Sunday, December 22, 2013

I CAN NEVER GO BACK TO THAT LOCKER ROOM

This post was written on Friday, in the heat of the moment.

Oh my gosh. You guys. The most embarrassing thing EVER happened to me just now.

I want to die. I want to die. I have to move. I can't be seen in Salt Lake City ever ever ever again.

I know I've set a pretty high bar for doing something that could be considered the most embarrassing thing that I've ever done in a locker room. See this, for a recent example. But fortunately my prior experiences were in other countries where I didn't ever have to see any of those people again.

None of those experiences were in the gym THAT I CURRENTLY GO TO EVERY SINGLE DAY. The gym that is RIGHT NEXT TO MY HOUSE. The one that ALL OF MY COWORKERS GO TO. The one that EVERY ONE OF MY NEIGHBORS ALSO VISIT.


It's cold here in Salt Lake City. I'm not used to the cold. My skin is drying out. I'm truly dying in this. And I'm doing absolutely everything I can to cope. For example, I have started wearing an excessive amount of layers of clothing.

Today I was wearing a button-up shirt, a tie, a long sleeved shirt, and a slim-fitting hoodie over the top of it all.

I know. That doesn't sound like a classy thing to be wearing to the office. But guys. I just moved here from Palau WHERE I DIDN'T EVEN BUTTON UP MY PANTS AT WORK BECAUSE I WAS TOO FAT AND I ALSO NEVER WORE SHOES. A hoodie and tie is a major improvement.

Anyway, I was in the locker room at the gym. It was the middle of the day. The gym is basically connected to the building I work in and so I usually hop down there in the middle of the day for a workout because it's very convenient. So do a lot of people who work in downtown Salt Lake. The middle of the day is sort of a crowded time in the locker room at this gym.

I wasn't really in the mood to take off one layer at a time as I changed. I was feeling lazy. So I thought that maybe I could undo the top couple of buttons on my button-up shirt, loosen the tie, and just pull everything off at once.

Sounds totally doable, right? Sounds like a quick way to get out of a lot of clothes, right?

WRONG! THIS IS A BAD IDEA!

I got the whole mess over my head, my arms raised straight up in the air and my face covered by shirts that were probably too tight for me, when I realized that I was completely stuck. It was like I had put on a straight jacket over my arms and face. I couldn't get the sleeves over my arms. I couldn't pull it all back down. I couldn't see anything.

And that's when I began to feel claustrophobic and like I couldn't breathe. So I started panicking. Like, really really panicking.

I was breathing heavily and squirming and spinning in circles, bending this way and that way, probably even twerking (whatever THAT is), just trying to get some leverage to get these clothes off of my head. My entire stomach was exposed, my arms were raised straight up like I was going down a hill on a roller coaster, and my whole head was being smothered in layers of fabric.

I could feel the people in the crowded locker room stare at me. And it got completely quiet in there. Everyone stopped their conversations so they could just watch this mess going on in the middle of the room.

I was bumping into lockers. It was like bumper cars. After a moment or two I felt myself run into another person. I apologized and tried to correct.

And that's when I took a step backwards and fell over a bench.

GUYS. I FELL ONTO THE FLOOR. ONTO MY BACK. WHILE THE CLOTHES WERE STILL COVERING MY WHOLE HEAD.

I was laying on my back on the floor. My legs were over the bench. I couldn't see a thing. And to make matters worse, my arms were stuck in the upright position and I couldn't use them to lift myself off of the floor.

I started rocking from side to side to try to get up.

That's when someone took pity on me. I heard a man say in the most sympathetic tone I have ever heard, "can I please help you somehow?"

He pulled me back into a standing position, my arms still sticking straight up and my face still being suffocated by my straight jacket. I emphatically thanked the man through my clothes-muffled voice and explained, "I thought I could get all of these shirts off of me at once but now they're stuck and I can't see anything and I can't seem to pull them back down or up. I know this is really awkward, but could you grab onto the sleeves and pull?"

There was no response. He had left. He had left right after he helped me up. I was standing there with the shirts over my face talking TO MYSELF.

Another man, who had probably heard my monologue, timidly offered, "I can help you, I guess."

"OH MY GOSH. THANK YOU SO MUCH!"

I bent down as he pulled and tugged until I was finally freed.

