Posted by: tomkennedy | March 10, 2009

…That Was Embarassing

I enjoy hearing embarrassing stories.  I’m sure you all do.  Everything is always funnier when it happens to someone else and with that said I would like to present a new repeating column called, “That Was Embarrassing”.  Feel free to post a response of your own embarrassing story or send them to

                I work in an industry – the special events industry – that demands strange hours.  Sometimes my work day will last only a few short hours of checking emails and keeping up to date on industry news; and some days I’m at an event from 6 AM until midnight or later.  Because of this fact, food consumption is of secondary, maybe even tertiary importance.  Basically, when I get a chance to grab a bite to eat, I do it.  The other day was one of those jam-packed days and I hadn’t had a chance to eat lunch.  I’ll inform you now that nothing makes me grumpier quicker than being hungry.  I was heading to the subway which I take to the bus station from which I take a bus home when I spotted a fruit stand.  At this point I decided a banana was the only thing that was going to calm my increasingly volatile anger.  So I pay my 40 cents, peel my yellow snack and start to have at it while continuing on my way home.  Now you may not be familiar with the security measures of the NY subway system or bus stations but garbage cans, if any at all, are few and far between.  Instead of littering like so many careless folks do, I said to myself, “How long could I possibly have to wait for a trash can?” and waited for the next one to come along.

No can ever came.

From the subway to my bus terminal is about a 10-12 minute walk underground with about 200-300 other pedestrians, musicians, homeless, and crazies.  It’s hot, it’s crowded, it smells like wet garbage, everyone is in a mad rush to get home and I’m no different – I need to get the fuck out of that death trap.  Walking at a brisk pace, I start scanning all the usual places a can could be found – a newspaper stand, next to columns, ANY FUCKING SPOT ANYWHERE – but my searches were fruitless, I was stuck with my fruit.

So here I am, cruising down a very long, crowded and smelly hallway with a banana peel in my hand as if I was looking for the person who stole the banana out of it.  I realized at that moment that a person never looks quite as crazy as when they are carrying around a banana peel for no good reason.  Have you ever seen someone do this?  I would venture to say not because banana peels are always discarded of immediately. 

Another fact playing against me was that bananas and banana peels are the equivalent of rare and precious gem stones in the world of comedy.  Imagine with me if you will standing inside a crowded bar with a few of your closest friends.  You scan the room looking for someone you may know and happen to land on an interesting fellow standing with a group of his friends.  Because you are a creep like me, you stare.  You begin obsessively watching his mouth because you notice he has a disturbingly large area between his nose and upper lip.  Inadvertently, you read his lips as he says to his friends, “hold on, my phone is ringing” and dives into his pocket.  He reaches around inside his pants, pulls out a ripe yellow banana, holds it up to his ear and begins to speak into it as if everything is normal and copasetic.  Do you question why this is happening or laugh hysterically?  Would this be as funny if it were a vine full of grapes?  I think we both know the answers.

So the fact that I was angrily carrying around a banana peel was embarrassing enough.  Then the ridiculousness of the situation dawned on me and I of course had only one option: laugh hysterically.  The more I thought about my current situation, the ridiculousness of it all, and the fact that I was laughing out loud, the harder and harder I laughed.

So now here I am, an apparent professional in the world of special events production, walking around laughing hysterically at my banana peel in the underground tunnel of the New York subway system.  It wouldn’t have been that embarrassing if the transformation from livid to out loud laughter wasn’t so dramatic.  One second I’m bombing through the tunnel shouldering anyone who happens to be in my way and another I’m leaning against the wall next to a homeless man – who has a sign that reads: TELL ME OFF FOR $1 – with tears in my eyes because I look as crazy as he does.


Whether or not my story is as funny to you as it is to me is obviously debatable.  You may not believe that bananas are the beacon of comedy that so many people believe it is; and no one blames you for that.  But that’s not the point.  My column is not meant to be a recount of my daily activities, my bulletin board where I tack on life lessons and try to sound smart, or a place where I examine life’s little quibbles – not by a long shot.   I may use those methods in order to get you to the water’s edge, but I can’t make you drink.  What it is however, is an attempt to get you, my dear reader, to not take yourself or life so seriously.  We all need to be able to appreciate the humor in the world and the enriching quality it has on us.  Especially in times like these, when crisis after crisis attaches itself to our lives like burrs to our childhood sweatpants, it becomes imperative that we laugh in order to maintain our sanity.

The final question then becomes: if you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you?


  1. My burrs stuck to my hair, not to my sweatpants.

  2. wtf are burrs?

    • they’re little plant like balls that stick to your clothing like crazy…google it

  3. No joke, there was a man on my bus this morning holding a rotten brown banana peel. He looked absolutely crazy… You could tell everyone was thinking to themselves.. “Please don’t let me be the sucker stuck next this crazy banana peel holding man…” Do you even need to ask… Of course I was the lucky one he picked

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