The Danger of Words

The Danger of Words

Me at the beachI grew up in California. For most of my childhood I went barefoot or wore thongs. Yes, we called them thongs. It wasn’t until I moved to Ohio when I was twelve that I ever heard the term flip flops. And it wasn’t until I was in my thirties that thongs was mis-appropriated by the lingerie companies to mean something entirely different, although there is a vague design similarity between the items.

That’s my back story prior to taking a walk today with a guy (for professional reasons, and no, I’m not a streetwalker). Since it was in the 90s I dressed appropriately, including a pair of black thongs. After we walked a ways, I tripped. This is fairly normal behavior for me. I inherited the klutz gene from my dad. I can still remember my mother coming to me panic-stricken telling me to quickly distract my dad as he was in the garage with the hood up on the car. She was afraid he’d jiggle something and break it and she needed the car that afternoon. He was also known to cut himself changing lightbulbs. Nuff said. Back to my walk. Luckily my trip wasn’t of the face-planting variety. It was just a small stumble, but it’s always embarrassing when that happens around a stranger. My mouth took over and here’s what I said:

“Those darn thongs. They sometimes make me trip. It’s my dog’s fault. He likes to eat my thongs and by the end of summer I have to buy what’s still available. These are men’s thongs and they are a bit wider which is why I tripped. Normally I don’t wear them but they’re black and they go with this outfit. My pink ones are worn out.” At this point I’m babbling because I can’t figure out why I’m getting such an odd look from the guy. Fortunately I waved my foot towards the end of my ramblings and I saw a light go on in his face. But I didn’t clue into his puzzlement until I was walking back to my car and realized how he misinterpreted what I said. I hope I never have to see this guy again. Or if I do I’ll make sure it’s in the winter and I’m wearing boots.

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