Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Most Embarrassing Thing That Has Ever Happened To Anyone Ever.



I still can't believe that what I'm about to tell you actually happened.

This is beyond an embarrassing moment. This is something where I legit think I might have to move.


Just the other day I was thinking about that terribly embarrassing experience I had last December at that movie theater late on a Friday night and I was like "I haven't done anything embarrassing for a while. Good job, Eli. You're growing up."

And then this morning happened.

It all started because I noticed that the "Check Battery" light had come on in my car. It's actually been happening a lot lately. Ever since I jumped Matt's vehicle when it wouldn't start last month and then I think his car gave my car a car STD.


So, as I was driving to work this morning, I thought maybe I should run the car into the dealership, which is on the way anyway, and have them check it out before I end up a poor helpless damsel in distress on the side of a lonely highway.

So I stopped by the car dealership.

A man who looked too young to even drive a vehicle, let alone have a job, told me they could look into it but that it would probably take several hours because they were pretty busy that day.

The dealership has a very wonderful service wherein they give you the option of taking a free loaner car if it looks like the service is going to take a while. The loaner car is always a better car than the one you bring in, so every time I take one I drive away feeling like the Beverly Hillbillies who just struck oil but don't yet have the social graces to be among the rich.

I once had one of these loaner cars for a week because the dealership had to order some part and I was seriously tempted after two or three days to just drive off into the sunset and change my number.

Anyway, child laborer told me they had one loaner car left and that if I wanted it, I could take it for the day.

I jumped at this, telling him that I would be so careful and that I'm really responsible and that they could trust me, etc.

He pointed at the car, parked out front, told me it was ready to go, and bid me farewell.

Picture this scene.

I had with me the following items:

1. My laptop bag.

2. A gym bag.

3. Several large paper bags carrying gifts for coworkers, which I had planned to pass out today.

4. A grocery sack with food for lunch.

5. A heavy coat that I was carrying around because as it turned out it was not cold enough for a heavy coat.

I had a lot of crap with me.

It was seriously a miracle that I was able to carry all of it at once.

I should qualify for the Olympic Games just based on how much stuff I was carrying.

There should be a tax deduction for people who can carry the amount of crap I had.

People should have to let me get off of planes first.

There were large windows so that everyone inside the dealership could see what was going on outside. So all 20 or so people had a perfect view of me, Eli Whippelnott McCann, schlupping out to the loaner vehicle with enough possessions to get my own episode of Hoarders.

I opened the back door and started unloading everything, carefully, into the back seat.

I shut that door.

I opened the driver's door.

I climbed into the vehicle. Into the large and exceptionally-nice SUV.

This was one of those cars from the future where you don't actually put a key in the ignition and there isn't a shifter thingy. You just push buttons and the car does what you want.

I have no business driving a car like this. Back in myyyyy day, you started your vehicle by giving it a big push and then prayin' to Jesus. So when I'm faced with this intimidating technology, I panic.

Seeing a car behind me, I knew I needed to get moving, so I started pushing buttons until the vehicle began to move forward.

I congratulated myself, and then peeled out of the parking lot like a teenage girl from a 90s movie.

I had the perm and everything.

And THAT'S when I saw something out of the corner of my eye.

It was a rapid movement of some sort. It was coming from the side of the car.

But I quickly turned, basically ignoring it, and pulled out onto the main road in front of the dealership.

I should have investigated the movement.

I knew something was off.

But I was just trying to get to work. So I didn't investigate it.

A moment later I looked into the rear-view mirror.

You guys.

I will never, in my life, forget what I saw in that rear-view mirror.

Hollywood directors could go their entire career and never capture as perfect a scene as what I saw in that rear-view mirror.

That rear-view mirror is already being nominated for at least five Academy Awards in cinematography.

They are making room for that rear-view mirror at the Smithsonian as you read this.

As I looked into that mirror. I saw four. FOUR. onetwothreecarrytheoneFOUR.

Four grown men. Running. Nay. Sprinting. after my vehicle.

All four of them had their arms waving frantically in the air.

