Oops…that would be me

We are an imperfect lot and there are times when things just don’t go our way. As a 59 year-old, I have had my share of faux pas or as I call them “oops.”

When I was ten, I was a pretty fair baseball  player and would pitch on occasion. After putting a fence around our outfield, every hitter wanted to be the first to hit one over it. Unfortunately, the pitcher on the throwing end of that homer would be embarrassed – oops, that would be me.

I have often said God has a sense of humor to keep us humble. While playing golf with some attorney friends, I had the good fortune to birdie a long par five, something I don’t often do. Walking to the next tee full of confidence, I tee my ball up and proceed to whiff with my swing. That means I did not make contact with the ball – oops, that would be me.

Each October in the US, we honor women  who have been challenged by breast cancer. A colleague of mine led efforts to have mobile mammograms for our female employees conducting over 11,000 detecting nine cancers. She was listening to me explain to someone about our specific efforts during “breast awareness month.” She said that would be “breast CANCER awareness month.” – oops, that would be me.

I have had to do a significant number of presentations and speeches over the years. In so doing, I have had far more than a few oops. Here are a few:

– Don’t wear a wool suit to speak, no matter how cold it is outside, as you will sweat bullets – oops, that would be me;

– Don’t number how many things you are about to say as you may forget one – oops, that would be me;

– Don’t reopen the presentation summary after the decision-maker makes the decision you were suggesting, as you just might unwind the decision – oops, that would be me; and

– Don’t forget to number the pages of your  speaker notes, as they can sometimes get mixed up – oops, that would be me.

The oops are too many to list. Beware of forwarding emails as there may be surprise emails not for public consumption at the bottom of email streams. Do not perpetuate reply all emails, be very judicious. Don’t communicate too aggressive a turnaround time if you don’t have to as you are setting yourself up for failure. Avoid being critical in email, do it in person or by phone if you cannot.

Oops happen. Take the time to review your work and prepare for meetings. And, when they do happen, say you are sorry and fix the problem. Then learn from your mistakes. Remember, God has a sense of humor, so it is OK to laugh along.

27 thoughts on “Oops…that would be me

  1. Note to Readers: My friend Mary who corrected me on the “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” had another funny correction at my expense. We were meeting with one of our insurers going over summary data and I bragged on Mary and the team’s efforts in their health management efforts which improved health and reduced cost for employees and the company. The mobile mammograms was just one such idea. I looked down at the page and focused on numbers beside the acronym VBACs (which revealed a year over year decrease) and said maybe we could reduce the numbers of claims like the number of VBACs. Mary said “VBACs are actually a good thing as it stands for Vaginal Births after C-Section.” We got a huge chuckle out of that one and we still talk about it today when we reminisce. Note to self – know the acronym before speaking.

  2. Great stuff! The golfing story put me in mind of the joke about the really nasty (and lousy) player who was tearing up the course, and running up his score. On a long par 5 after seven or eight shots he asked his caddy for the five iron. “Do you think I can reach the green with this club?” he asked. The caddy replied: “Eventually.” Ah yes, golf. (Also, watch out for PBF: Post-birdie foulup.”)

    • Hugh, the PBF happened so soon, though. I think I have whiffed only twice, but that was a spectacular mess up in timing. Now, whiffing on an overhead tennis slam, that is another story. Keith

  3. Dear Keith,
    Thanks for this humorous post about how we all are guilty of fubars. It is the human condition. There is nothing wrong with fessing up to human mistakes, taking responsibility, apologizing, etc.

    Its too bad our US president hasn’t learned this skill. I am expecting for General Kelly to apologize. He still is a Marine and he has to act accordingly.

