Friday Fail: The Confidence of Youth

I decided to start a Friday Fail series. The idea came to me because, I know that not only do people like a good embarrassing story, but also because I think talking about our major fails, and being able to laugh at ourselves truly empowers us. There’s just something refreshing about not taking yourself too seriously 100% of the time. Also, I’m confident that I have enough failures in my past, big and small, to keep this going for a while.

When I was in high school I got an internship at a major bank through a program for students interested in finance. It was awesome and it was a paid position. I was working 40 hours a week for the entire summer, making $2 above my state’s minimum wage, and I felt rich! I had never have access to so much money at once. What happened one morning could only be explained by saying that, all the disposable income must have gone straight to my head, making me feel like Hercules.

That day, I got to work around 8:30 like I normally did, and got settled at my desk. I checked my email to see if any of my friends, who also got summer jobs, made it to work before I did had sent me a few emails. After exploring Google for a while (it was in its infancy!), I got up to get a drink of water. Surfing the net is hard work and can dehydrate you! To my despair, the water cooler was empty and being the absolute princess that I am, no way I was drinking tap. I decided to change the gallon myself. I mean how hard could it be?

I put away the empty gallon and grabbed a new one. From the moment I pulled it out from the crate, I knew I was making a big mistake. I thought about putting it back, but my mouth was feeling like I had been chewing cotton for hours, and I really needed a drink. I guess I could have asked one of the guys who sat in close proximity to the break room, but I’m a strong independent woman with a job! I’m paving a path for a career in banking! I am no weakling! So I ripped the seal and took the cap off. Once I did that, there was no turning back.

So here I am, 16, no upper body strength, 5’2″, 110 pounds, faced with a simple task to be accomplished in the following sequence: 1) lifting a 5 gallon jug of water up to my chest 2) tipping it over the cooler without spilling anything 3) and lowering it slowly down to my waist level until it was in place. “What could go wrong”, you ask? Everything.

First, I lifted. But my arms shook. Then I tipped it, but my arms shook more. The trembling arms caused me to miss the hole and it all went downhill from there. I heard the splash before I saw it, so I over corrected by pulling the gallon towards me. The force of doing that, combined with the weight of the jug, threw me off balance and knocked me straight on my ass into a growing puddle. Finally, enough water had escaped the bottle in favor of the ground for me to be able to put the bottle upright.

As I sat on the vinyl floor wondering how long it would take for my underwear to dry, I didn’t give much thought to how much commotion I had caused until someone rushed it saying: “oh my! What happened?!?” I must have been quite the sight. But I guess there wasn’t much explanation needed, because he looked at me for about 15 seconds before saying: “you could have just asked me.”

I was grateful he didn’t say anything else on the topic, at least not that I know of. But my gray slacks weren’t so discreet. Everyone could tell by the wide wet spots that I had an “accident”.

I don’t know how, but I did manage to get myself hired for one more summer before college.


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