This morning I had one of those awkward joke failures that make you cringe in pain.
I was on the platform at Paddington feeling quite happy – fairly positive about the new day.
The train pulled in – packed as ever - and I squeezed myself into a spot near the end of the seating row.
I looked down and saw a pretty – but very, VERY pregnant - woman sitting in the ‘priority’ seat on the end. I strongly suspected from her shape, and her body language, that she really needed that seat, and that it really wasn’t going to long until she would be not pregnant any more.
That was when my mouth ran away with itself, without asking my brain for permission.
My mouth decided that the following joke would be funny… I’ll let you decide on whether or not my mouth knows anything about comedy
Pregnant Lady (PL): “Ugh?”
Me: “Are you not going to offer me your seat then?” - While simultaneously rubbing my stomach as if I were 'with child' and nodding at the ‘priority seating’ sign.
Somewhere in the darkest depths of my soul I was laughing my head off. The irony in my gag was knocking the crowds wild…
Me: ”Er …I could do with sitting” I was still rubbing my stomach, but my confidence in the joke about making a pregnant woman stand for me on the grounds that I am 'stocky' (ahem) was waning fast under her disgusted stare.
I heard a tut from my right, and the sound of silence erupted through the carriage as everyone froze in disbelief.
Me: “er….” Rub, rub, rub, nod, wink, nod, wink, grin, rub, sweat, shake, beg…
About an hour passed, until...
PL: “Oh – right – haha” She gave me a pitying smile, the type you give to a 6 year old that has just told you his favourite Knock-Knock joke for the thousandth time, and fixed her eyes determinedly into her book.
The carriage relaxed and went back to ignoring each other.
I stood quietly staring into space.
I stepped back slightly, and tried to pretend to be someone else – equally as unimpressed in whoever that idiot was, that had tried to make a pregnant woman stand for him, as everyone else was – whoever he was!
The ground failed to do the decent thing and swallow me up.
So what head bangingly awkward joke have you had fail on you that, just for an instant, had seemed so funny in your mind? Or have you been present when someone else dug a pit of despair for themselves? I’d love to hear about these moments, even if only to console myself that it isn’t only me that does it.