All four of them screaming.

But they were too far away for me to make out what they were saying.

It all seems like a dream to me now. In the moment, I wasn't sure if they were trying to get my attention, or if something else was going on.

But then my phone rang.

And the person on the other end resolved that confusion.

Eli: Hello?


Eli: . . . yeeeeesssss.

I don't know why I said it like that but I just turned bright red again thinking about it.

Man: Eli!

And then this next part I heard in that slow motion deep voice.

Man: Yooooouuuuuu toooook the wroooonnngg caaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrr.

I took the wrong car.

I climbed into a running vehicle. One that was not mine, nor was it meant for me, and I drove it away.

Grand theft auto.

And you're probably thinking the same thing I thought in that moment. "Well, maybe this isn't that big of a deal. Eli just took a different loaner car than they intended him to take."

But no.

Right then.

As the man's voice on the phone was making out the R sound on "car" as in "you took the wrong car."

Right as he was finishing that sentence, my head suddenly did a full 360 around my neck like the girl from the Exorcist. And upon surveying my surroundings, I noticed dozens of someone's personal items.

Some shopping bags of clothes.

A pair of children's gloves.

A dog leash.

This was not the dealership's loaner vehicle. This was another customer's car. One that had just been serviced and left out front for the customer to drive away.

This car belonged to one of the four grown men who had run half a block screaming at me to cease my felony actions.

I panicked.

And in my panic, I tried to make what must be the worst u-turn in history.

I sorely misjudged the turning radius of this vehicle, and so had to stop before hitting the curb on the other side of the street.

Cars coming down that lane had to stop because I was now in the way.

And because this was a vehicle from the future, I couldn't just shift it into reverse. I had to quickly identify the expert-level-button sequence to get the car to go backwards.

The four men stood there watching this whole thing. They watched as the cars on the street who were waiting for me started honking.

They watched as I accidentally turned the space vehicle off in my attempt to get it to reverse.

They watched as I tried to figure out how to turn it back on, repeatedly failing in my efforts.

They watched as the cars on the street started going around me, because my car was still sitting nearly perpendicular to the lane, completely blocking it from passage.

They watched as the man who was still on the phone with me walked me through some very simple  instructions on how to drive a car, like he was Houston and I was an Apollo astronaut in the 60s just trying to make it home.

Eventually I got the vehicle back into the parking lot.

Now, you might be thinking that the embarrassing things are probably over at this point. You might be thinking that I got out of the vehicle and left the place.

You are wrong.

The embarrassing things are not over.

Everything you read up to this point was just a warm-up act for what happened next.

I got out of the car. My face was BRIGHT red. So red you could see it from space.

I was bumbling like an idiot. Apologizing incessantly. Apologizing for everything that has ever happened. I think I may have even admitted to being the Zodiac Killer at some point.

Keep in mind that I had loaded this person's car chuck full of all of my possessions, like I was a family of four going on a road trip to see grandma.

I had to undo all of that. I had to unload all of these things as the four men, including the one whose vehicle this was, stood around me, watching me, probably still trying to figure out if they needed to report me to the police.

I glanced back at one point and noticed that every single person inside the building was standing with their faces pressed up against the windows, watching this spectacle, likely upon hearing the frantic phone call from inside.

The guy who had been on the phone was now outside watching this as well.

I pulled my bags out of the car, apologizing and apologizing to no one in particular. Well aware that everyone was staring.

With all of my things, I started to walk away from the car. And that's when I heard the owner of the vehicle say, "excuse me. That's my gym bag."

I looked down at the handful of bags I was holding and realized that I had inadvertently grabbed a strap of a bag that was already in the car before I loaded my own stuff.

Shifting all of my incessant apologizing over to this new thing I had done, I fumbled through the straps to try to release the one that didn't belong to me. And in doing so, I dropped the bag. Onto the ground. Into a gutter. That was full. Of. Water.

