Story last updated at 8/19/2009 - 5:58 pm
Have you ever done anything embarrassing? Clumsy? Careless? Just plain dumb? All of the above?
I've always been able to answer "yes" to these questions, but never more so than in the past couple of weeks.
Hardly worth mentioning is the day I poured our grandson and myself a cold drink over ice, then sprinkled cinnamon (which he affectionately calls "dirt") over the top. The cinnamon had landed atop the cubes, and, somehow, I exhaled into my glass. A cloud of powder struck my eye.
It was a particularly spicy cinnamon from Vietnam and, as I found out, much hotter in the eye than in the mouth.
It took a long while with my head under the kitchen faucet to get my eye back to normal. Kids, don't do cinnamon.
Neither should you brush your teeth with diaper rash ointment, as I had done days before.
"Hmmm, the Pepsodent has lost its flavor," I mused before realizing I had picked up the wrong tube from the bathroom sink, where that same grandson's medication had been lying.
Zinc oxide leaves a nasty coating on the teeth and gums, let me tell you. After spitting it out, I read the warning on the tube: "If swallowed, seek medical help or call a poison control center."
Even toothpaste is toxic if ingested, so I'm not in a habit of swallowing when I brush. The cream tasted nasty, though, and I tried to get rid of it with toothpaste, then mouthwash, then baking soda. My sense of taste eventually returned, but my dignity remained wounded.
"Uh, don't tell anyone about this," I begged my wife.
Those incidents occurred just after we returned from a vacation that got a late start - because of my clumsiness.
We packed the car that morning, and then I checked the car out. As I was replacing the cap to the coolant tank, it slipped from my fingers and fell into the metal maze that is a modern engine.
It disappeared somewhere below the radiator, wedged out of sight. My fingers couldn't find it, nor could my wife's smaller fingers. I removed panels underneath the car, with similar results. The corresponding cap on our other car did not match.
We were burning daylight, so I called the dealer. They would have to order a replacement cap. Auto parts stores didn't have it in stock.
I desperately searched the garage and found a similar plastic cap that fit quite nicely: the lid from a bottle of Lysol. It probably would have worked, but breaking down on the highway wasn't my idea of a fun vacation. We unpacked the car and stowed everything into the other vehicle.
Before hitting the road, however, I checked the fluids of the car we were to take - no, it didn't happen again. Even I can learn from my mistakes. I held on to that coolant cap with every hand.
Does my series of unfortunate events sound like anything you've ever done? Probably not; no doubt you're more careful. Tell us anyway. How bad could it be? At least you didn't brush your teeth with diaper rash cream.
Reach Glynn Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org.