I embarrassed myself last week.
Embarrassing yourself is the worst kind of embarrassing.
In fact, it’s the only kind.
Nobody else can embarrass you.
Sure, you can feel embarrassed for someone else.
You can feel embarrassed when Uncle Charlie sings one of his goofy old songs in public, off key and with his horrible voice.
But he’s not embarrassing you.
He’s not even embarrassing himself. He’s just having a good time, and he’s doing nobody any harm in the process.
If that tweaks your ego a bit, too bad. He’s not embarrassing you. You’re just being silly.
No, embarrassing yourself goes much deeper than that. True embarrassment is a very personal thing, and has nothing to do with how other people perceive it.
When I embarrassed myself last week, nobody knew about it except me.
I didn’t even realize it at first – not until I was driving back from the dump, where I’d off-loaded a trailer full of limbs and branches that had been blown off our trees during the recent bevy of storms.
For a week, I’d been picking up after the storms, muttering under my breath about the mess that the winds were making and all the time and energy it was taking to clear up the storm damage.
And that was not to mention all the money I had to pay the lady at the waste transfer station to dump all that greenery on the compost pile.
I had worked myself into quite a tizzy over those damnable storms. It wasn’t fair, what Mother Nature had been doing to me this fall.
And then it hit me.
And I was embarrassed.
Those piddly winds were as bad as they usually get around here. And all they did was prune a few branches out of the old fir tree out back.
Once or twice we were out of power for a few hours.
People with far fewer resources than we have at our disposal have their houses turned into kindling by tornadoes and hurricanes.
Now, I find that personally embarrassing.
I find it even more embarrassing than realizing that I’m griping to myself about having to pick up a few sticks and twigs.
I can’t even imagine how embarrassed people must feel when they catch themselves griping about the efforts other people are making to start whole new lives after a human storm has completely destroyed their homes.
I can’t imagine how embarrassing it must be to realize that you want to help our homeless people before helping Syrian refugees – because you’ve only ever done little or nothing to help the homeless because you don’t understand them, and you understand those refugees even less.
How embarrassing is it to know you’re not even honest enough to say it out loud?
This is Christmas, folks.
Not that it should be any different any other time of year, mind you, but really, we shouldn’t be embarrassing ourselves at Christmas.
We shouldn’t just be wishing happiness for people at this time of year. We should be putting some effort into it to make it happen.
It doesn’t have to be a lot. We all have things to do.
But for instance, we could make a small effort to help someone – anyone – who has less than we have.