63: A Hard Lesson in Humiliation

63: A Hard Lesson in Humiliation

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just for Preteens

A Hard Lesson in Humiliation

Perhaps I know best why it is man alone who laughs; he alone suffers so deeply that he had to invent laughter.

~Friedrich Nietzsche

Has there ever been a time in your life when you were so humiliated that you wanted to either die or simply evaporate into oblivion? I have personally had my share of humiliating situations. And yes, I must admit, the thought has crossed my mind to skip town and simply disappear. But that was all it was, just a fleeting thought. I think fear and common sense keep us from ever seriously considering doing such a thing. Plus, as I’ve learned over time, placing geographical distance between yourself and your problems never really solves anything.

The worst day in Harold Fanning history began on a Monday morning when I was in the fifth grade. For some reason I had overslept, and in my haste to get dressed I grabbed the first white shirt I could find. I hurriedly slipped it on and rushed out the back door heading for school. Unfortunately, my mistake didn’t show itself until we were all on the baseball field during third period physical education class. Earlier I had spied a few of my classmates looking at me and talking among themselves. A few others were pointing and laughing but I didn’t think it was directed at me and so I didn’t give it much thought at the time. But as we were all standing around waiting to be chosen for a team, one of my friends finally informed me what all the commotion was about. I could hardly believe it! In my haste to get ready for school I had accidentally grabbed one of my sister’s blouses. There I was, waiting to be chosen for a team, wearing the prettiest girly blouse known to man. It was complete with a rounded collar, cute little blue flowers, trimmed lace, and heart-shaped buttons down the front.

In my disgrace and desperation I realized I had to do something — this situation called for immediate action. Knowing that I couldn’t leave school, I frantically searched the school closets, where I finally discovered an old leather jacket that someone had abandoned the previous winter. I immediately put it on to cover my shame and embarrassment. After school I walked almost three miles home enduring one-hundred-degree heat wearing my sister’s blouse and a leather jacket! To add insult to injury, cars full of friends and neighbors passed me by, whistling and mockingly asking me if they could take me on a date and send me flowers.

So, what’s the moral of this story? Here you are, reading this book, thinking that nobody has problems like yours. The moral is this — we all have those moments where we want to disappear from the face of the earth forever. But maybe now that you’ve read about my own humiliation, you’ll realize that you’re not alone, and it’s not so bad after all.

~Harold D. Fanning

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