That Awkward Moment


You’re in the middle of a story or a joke or a piece of news, your mind whirling faster than your tongue. All of sudden you are dead. meat. This is not the subject for your audience. But, you’ve gone too far. Do you stall? Do you stop? Do you fake a coughing spell? Or start humming the National Anthem?

My sister Margo and I loved to trade jokes. Before I called her, I rummaged around my memory for a good one to make her laugh.

One Saturday, I started in.

These guys were hanging out at a bar in [insert much-maligned town]. And, unbelievably, Jesus walked in! This biker dude hugged Jesus and his limp was instantly healed. The waitress fighting skin cancer touched Him and the cancer disappeared.

Oh, NO!! I just now remembered where this joke went. And how greatly I could offend my sister. CRAP!! What do I do?

You know how this goes, I said. Everyone with illness and injuries crowded around Jesus, and they were healed. Until Jesus turned and held his hand out to a man in the corner, curled over his whisky. The man shouted, DON’T TOUCH ME; I’M ON DISABILITY!

There was a nanosecond of silence. Inside my thoughts, I swore. I shuddered. I cringed. I will beg for forgiveness. How could I be such a jerk? How could I forget she was on disability?

And then … she roared with laughter! After exhaling, I began a herky-jerky chuckle and soon we were both giggling.