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Shame

A terrible thing happened in the bathroom.

This is in answer to your question, "what was the most embarassing thing that ever happened to you."

In the lavatory at work, we have a box of matches instead of Lysol. I go into the bathroom to hide, and read and collect my thoughts for a few minutes, at least two or three times a day. Yesterday I was sitting there, leafing through a book, and I began to light matches, for no reason except to watch the flame. After lighting them, I'd toss them in the sink, two feet away. It was just something to do with my hands, an absentminded action.

One of them didn't make it, and it turned out to still be lit. The wastepaper can is right under the sink, so the paper smoldered for a second, then caught fire. I jumped up and turned on the sink, trying to dump water over the edge into the basket, but there was something extrememely inflammable in the can, and with a "whoof" there was a rocket of flame pouring out of it.

Remember, my pants are still around my ankles. What I believe happened was that someone had put a can of spray adhesive or something similar in the basket. It went off with a huge bang. The can didn't explode, or otherwise there would have been shrapnel, and I would have been blinded at the least, but the bottom of it burst off. Apparently, they're designed for that. The release of pressure thrust out several pounds of loose paper into the air. It's black inside the bathroom and someone is pounding on the door. I'm covered with loose paper, and what's worse, the entire office menstruates at the same time, and it was that week. So basically I'm encased in tampons.

Finally I reach for the door and unlock it, and there are two or three people outside. They see me come out, trying to hike up my pants with one hand, covered in snotty tissues, paper towels, and tampons. The bathroom behind me looks like a smoky circle of hell. I immediately trip over and lose the grip on my pants, so my bare, pimply ass is in the air, and my dick hanging below. I'm on my knees, and everyone is staring--this only takes a few seconds, but needless to say, it seemed a little longer--and the alarm system sounds, and then the sprinklers go off, causing $40,000 damage to the computer systems in the office.


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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

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