I have written many times about the power of stories, but today I will give an example of how they can be used to change embarrassing situations into joy.
I am seated in a lunch restaurant a fair distance from my home, with my back to the dining room. As I was eating, I dropped some crumbs on my shirt, and when I looked down, I happened to notice the collar buttons were on the inside. I had my shirt on inside out. I felt for the label at the back, and it is on the outside.
My first instinct was to rush to the rest room and change it, but then I started to imagine the situation from the other side. Not from my perspective of embarrassment, but from the story I was creating for the other diners who may have noticed it. I had created a story.
A lunch trip to Arby’s isn’t usually a spectacular memory event. If it’s your first time, then maybe you’ll remember it, or a reunion with an old friend might make it special, but 9 times out if 10,it’s just lunch.
Today however, a few observant divers will have noticed a man in the corner, alone, typing on his phone, has his shirt on backwards.
They’ll point it out to their friends, and perhaps start a conversation about whether I know. I’m not saying it is life changing, or that they’ll remember me for years, or even days, but for a moment, I was a story.
Perhaps a smile.
That’s not embarrassing. That’s a good thing.