Mar 5, 2008

My Most Embarrassing Story

My most embarrassing moment occurred, not when I was a teenager, but when I was a missionary. Since I went to Minnesota where the major spoken language is Minnesotan, (very similar to English) my embarrassment was not in reference to an err in translation. It was much worse.

In Winona, Minnesota, there's a wonderful member of the Lord's church, for anonymity's sake: we'll call him Bob. Bob had joined the church in the later years of his life, he was in his 80's when I knew him. As age often does to a person, it took its toll on this man and made him effectively blind since his late 70's. So the missionaries would walk him to the store every week so he could do his grocery shopping. We came to love Bob, for his tenacity (something his generation has tons of, (plus moxy) and our generation seems to lack, among other things.) we loved him for his humor (intentional and unintentional) and his straightforward manner.

One of my favorite and least embarrassing moments with Bob (least embarrassing for me) was when we were at the pharmacy and he was trying to find a stool softener. He yelled at the pharmacist trying to help him find one: "It's like a BRICK!"

Anyway, my companion was making an audio tape for his family, mainly because he was lazy and didn't want to write. So we were taking the tape to different people for them to say hello to his family. Bob was naturally one of these people.

I was talking to Bob, who usually was quite verbose, and trying to get him to open up and say something. Here's what we said, to the best of my memory:

Bob: Hello? Hello! This is Bob, I just wanted to say hello, you have a very nice missionary son here, and he always prays for me and I hope you will pray to Heavenly Father God for me and the missionaries too.
Me: Thanks, Bob, that was sweet. Tell his family a little about yourself.
Bob: Huh? Me?
Me: Yeah. (without thinking) What's your favorite color?
Bob: My favorite color? (Pause) Eyesight! Seeing!
Me: (Trying to make the situation better) That's my favorite color too, Bob. (it didn't work)

So we had him sing a song and also introduce his cat Mr. Boy to my companion's family on the tape and we went back to work. I hope Bob has forgotten, he didn't seem offended, but I felt more embarrassed and smaller than I maybe ever have in my entire life, the time I asked a Blind Man what his Favorite Color was. sigh


lynette said...

I LOVED reading this! I can hear you imitating Bob's voice in my head! Hi-larious!

birdonthelawn said...

oh wow.

Jan said...

Well, I had one of those moments with a blind person, but it wasn't embarassing. He actually thought it was pretty funny. . .
I clean houses, and one of my favorite clients is a blind man named Dave. When I cleaned his house for the first time, he said he wanted to call my boss and request me to come each time. I asked him why (since I was so new at it) and he said it was because I did such a good job. . . . .
(Now what does someone say to that, naturally, to a person who can't see?)
So I said to him: "Well, how do you know I did?"
He has a great sense of humor!

HailerStar said...

Hold up. Bob wasn't blind all his life. So in theory he could so have a favorite color!

Kris And Alan said...

Once a blind man I walked past as a student at BYU, had suddenly asked if he was anywhere near the (building I forgot)

I replied, "yeah, it is over there" (pointing to the said building)

I walked away, then smacked my head a minute later.


Kris And Alan said...

Oh I forgot, for above comment

that dumb BYU student is posted as Heather borrowing her mom's computer.