Let me preface this story with: this is one of my favorite all-time embarrassing moments.
I cannot tell this story without laughing. Nope. And I always have to act it out so I will try my best to visualize the situation.
It all happened in October of 2011. The museum I work at recently finished restoring a F4U Corsair fighter plane and was planning to dedicate it to local legend Jerry Coleman. For those of you who don’t know, Lt. Col. Jerry Coleman is a former NY Yankee and announcer for the San Diego Padres. He is also the only major league baseball player who, as a Marine pilot, served in both WWII and Korea.
I organized a press conference for the local media and a special plane dedication ceremony for Jerry. Many people were in attendance; reporters, writers, photographers, board members, members of the Padres, etc.
The press conference/ceremony went very well and everyone seemed pleased. Jerry is really an upstanding guy. And it’s pretty amazing to see how the museum’s restoration team can build/restore planes so beautifully.
A small reception followed the event and everyone was mingling, networking and schmoozing. The usual. I sparked up a conversation with one of the VPs of the Padres. We chatted about collaborating in the future, sponsorships and important business-ish stuff. Our conversation was coming to a close–and this is when it gets good.
IN A NORMAL NON-AWKWARD JESS WORLD: I would’ve simply waved back to reciprocate. Or just smiled and said goodbye. But, no, I’m not normal.
I mistook his harmless, innocent low-ish wave for a high-five. Yup. A high-five.
So I went for it.
You know once you go in for the high-five, you’ve fully committed yourself. You can’t just stop mid-air.
So I forced a high-five onto the poor, unsuspecting VP of the San Diego Padres. And he had a look of horror on his face. He didn’t reciprocate the hit. His hand was already down by the time mine reached his. So I was pretty much just hitting him near the pocket-region.
I am cringing as I write this.
And to make things worse, I was eating a glazed donut about the size of my head.
You can’t make this stuff up people.
In my peripheral vision I see one of my coworkers who witnessed the whole awkward display. I see her mouth “What the fffffff??”
All of my dorky realization starts to settle in. And the redness starts consuming my face and any other visible skin.
I decide I should apologize. Forgetting I just took a HUGE bite of the giant glazed donut, I attempt to say, “sorry about that.” But it kind of comes out as “ory out at.”
Well now I’m red, clearly very embarrassed, most likely spitting pieces of donut from my mouth and guilty of a high-five assault.
This guy can’t get away fast enough.
He almost runs into someone as he is trying to escape.
So what’s the lesson in all of this? Hmm… well, I think it’s best to play it safe. High-fives are tricky. They’ll getcha. Don’t assume a raised hand is a high-five. It’s best to leave them hanging than slap their pant leg. And don’t eat before/during a conversation with high level execs/celebs (I think I’m noticing a trend here–see Indiana Jones and the Awkward Crusade).
So goodbye for now… *high-five!*