    Hugs, Gronda

    • Gronda, hopefully they are not as bad as fubars. I agree, Kelly should come clean. The only reason he would not is to acquiesce to his less than truthful boss, who is very reluctant to admit a mistake, especially after he doubles down on a lie. Keith

  4. Thank you for this post, Keith, for you made me laugh! I especially laughed aloud over the one about Breast Cancer Awareness! I have as many ‘oops’ as anyone, more than most. But I have long said that we must maintain the ability to laugh at ourselves, for if we lose that, we are destined to be miserable human beings. Most of my laughter, I believe, comes from my own faux pas. Thanks for the humour!

    • Thanks Jill. A sense of humor is required around here. I think I mentioned my dating oops, where my chair leg scooted off the back of a two foot high riser in a community theater and down I went in a crash after intermission. She went out with me again.

      • Jill, it was a double date, so as we were talking afterwards, the other guy said “you have to admit that was funny.” I said I bet it was. My date and I went out for several months, so she must have a good sense of humor. Keith

  5. Note to Readers: Hugh reminded of two sports oops. In a high school basketball game we did go on to win, it would have been put away earlier had yours truly not missed a break away lay up. My friends reminded me of such for weeks as the ball hung on the rim and fell away.

    The other story was as the home run yielding pitcher. If you follow baseball, it is not uncommon to see a pitcher field a ball and run toward the first baseman and toss the ball underhanded for the out. There is a reason they do this. On what should have been the final play of the game, yours truly fielded the ball and proceeded to throw it over the head of the first baseman. Being an immature ten year old, I handled the setback poorly and we went on to lose the game. I still remember the opponent’s name forty nine years later.

  6. Hilarious. I think lots of us know those oops moments. And some of us make it an art form.😊

    I was speaking in front of an audience of a hundred or so people…notoriously, I never used to have enough to prepare my talk on paper, so I used to wing it. On this particular occasion, I was supposed to introduce the next speaker, and I just could not remember his name! My mouth opened and my mind just went totally blank….oops. I ended up saying something like…

    “Our next speaker is the senior technician for”
    … blah blah blah… I looked at him and nothing…the name just wouldn’t come so I said…
    “I can’t actually remember his name but I do think he is quite an important man.” (That got a big laugh). I continued…” I’m sure he can introduce himself far more eloquently than I.”
    The speaker was laughing so hard, he really lightened the mood on a gloomy corporate thing.

    I’m sure your oops moments were equally mood lifting Keith.😄

    • Colette, that is a great story. I have forgotten names, but I must confess doing it when your purpose is to introduce someone is indeed an oops. I ran into a someone at an agency I serve with whom I know well. My wife and another couple were leaving a concer and bumped into her. I had a “deer in the headlights” moment. On the way home, it hit me who she was, so I called and left a message to apologize. Sometimes you can fake it, but this one was embarassing. Keith

      • Happened to me and my husband boarding a plane. As we made our way down the plane, a head popped up and said ” Hi Colette, how are you two?”
        I racked my brain in the seconds I had ….(nothing). But I airily said ” We’re fine…how are you?” I then had to keep walking, so I said, “Gotta find the seats, catch you later!”
        That would have been fine, except my hubby couldn’t place him either…and kept yelling in my ear “who’s that?” So both the man in question and everyone else could hear. I tried to whisper that I didn’t know, but my husband is slightly hard of hearing and it resulted in “who, what did you say?” (Sigh). It took me half the flight to remember it was an electrician who’d done some work for us.

        It has also happened in reverse, when I saw someone out of context…I knew that I recognised her but not from where…I blurted out, ” Hi, how are you? It’s been a long time!”
        The woman stared at me as if I were mad, and just passed me by looking at me strangely. It came to me….she was a checkout girl at our local shop. She had no idea who I was. I felt quite silly!😉

      • Colette, you have summarized nicely what happens to all of us. It is like we are scrolling quickly through our mental rolodex (or contact files for younger readers who are asking what is a rolodex?) to find that name. Sometimes it emerges, sometime it does not. My wife masks it by saying “Hi, sweetie” or “Hey, chickie.” Keith

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