For those keeping tally, by this point I had:

1. Stolen this man's car.

2. Caused a traffic jam in this man's car.

3. Made this man chase after me on foot.

4. Stolen this man's gym bag.

5. Dropped this man's gym bag into a puddle of dirty water.

He quickly picked it up.

More apologizing. 

Endless apologizing.

I was guided away by an employee who seemed to want to either put me out of my misery or just get me the hell out of there before I did any more damage. He led me to the loaner vehicle I was supposed to take.

I loaded that car with all of my things.

I got into the car.

I shut the door.


Somewhere in the middle of my third act of "Emotional Meltdown: The Play," I heard a strange noise.

It was coming from my phone, which I had placed in my shirt pocket, something I frequently do.

I pulled the phone out.

I looked down.

And I saw.

That my phone call had not been disconnected.

In all of the commotion, the guy who had called me did not hang up. He just ran out of the place to greet me upon my return.

In all of the commotion, I had not hung up the call. I had just put the phone in my shirt pocket.

By the sound of the ambient noise coming from the phone, I am 110% sure that I was on speaker phone.

On speaker phone.

Inside the dealership.

For everyone to hear.

The man who had made the call had not made it back inside by the time I started my car monologue, and so he had not yet hung up to spare me any more humiliation.

Every employee and customer of that place listened to my self-loathing as I drove away from truly the most embarrassing experience of my entire life.

But how are you doing?

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. Look on the bright side, you kept all your clothes on, good job Eli! Do you need a hug?

  2. This story is amazing. Thank you for sharing it. I'm laughing so hard, but it's because I can easily see myself in the same situation. You're not alone.

  3. I don't think Canada is far enough; you may have to make it Iceland.

    1. Iceland is really nice, though.

    2. Through the whole story, while wiping tears of mirth, I thought to myself... ATLEAST he hasn't started stripping yet

  4. Is there a thing like when you've achieved Nirvana, but for embarrassment. I think you have finally achieved the embarrassment-nirvana equivalent.

  5. Omg! I feel like you are my spirit animal.

  6. If only you'd had Skylar with you, it would have been like an episode of I Love Lucy, where you're Lucy and Skylar is Ethel. And then you'd go home thinking you could hide what happened from Matt (who is Ricky Ricardo, of course), but it turns out he's gotten a call from the dealership and berates you when you get home, but in a thick Mississippi accent instead of Spanish. And when he gets really worked up, he switches to full-on Mississipian, so no one knows what he's saying.

    Please have Skylar produce this dramatic re-enactment video ASAP.

    1. This is the best thing I've ever heard in my entire life.

      Also, who is Fred?

    2. Actually, I think Ollie would make a better Fred. He has that exasperated, "over this s**t" look down pat.

    3. Oh my gosh. THE BEST. Ollie is 100% Fred.

    4. Fred is Ethel's husband. A little Archie Bunker-ish

    5. This absolutely cannot get any better! {{munching popcorn, waiting for video}}

    6. OMG Eli, pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease contact the dealership and explain the situation and ask them if they have security footage that they would let you have. I'll buy you dinner at Maddox if you can get the video.

    7. ☝️ What the Suzzzzzz said. i can’t fake you to dinner, but I will donate as close to a million dollars as I can find in the couch cushions to Strangerville Podcast if you can get the footage!

    8. “Fake you to dinner.” Hahaha

      Michelle Collett

    9. Actually to be clear, I probably could “fake” Eli to dinner, much easier than I could “take” Eli to dinner. 🤣. (Amy and Mimi, making themselves laugh in the comments section of Eli’s blog like we own the place since 2012. How ELSE are we supposed to communicate with her being in AFRICA?!)

    10. I do love turning the comments section into our own conversation place.

      And I’m still chuckling about the phrase fake you to dinner. It should totally be a thing.

      Mimi/Michelle Collett

    11. I went on a bad date once where "fake you to dinner" could be applied, two dates, actually now that I come to think of it. Please don't tell me you want to take me to get something to eat, and then go through a soda bar drive thru to get drinks and a cookie (1 cookie, we split it), and then con me into going to your niece's 1st birthday party to meet your ENTIRE family (seriously, his entire extended family), whom you had told I was your new girlfriend...on a first date. That's just cruel.