I could tell my face was bright red as I contemplated the horror of what I had just experienced. I thought it may have been better to have never gotten the shirts off, because at least then people wouldn't be able to see my face. I considered, momentarily, pointing at the wall and telling everyone there was a camera over there and they were all just on Candid Camera. But then I realized that I didn't want to be the guy who was strangled by his own clothing, fell over a bench, had to be undressed by a stranger, AND who puts hidden cameras in locker rooms.

I straightened myself up to thank the man who had helped me.

And that's when I almost threw myself through a window.

Standing before me: an attorney with whom I interviewed for a job earlier this year.

Standing all around us, staring: fifteen to twenty people who were memorizing my face.

~It Just Gets Stranger

78 comments:

  1. OMG! This was the best! I would totally do this!

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  2. There is no way you can continue to live through that much embarrassment. Should I be making plans to attend your funeral?
    - my greatest condolences

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  3. My face is bright red after reading this. That's awful. On the bright side, I've noticed that we tend to be much harder on ourselves than others. For example, imagine if you had seen someone do this: You'd probably go home, maybe laugh a little, tell Kurt, and that would be that. It would be forgotten quickly. It's the same with other people.

    Mistakes such as this are terrible in the moment, but they are always forgotten quickly. Also, they keep life interesting. :)

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  4. Ohmygoodness!! I'm laughing so hard I'm crying! This totally happened to me once with a bathing suit top that really looked like it should fit me... and it didn't. Luckily my spastic freak-out happened in the confines of my bedroom. Seriously the funniest blog post ever. Good luck shopping for a new gym.

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  6. Something like this has happened to me before, too. I'd just had my first baby, like a week before, and I somehow naively believed that, because I'd only gained 30 pounds while I was pregnant, I should totally fit into all my pre-pregnancy clothes immediately after giving birth. I was so wrong. You retain a lot of water when pregnant, and the water apparently doesn't exit your body at the same time as the baby. And you might never think that your arms would get swollen, but trust me when I say that the formfitting, sleeveless dress you wore the summer before is going to trap you and try to suffocate you if you try to wear it to church a week after you give birth.

    Fortunately for me, this happened in my own bedroom, so my husband freed me. He was nice and didn't start laughing until I could see him laughing at me. That was 9 years ago, and he still teases me about it.

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  7. I'm so sorry! Even so, thank you for sharing!

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  8. Oh man! This is awful, embarrassing, and hysterically funny all at once! ... it's only funny because it didn't happen to me. I really feel for you because that is terribly awkward. You really just need to stop undressing in public places Eli.

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    1. "You really just need to stop undressing in public places Eli."
      Eli, this is the most sound piece of advice I've ever seen given to you. Please consider. Although, then we readers won't have so many laughs, but that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make to save you some embarrassment.

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    2. Eli, don't suppose this is a good time to bring up you nearly undressing in a library...

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    3. I think we really need to hear this library story!

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  9. You need to find the security footage and get rid of it online as soon as possible.

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  10. Oh my, so funny! You know you just became the story all those people will now tell over the holidays as in "Hey guys, you will never believe what I saw in the gym locker room..."

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  11. I can't believe no one offered to help you before you fell over the bench, and then didn't finish the helping! That's what happens when the room is filled with only men. Any mom in the world would have known what to do-- toddlers have this problem all the time. So funny and so awful at the same time!

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    1. I was thinking this exact same thing! Men need a lesson on helping in these kinds of situations!

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    2. They were probably all too busy silently laughing!

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  12. Your life needs to be a sitcom, I'd totally get cable just to watch that show.

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  13. Steph - "Toddlers have this problem all the time"
    So, basically, Eli, we think you're an adorable toddler.

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  14. At least you've been working out every day, so your stomach must have looked nice while you were trapped in the straight jacket with everyone staring at you.

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    1. That's probably why nobody would help. They were all mesmerized.

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  15. Maybe you can get into an all women's gym. There would be tons of moms that would sympathetically come over and pull you out of your clothes, then show you where the "potty" is, and ask you where your mom is all while ushering you to the potty. Realistically though it will probably be like someone else mentioned, most people will forget about it, but don't do this again. Hilarious post, by the way your hair looks great today.

