Without much digging into the dusty mineshafts of my memory, I can pinpoint one of my most embarrassing moments. I was in high school and it involved a beautiful girl named Summer.

I don’t recall the exact grade we were in; it was probably the tenth grade. Summer was in one of my classes and I was madly in love with her. Unfortunately, I was painfully shy and never had the courage to speak to her at school, where her circle of friends, both male and female, usually surrounded her. It was definitely love at a distance.

At this time I had a job as a bagboy at one of our local, small grocery stores. It wasn’t much of a challenge but it is where a lot of us worked after school and on weekends. I learned a lot about tipping and how to size up customers; who was likely to give you more than a quarter tip for taking their groceries out and putting them in the car, and who was likely to stiff you.

I also learned about being gullible. I spent more time than I’d care to admit looking for such products as ‘Elbow Grease?brand cleaner and something called ‘skyhooks? which to this day I still have no idea what they are. All new bagboys were ‘initiated?by being given projects of dubious value by senior bagboys while management looked the other way. Apparently, management looked the other way a lot when it came to me.

This one particular day after school, however, fate did smile upon me, or so I thought at the time. It was a slow day in the store, only a few scattered customers. Who should I spy at one of the registers but my one love, Summer.

I have often reflected, over the years, at my actions in the moments that followed, for indeed they were foreign to my character at that time in my life. Some unbeknownst, hidden reservoir of courage opened up and I became the epitome of gentlemanly confidence.

I saw the perfection of the opportunity. Here was my love, alone, in my element, where it was expected that I should offer her service. Here was the perfect chance to make an impression. I certainly succeeded.

I walked up to the bag station of the register just as the cashier slid down Summer’s one purchase. Summer looked up, saw me there, and this look of horror came over her face. This clue was lost on me at the time. I put the item in a small bag and waited, with a warm smile on my face, for Summer to walk over to me. The fact the she was noticeably not as happy to see me as I was her was also lost on my young, male brain.

No doubt you have guessed what the item was and, of course, you are correct. It was a box of tampons. Had the episode ended there, I might have been able to save face but alas, that was not to be my fortune. Keep in mind that I am still oblivious to the significance of the item purchased.

Summer, without speaking to me, reached for the small bad in my hands and I, with that newfound gentlemanly demeanor, announced that I shall carry her purchase to her car for her. She now becomes upset and demands the bag. For some reason, known only to the heavens, I argued with her over this and finally, out of shear desperation, she consented.

It is curious, that even at this point, as Summer storms out to her car, grabs the bag from my hands, throws it into the back of the car, slams the door and speeds off, I am still completely oblivious to what is actually happening. I slowly walk back in the store, proud of myself and confident that I have finally broken the ice with Summer. She no doubt thinks I am a gentleman, and how our relationship has the potential of blossoming into my wildest dreams. For the rest of the day I was floating. Ah, the power of love.

The next day, however, things are a little puzzling to me. I pass Summer a few times in the halls and all I get are looks that would scare a prison inmate. In our shared class I am treated as if I were the Black Plague itself. I am completely baffled.

It is only later that night, while I am lying in bed, trying to figure out what possibly could have gone wrong, that I was graced with understanding. Needless to say, I was completely mortified and wished nothing more than to completely disappear into the bed, never to be seen again. Not only did I realized that Summer probably hated me, but all of her friends must think I was a complete buffoon. The word ‘embarrassed?did not do the experience justice. For that shy, sixteen-year-old, ‘emotionally traumatized?came closer to the mark.

But the wondrous beauty of that experience, and why it helps create balance, is that whenever something embarrassing happens to me now I always stop and think, “Well, it’s not as bad as carrying Summer’s tampons.? By comparing whatever has just happened to that moment thirty years ago I am usually able to laugh at both of them.

You know, now that I think of it, she never did give me a tip. But then again, the experience was tip enough and has served me well over the years.

Author's Bio: 

David A. Cronin is Content Manager for the Mind Body Soul
Network. His writings have appeared in numerous publications, both in print
and on the Internet. He has been teaching spirituality in one form or
another since 1974.

More of his writings can be found at www.newagecities.com. He can be
reached at dcronin@newagecities.com.