    12. Sincerest apologies for the thoughtless though unintended cruelty, the Suzzzzz. When I come to Utah, and we go to yoga, I will take you to lunch after. Deal?

    13. Haha deal Amy. I've pretty much given up on dating any way.

    14. Real lunch or fake lunch? And is the yoga real yoga?

    15. Amy Rose, that's a deal. Definitely real yoga.

  7. No words. I am embarrassed for you, almost as if it had happened to me, but Thank God, it didn't. Thank you for taking one for the proverbial team. I feel you have just appeased the humiliation gods for all of us who are prone to moments just like these. Side note, I'd send Skylar to pick up your car when it's done.

  8. You might've died of embarrassment but you just killed all nine of my family members with laughter. A lot of people died as a result of this story

  9. You might've died of embarrassment but you just killed all nine of my family members. A lot of people died in the making of this story

  10. Wow. That was a rollercoaster start to finish. There are Lifetime movies with less drama. I feel like I need to move to Canada just for reading this post. Best of luck retrieving your car. You can do it.

  11. I also offer the proverbial internet hug. I also nominate Skylar to do the I Love Lucy re-enactment video. I also appreciate that there are other people in this world who do things I can easily picture myself doing. Hmmm... thinking, is there anything else I can attach an “I also” to? Just, listen, Merry Christmas. I have watched every sappy Christmas movie on Netflix, if you need recommendations for your “never leaving the house again just give me all the peanut butter bingeing” that I can only imagine you have planned. Don’t judge me. Also, just a side note from my house do you know what my life looks like: the three year old takes her plate to the sink where my husband is washing dishes. He says, “go wipe your bum, I don’t think you got it all when you went potty.” Three year old is used to this so she dutifully goes to the bathroom to commence this chore. Suddenly we hear, “YE-oooooOoow!” And my husband says in his droll voice, “yeah I say that a lot in the bathroom, too” and just keeps washing the dishes and life goes on. Then she screams, “Did I get it all?” And I had to share the story, whether you wanted to hear it or not. This is the Internet! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

    1. "The 12 Dates of Christmas" is particularly cute and probably my favorite cheesy Christmas movie. Although "The Christmas Prince" is definitely up there. Ditto to all of the other condolences given and Lucy reenactment comments. You should receive a preemptive Oscar for this performance.

    2. The 12 dates of Christmas was my favorite too!! I also liked Christmas Prince, but I might have put a different one in second place. Like, hmm. I liked the weirdness of “Back to Christmas” and the sweetness of “Dear Santa”. Yay for Netflix at Christmastime!

  12. This 100% lived up to the hype. How are you going to manage to pick up your car from this dealership? Send someone else. You can never go back there!

  13. When I saw you post on Facebook that you had the most embarrassing experience of your life and the story was to come I thought “oh no. He’s over selling it.”

    Well played.

  14. You know the girl in the embarrassing moments episode of Strangerville who both puked and pooped her pants in front of her whole class? This is so much worse than that.

  15. Yeah. But your hair looked great.

  16. Oh Eli! I feel so embarrassed for you. I don't know how you manage to get in these situations, but they make for good stories. I would definitely send someone else to pick up your car.

  17. When I read the title, I thought “click bait.” Fast forward a few minutes later as I’m trying to explain to my six year old why I’m laughing so hard. He’s just confused: “But Mom, it’s not funny. You go to jail for stealing cars.”

    Michelle Collett

    And Amy Rose, oh how I relate to that family life story.

  18. You should print out copies of this post to have handy for the next time when your family asks why you’re not married. This sums up most of your failures.

  19. Wait, as much as I love the guys doing I Love Lucy, now I really need to see the dogs recreate Lucy.

    Ollie is Fred because OBVS. I think Duncan is Ricky and Teddy and Renley are Lucy and Ethel.

  20. I was expecting police and/or minor wreck due to not being familiar with the car.
    So, technically, it could have been worse. . .
    Glad you are okay and able to share with us!

