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Embarrassed? You're Not Alone

Embarrassing moments: wardrobe malfunctions, a Freudian slip, a misstep that leaves us sprawled on the ground.

My shining one happened on a particularly cold, dry night. I was in a dark theater and reached into my purse for my Chap Stick, generously applying it to my lips and a large area around my mouth. Accompanying me was a visiting librarian from Germany who I had just met.

After the movie, I dropped him at his hotel and returned home, discovering what you may have guessed: That tube of Chap Stick was really bright red lipstick. I looked like I had been punched in the kisser. My German visitor was either too polite -- or too embarrassed himself -- to ask me what the heck happened.

Recently, I’ve been examining feelings of embarrassment about the rise of a certain wall-building businessman as Presidential candidate. I delay Skyping with friends overseas hoping I’ll awake and realize it was all a nightmare; but, instead, I wake up hearing more unfathomable primary results.

It occurs to me that this kind of embarrassment may be akin to collective guilt, which I’ve always leaned toward owning.

Then I remember a totally different feeling during my 2010 vacation in Turkey. President Obama was in his first term. When Turks in the marketplace learned I was American, they showered me with admiration. A baker went to his freezer and presented a large cake decorated with his rendering of Obama from the Time magazine cover.

I find the phrase, “from the sublime to the ridiculous,” on the tip of my tongue these days.

I’m Paula Garrett, and that’s my perspective.

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