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Shame

A horrible event.

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. At least two or three times a day, I go into the bathroom for a few moments, to hide, read, and collect my thoughts. 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 something to do with my hands, an absentminded action.

One of them didn't make it, and it was still slightly lit. It fell into the wastepaper can, below the sink. The paper in the basket smoldered for a minute, which I didn't notice, then caught fire.

I jumped up and turned on the faucet, trying to dump water over the edge into the basket with my hand, but the fire found something extrememely inflammable before the water damped it down. Suddenly, with a "whoof," there was a rocket of flame shooting from the can, bringing the trash with it. My eyebrows came off immediately.

Reconstructing the event, I believe someone had put a can of spray adhesive in the basket. The can didn't explode from the heat, or otherwise there would have been shrapnel (and I would have been blinded), 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. The room turned black and thick with smoke. My pants were still around my ankles. I was covered with loose paper. Because the entire office menstruates during the same week, and it was that week, I was also encased in tampons.

I unlocked the door and emerged, choking, trying to hike up my pants with one hand, covered in snotty tissues, paper towels, and tampons. The bathroom behind me looked like a smoky circle of hell. Three coworkers stared, not comprehending.

I immediately tripped and lost the grip on my pants, so my large, bare ass pushed into the air, my dick dangling below as I fell to my knees. I stayed there, with everyone staring--this only took a few seconds, but it seemed longer--and the alarm system sounded. Then the sprinklers went 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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