  21. I stopped breathing at one point wile reading this because I was laughing so hard. Now I feel bad for laughing so much at your expense. Lololol. Oh Eli, how I love you and your stories!!!

  22. I'm surprised nobody's pointed out the fact that your response to the situation (unwittingly broadcast via speaker phone) actually works in your favor. At least they were then convinced that you had not committed the various attempted thefts knowingly and with intent to harm. So there's that. Should anyone decide to press charges, you have myriad witnesses who can testify to the fact that you were just a confused lost soul bungling the situation in high, dramatic style. Also, I think it's clear that a sure way to prevent this sort of thing happening again is for nobody to ever go to the gym.

  23. criiiiiieeed

    I also imagined this all taking place at the Subaru dealership down on 33rd and state (My dad used to work there, so anything remotely car-dealership-y, that's where I imagine things happening). If it WAS that same dealership, and if you got stuck out in that awful street trying to turn around, then oh boy. I offer all the pity.

  24. Omg, there needs to be a warning before this story to read with caution if you are at work or pregnant because it may cause uncontrollable laughter and/or urinary incontinence. This from someone who is pregnant at work and may have just peed myself a little laughing so hard at this. (Good thing I’m wearing black pants so I don’t have an embarrassing story of my own!) I agree with the other person who said at least you kept your clothes on!!

  25. Is this why you changed your middle name?! And I'm with The Suzzzz on this one, at least you kept your clothes on.

  26. I had to be really careful while reading this story.... I was giving my last final of the semester and me bursting into loud, unending laughter while they test is not a good idea...

    Thank you!

  27. I think what makes this the best is you really didn't exaggerate too much

  28. You, sir, are a poor kid. This is almost as bad as the time you got swine flu and passed out and broke your arm. I hope after all of this you went home and got on the internet and bought yourself something really nice and ate some ice cream or chocolate, because after surviving all of that, some retail/ice cream/chocolate therapy is definitely called for!

  29. In doctor's office waiting room. I can't even breathe for real and now they all think I'm dying.

  30. I mean okay, but you weren't even naked this time.

  31. I'm crying from laughter over here. I had to literally look away from the screen five times to gather myself because I was doubled over from the laugh/cry. I actually had to get up and make a snack in between the "stealing the car" part of the story and the "return to the dealership" part of the story, just to try to regain some composure. Eli, you made me stress eat on your behalf. Didn't work. By the time you stole his gym bag, I was, once again, in hysterics. This may be the best story ever... and this is coming from someone whose day today started with a child standing on the coffee table and screaming because the cat ran inside and deposited a rat in the living room, which promptly scurried away under various pieces of furniture.

  32. Oh Eli. If that had happened in Canada, the guy who’s car you stole would have been apologizing too. Come to Canada.

  33. Oh my word. I think MY face turned red on your behalf when you got to the part about the gym bag. You poor thing.

  34. Somewhere there's a blog post from a guy whose car was stolen when he took it in for service.

  35. But Eli, you’ve made progress; you weren’t naked this time! I spent the entire reading on the edge of my seat waiting for the part where you were accidentally naked. So overall I give you an A for improvement.

  36. Oh my word. I am sitting in the library "working," but obviously not working since I was reading your blog, with actual tears of laughter rolling down my cheeks. Really loud laughter that caused me to go into a coughing fit that I still can't get out of because I am laughing so hard. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  37. I was expecting a "naked in public" story considering the title of this post. How you manage to have a most embarrassing thing happen to you while not naked is proof of the powers of strangeness. In Sarah's words: Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  38. (I’m having technical problems, so sorry if this comment shows up twice) But Eli, you’ve made progress! I was on the edge of seat the whole time reading this, waiting for the part where you accidentally got naked. So, A for improvement.

  39. I read this to my husband, and he laughed himself into a good coughing fit a few times. At the end of it, he said, "Oh, Eli has a good imagination." I kept trying to tell him I had no doubt it was all true, but he doesn't believe me. But I believe, Eli, I believe!