The prompt today for the Just Jot it January challenge is ‘humiliate’.

Such a strong word… Nothing coming immediately to mind here… I think I will draw in some inspiration from a couple of other sources in order to generate some ideas regarding content and form.

Here is an intriguing photo I found in this post on Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo:


And here’s the photo we’re working from on today’s Three Line Tales:


Now! I’ve got enough raw inspiration in the hopper to churn out some sausage. Whether the links are scrumptious or foul, I’ll let you decide.

So I’m looking at a couple of pictures, and I’m seeing a sanitation truck idling in the street with the backdrop of elaborate grafitti like the hieroglyphics carved into the walls of ancient Egypt, so I’m thinking about the riddle of the Sphinx, and a joke comes to mind: “How do you know that God is a civil engineer?”

While you’re thinking about that, let me tell you this: I was standing not too long ago behind the reception counter at the flash hotel where I work, listening in as a small group of guests sit talking in the lobby, and I heard one man venture a joke, which elicited groans and outbusts of incredulous dismissal as the rest of the group proceeded to humiliate the joke-teller for the poor taste evidenced in his pathetic attempt to be funny.

Now I know that after such a set-up as this, you are dying to hear the punchline – much in the way that when you see someone smell something rotten and make a horrible face, exclaiming in disgust, well, you’ve just got to get your nose in there too – so here’s the skunky answer to this little riddle of the sphinx: “You can tell that God is a civil engineer, because nobody but a civil engineer would have put a sanitation facility so close to a recreation facility.”

A wiser writer than me would leave it at that, but since this post is already halfway to the five hundred words I need to hit on this day five of the thirty-one day #my500words challenge, I’m going to push it (in more ways than one) and continue. In the email I received today, Jeff Goins says to focus on “writing what you know” and to try writing about “a day you’ll never forget.”

For whatever reason, my memory tends to discard all my triumphs and joyful times, while holding fast to failures and times I’ve felt humiliated.

One such darkly memorable day for me was when I was caught stealing in middle school. My friend Jeff and I got it into our heads that it would be hilarious to steal every single writing utensil in the classroom while everyone was away having lunch. We snuck into the room and loaded up my duffel bag with every pen, pencil, and marker we could find.

When the class reconvened, we watched with giddy amusement as all the students and the teacher cast about for their belongings.

Our amusement soon fled, however, when we were easily identified as the perpetrators, my duffel was summarily searched, and we were dispatched to the school disciplinarian who – unphased by our protestations that it was just a prank – assigned to each of us copious after-school detentions to sit.

Now comes the humiliating part. For some reason totally beyond me, I began to cry. I cried through Math and on into English, my classmates and teachers looking on in disbelief, dismay, and yes – amusement – as I sobbed and sobbed uncontrolably.

I am not a cry-guy. I can count on one hand the times I’ve cried since that day. Maybe that’s why the memory just won’t go away.

Thank you for visiting and reading.