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  16. On the bright side...if anyone in that locker room happened to be having a particularly terrible day, you definitely made him feel better. So really, this wasn't so much an embarrassing moment, as an opportunity you took to put a smile on someone's face...and smiling gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy, and happy people just don't kill their husbands (or in this case, wives).

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    1. Ha! Legally Blonde! Eli, you totally need to use this argument in a case.

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  17. I nearly fell off the couch laughing at this. Thank you.

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  18. I started laughing so hard when you said you fell over the bench that I started choking! Oh the image!

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  19. There are no words.....the laughter hurts. You poor thing.

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  20. I laughed so hard, thank you. I have to start cleaning and baking for Christmas and now I can yell at my kids with a smile on my face.

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  21. Wow Eli, I know the panicky feeling when your arms are stuck above your head. Your experience is not unlike putting on or taking off a sports bra that has no hooks or other means of closure (who seriously designs these without a closure!). However, I've only been inside a private dressing stall when that has happened to me. Sorry, but I couldn't help laughing...hysterically! Just consider it your "performance art."

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  22. Eli, don't feel too bad about that one. Once I tried on a dress that had no zipper, and I could get in on, but it wasn't as stretchy as I thought, and when I tried to pull it off over my head, it got stuck on my shoulders and my face, and my glasses, and I was just covered by this hideous dress, and I had to call to my mom who was waiting for me outside of the dressing area, until she heard me and came in and I had to admit that I was stuck. She had to come into the dressing stall and shut the door, because I was in my underclothes trying this dress on, and then tug it off over my head. If it had just been me there I would have had to have hollered until someone else had pity on me, and had a complete stranger help me undress. So don't feel too bad, it happens to EVERYONE.

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  23. The funniest post I have ever read.

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  24. One time I got stuck, just like this, in a dressing room in Park City. Then I peed my pants....in the dressing room in Park City.

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  25. I just laughed until I cried. At my desk. In the middle of the office. Thank you for making this day a little more bearable.

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  26. Oh. My. Goodness. That is so hilarious and yet traumatic at the same time!!! I feel so sorry for you, but I am dying laughing... Don't ever change!

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  27. oh my gosh. laughed til i cried. but i can't believe those 15 people didn't help you! i guess they just wanted to see what would happen next.

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  28. Clicking on this I immediately thought, "Was Eli naked again?"

    At least you weren't full naked.

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  29. I know that was traumatic for you, but I am laughing my guts out and thanking you for sharing it. I needed this today. And this sort of thing would totally happen to me. You're awesome!

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  30. Sharing this with everyone I know right now!

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  31. Tears were literally streaming down my face as I read this, I was laughing so hard. I keep picturing you rolling around on the floor with your arms stuck up and your face smothered by your shirts...thank you for making my day much better.

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  32. I laughed so hard my children came over to see what was going on. After sharing your post with them they reminded me of that time when I was in my bedroom changing and trying to do exactly what you were doing--removing layers the lazy way. Of course, my shirts got stuck on my head and on my glasses and I couldn't pull them up or down and then, just then, my children's friend ( a twelve year old boy) came into the hallway to fetch a game and saw me there because I thought it would be quick so I hadn't shut the door. I do not go to the gym every day, or any day for that matter, so he got a horrifying glimpse of the tummy and boobs ( I still had my bra on, thank goodness) of a 40 something mommy who had given birth to 6 children including a set of twins. A sight to put young boys off older women, I'm sure. Finally my daughters came and helped to free me, but it took a long time because all three of us were laughing like crazy. Except for that poor boy. For a long time afterwards, if he needed to come into the hallway where the bedrooms are, he would announce himself loudly!

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    1. HAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHA!

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    2. On the bright side, though, you may have unwittingly encouraged him to try abstinence.

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    3. After Eli's post I was laughing so hard! Now I am crying! This is so funny! Poor Eli! Poor, poor kid!

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    4. LOVE this story too!

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  33. I, too, laughed so hard that I cried. However laughing is actually painful right now so some of the tears were not from laughter. Curse you strep throat! This my new all time favorite post. I can't wait to read it again in a few days when it won't be so painful to enjoy it.

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  34. Can I please follow you around for one day?

