I have teenagers living in my house. If you are at all familiar with this irrational and often irritating species (homo smartaleckus), you are offering me your condolences right now.

You also know that these creatures are embarrassed by the very existence of their parents. This is a perfectly natural part of the maturation process. I can remember, as a teen, thinking my parents were utterly clueless idiots. But my folks never provided me with the kind of proof of parental derangement that I recently bestowed upon my kids.

First, I managed, quite unintentionally, to humiliate my daughter without saying a word. See, I'd read in a magazine about a nifty trick that would render an imperfect nose more attractive. Apparently, if you take an eyebrow pencil and draw a line down each side of your nose and then blend the lines in with foundation, even the most crooked nozzle takes on a straighter appearance.

Having always disliked the shape of my nose, I was eager to try this makeup magic. So one afternoon, just before I was due to pick up my daughter from school, I carefully drew two black lines down my malformed muzzle. Then, before I could cover them up, I was distracted by a phone call. And with a mind withered down by both motherhood and menopause to only a few functioning memory cells, I naturally forgot all about the artwork adorning my snout and walked right out the door.

When you are a teenage girl, simply having your mother appear in public during daylight hours is mortifying. Having to acknowledge a mother sporting what appear to be miniature train tracks running down her nose causes chagrin at levels previously unknown to modern adolescence.When she saw me walking amiably toward her, my daughter's face froze in horrified disbelief. She spun around and quickly sprinted away, leaving me to be informed of my error by a guffawing group of her friends.

She's still not speaking to me, and I have sworn off makeup entirely.

A few days later, I compounded this impression of insanity with a performance that will long be remembered within the hallowed confines of our church. I wore a dress to the Sunday morning service, and underneath, I wore only pantyhose. If you are a woman, you will instantly recognize my motivation for this --- I wished to avoid even the possibility of that dreaded fashion faux pas known as VPL (visible panty lines). If you are a man, no amount of explanation will help you understand the socially disastrous consequences of a VPL manifestation, so never mind.

Anyway, midway through the service, I went to the restroom. Unfortunately, I failed to notice upon my return that the back hem of my dress had become entangled in the waistband of my sheer hose. As I made my way toward my family sitting near the front of the sanctuary, the faithful flock got an eyeful of a body part, that, especially on me, really should remain covered up.

One person after another tried to get my attention with a subtle wave of the hand, but I, blind to my bared backside, was impressed with my own popularity, smiling and waving back at what I thought was an army of admirers. Not until I reached my loved ones and beheld the looks of absolute agony on their faces as they collectively pulled me down to the pew did I realize that the entire congregation was convulsed with laughter.

I expect to be the butt of jokes about this for a long, long time.

© Jackie Papandrew, All Rights Reserved

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