came over to the chicken-wire fence to chat with us.

I remember him asking me if I wanted a can of coke, I was thirsty so I said that I did but I couldn’t be bothered to walk round and get it from him so I told him to toss it over the fence to me.

I think you can see what’s comming next…I certainly didn’t.

I was laid back on the embankment, I didn’t even stand up in order to catch the can, I figured that I’d catch it right there where I lay – WRONG!

I remember following the arc of the can as it came over the fence, then losing it in the evening sunshine…(that’s my excuse anyway)

That damned can it me so hard, it caught me square on my forehead (I’ve still got the scar to this day, it makes me look like I have a widdow’s peak).

What happened next kind of played out in slow motion, I could hear people howling with laughter, I staggered to my feet feeling acutely embarrassed, a  group of girls had witnessed the whole incident and I felt totally mortified.

Why had I expected to catch that can whilst I was reclining in such a position?

Fortunately or unfortunately for me my embarrassment was quickly overtaken by fear, anyone who has ever suffered a head wound will know how profusely they bleed and in no time at all I was drenched in my own blood.

I wish I could say that I turned the whole situation around and became the wounded hero but I didn’t, I just remember feeling like a complete prat.

My friend’s dad drove me to hospital, (we didn’t have a car back then) and the next day I took my exam sporting six stitches and a dull headache. I’ve had quite a few embarrassing moments since then but none of them have felt quite as excruciating as the day I was taken out by that can of Coke.

The embarrassment we experience as teenagers always seems to be more intense than at any other time in our lives.

I’ll share some of these other embarassing moments with you another time and furthermore, I’ll discuss the concept of embarrassment and how best to deal with it.

Andy.

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