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  35. OMG that is hilarious! But, speaking from experience, I can promise you that everyone in there will forget about it within a week or so. Here's how I know.... I must post this anonymously because it is so embarrassing. There is a gym in my office too that every person I work with uses. One day in the locker room I was doing a similar move, except trying to get my pants off over my feet without taking my shoes off, because I am very lazy. Except my pants got stuck on my shoes, and I was hopping around and lost my balance and fell over, hitting my head on a bench and KNOCKING MYSELF OUT. Out cold. Luckily, it being a female locker room, a bunch of women ran over and helped me. They made me lay there, with my pants still around my ankles, until a (male!!!) doctor from the gym could come check me out. Once I got the all-clear, you can bet I got out of there as fast as I could!! I was so mortified and refused to go back for several weeks, but finally I did, and nobody gave me a second look. That was over a year ago and surprisingly nobody has ever said anything to me or giggled and turned away or anything.

    In conclusion, gym locker rooms are dangerous, and I think I have the perfect lawyer to represent me in my case!

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    2. I have also had the shoes on, tripping experience, but no loss of consciousness. Thanks for sharing and making me laugh! Also, I feel a lot less embarrassed now that I know things like this have happened to do many other people!

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    3. I LOVE the comments on this blog.

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  36. OH MY GOSH. ELI. This has completely turned my bad day around. You need to have a camera strapped to you at all times so we can all witness these experiences firsthand.

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    1. I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE!

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  37. Oh, I miss you Eli. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a New Year filled with more hilarious but not as embarrassing stories...

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  38. I just love you. I am so happy you are in this world.

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  39. it's not that bad - believe me - more embarrassing things are yet to come in your life... you will survive - funny though - actually the more i think about it the funnier it gets - keep keeping on my friend

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  40. You should probably just stay out of locker rooms altogether. Nothing good ever happens to you there.

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  41. Every time I feel embarrassed about something I'm going to think, "Eli was strangled by his own clothes and fell over in a crowded locker room and he seems ok."

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  42. This post is a perfect example of why I check Stranger every single day.

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  43. I don't read your blog regularly, however, anytime I do, you're undressing in public. I had to go back and read some prior posts, just to make sure your entire blog was not about this topic.

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    1. And? What were your findings? Are you just going to leave us hanging like that? THE STRANGERS HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW!

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    2. Frightening farm fowl, enormous rodents, also the above-mentioned unintended (I presume) partial public nudity. Most posts don't specify if you're fully clothed. Now I have to wonder...

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  44. Your candid camera quip was my favorite part of this story... "But then I realized that I didn't want to be the guy who was strangled by his own clothing, fell over a bench, had to be undressed by a stranger, AND who puts hidden cameras in locker rooms." At least you realized that was a bad idea before you actually said it; I'm pretty sure that's the only thing that could have made it worse! Bless your heart!

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  45. This reminds me of the time I scratched up my face by sliding down a mountain on it. After that, my family continued biking, but I wandered around the stores with money my mom had given me. Guess how many people remarked on my open wounds? One. Exactly one person, a former nurse. Believe it or not, people don't care as much as you think they do.

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    1. I don't know. If I saw this happen in a locker room, I would remember it for a LONG time.

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  46. I'm so glad you posted this, Eli, I have had the worst past month, which included 12 days in the hospital with my dad and being late for five different Christmases and making my Nanny cry. I laughed for ten minutes while reading this, and I REALLY needed to laugh!! Thank you!!!! -holly

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  47. This post just made 2013 my favorite Christmas ever.

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  48. Can I just say, that this post has made my day. It sounds like something I would do. Unfortunately I've moved desks recently, and the girl behind me is not nearly as fantastical as you and I, so I can't check your blog as soon as I log in at work. I only get to check it maybe once a week now a days, and I'm very far behind, but in saying that, you'r blog always cracks me up and even if I'm having a really bad day, it can make me smile. So I just want to say thank you for being you, and posting the most fantastic shennanigans ever!

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  49. So is Kurt going to check your back for Athletes foot? Thanks for the laughs, I laughed so hard my husband paused his gaming to make sure I was okay because of the tears rolling off my face!

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  50. I enjoy reading your posts, especially the ridiculous ones. But this...this takes the cake. I laughed so hard my stomach hurt. And then I laughed some more.

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  51. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  52. Do you ever wonder if the person who helped you first and then ran away only ran away because they work with you &/or are your boss & didnt want you to know who really helped you to save you from (more) embarrassment?

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