Let's Reclaim Ridiculous

I have a dark track record when it comes to VIPs.


One of my sisters is a high-muckety-muck at a think tank. You’d recognize the name of her boss. Trust me. But my sister won’t let me get anywhere near her boss or anyone else of importance in the organization. In fairness, she might have the right idea.


Long ago, when I was a disillusioned Peace Corps business volunteer, I found myself in the office of an Estonian mayor. I can’t remember who or why. I do remember another volunteer was with me. We no doubt had some doomed, hairbrained but earnest scheme for economic improvement.


At the time, I was in the habit of carrying a mannish leather satchel, which held my laptop and other sundries. This was in the days before notebook computers, and the damn thing weighed a ton. While we chatted with the mayor, I set the bag down on the floor, near my chair.


After a time, the mayor rose, explaining he had an appointment with the Polish ambassador. We shook hands across his imposing desk. As we said our goodbyes, his office door opened. The Polish ambassador strode into the room in a smart blue suit, one hand extended, his eyes on the mayor…


And tripped over my satchel.


This wasn’t a mere stumble. The ambassador flew across the mayor’s desk, scattering papers and knocking pens and paperweights to the drab carpet. He teetered there for an excruciating moment in an awkward sprawl, then sort of rolled off the desk.


Face hot, I picked up my satchel and slunk from the office.


It was a long walk back to the car.


I have more embarrassing stories, other incidents with other VIPs. But I can’t bring myself to share them here. Suffice it to say, my sister might have reason to be wary about introducing me to colleagues.


But maybe we all need an embarrassing moment or two to remind us of how ridiculous we are at heart. Taking myself too seriously has always been the quickest route to disaster. I’m happier when I lighten up.


I think that’s why I love writing humor, like my Wits’ End and Tea and Tarot mysteries. I can laugh at my characters’ antics and disasters, but I can sympathize as well.


What’s the funniest moment you’ve ever been a part of?


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