Saturday, April 01, 2006

Dumb and dumber

As dumb as people can be, I, for one, can be dumber still.

Back when I was a newbie director in my company, I took a class on "Effective Presentations" with twenty of my peers, a group of people I sorely wanted to impress.

We sweat blood and tears for two solid days as we presented speech after speech, unscrupulously critiquing each other and wresting from our presentations every disconnected comment, stray gesture and unconscious "um." We bonded over our fears, our foibles, our foolishness. Best friends we became.

The big day arrived: our final presentations. I stayed up until 2 a.m., practicing. Mine would be brilliant, charming, adorable, filled with witty anecdotes and clever diatribes.

I strode confidently to the front of the room wearing my favorite orange jacket, a dashing scarf, my best black skirt, a brand new pair of nylons, and, of course, my lucky underwear. I'd even had a perfect hair day.

My subject: throwing an elegant dinner party. I spoke of growing up in stylish Weston, Connecticut, joked how Martha Stewart learned all her tricks from my mother, gave delectable recipes and insider tips on where to go for the best flower arrangements or the freshest fish. I was never more witty or charming, tossing my hair and revelling in my own fabulousness.

At the end, I asked if there were any questions. One of the directors gestured me towards her, leaned into my ear and whispered softly, "Elizabeth, there's a bit of a tear in your skirt."

I gracefully closed my presentation and sashayed outside the room (never let them see you sweat!), took a casual glance at my clothes and gasped. There it was: a gaping gash in my skirt stretching around my backend from hip to hip revealing...well...everything.

After screeching home at 80 mph, I arrived back in fresh clothes and slunk into the classroom, red-faced. My newfound best friends glanced up uncomfortably and stopped talking as I entered the room.

I cowed in a corner chair, it was worse than I thought. They'd seen...EVERYTHING.

Filled with pity and desperately wanting to be comforting, one friend sat down next to me, touched my hand gently and whispered in my ear: "At least you were wearing pretty underwear, dear."


Plantation said...

Well, you've got a story for a lifetime now. "Effective Presentations?" Ugh.

Elizabeth Krecker said...

Actually, the class was great. It was just that final presentation that did me in! My department actually gave me an award for the year's best comic relief!

Anonymous said...

Is that what the toilet seat hanging on the wall was about? How did I see that and never ask about your story?

I wonder if any of the other past winners had a story that good?

Elizabeth Krecker said...

Sadly, their stories are even funnier!

Anonymous said...

Dashing scarf - $35, Best Black Skirt - $78, Lucky Underware - $10, Good Hair - Priceless. Or should we say that the Lucky Underware was priceless...(imagine the presentation without them).

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth, your blog is awesome. We love it.

Natalya just told me a story about one her managers who had a split all the way up the back side of her skirt. No one told her about it because she was mean to everybody; they decided she needed to suffer. Anyway, at least you know, by everyone's behavior, that you were not only well ventilated, but well liked.

All the best from your youngest brother.

Cheetarah1980 said...

from now on i will always wear pretty underwear. thanks for the lesson.