The Luv Doc: Cranberry Volcano: People who don’t have embarrassing stories are either exceptionally dull, or disturbingly dishonest – Columns



Dear Luv-Doc,

On Thanksgiving in 2019, I vomited over my friend’s mother. I know this sounds bad enough, but it gets worse. She was wearing a light beige Jenni Kayne sweater she’d just bought for Thanksgiving, and I was vomiting cranberries all over the place. Yes, it was ruined, as was my day and probably everyone else’s. I pretended to be sick for the rest of the day and stayed in a bedroom until we drove back to Austin, but I wasn’t sick, I just felt drunk and queasy for not having breakfast all morning and then Mimosa mixed with sangria. It happens to everyone, doesn’t it? Anyway, I had just eaten a lot of cranberry sauce because for some reason it seemed the least disgusting and when I put my plate in the kitchen, my friend’s mother – who, by the way, looked very radiant – hugged me and thanked me for the help and i don’t know why but that hug turned my stomach upside down and bleerrrg … cranberry volcano. After having a quiet Thanksgiving with my parents during COVID, my friend said we have to return to Dallas with his family for Thanksgiving this year. I said I was still too embarrassed and would like to wait a year or two. He is angry with me. He says nobody cares and everyone is excited to see me. Am i unjust

– Weak stomach

I almost didn’t reply to your letter because it came in after the deadline and the paper comes out on Thursday … but then it occurred to me: Wait! The Thanksgiving edition of the Chronicle comes out the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, so there’s still time for my precious advice to save the day and maybe your relationship and maybe even your life, though, to be completely honest, I haven’t fully planned it yet Scenario in which my advice would be lifesaving, but mathematically it’s not impossible. The important thing is that you could still read this column on Wednesday – maybe when you buy a delicious sauce at Salt & Time you can pick it up, read it and decide to completely change your plans and take the seven-hour Wednesday afternoon drive up I-35 for a huge Thanksgiving serving of salvation. Did I mention that I am an optimist? I think that seems obvious at this point, but I really believe in you and your ability to stop the Cranberry Volcano this year!

You see, as one person who has put together a deep, impressive résumé of embarrassing incidents, I can tell you that the real Doozes are never forgotten. You’d think you could hide yourself until all the witnesses died, but people with really great, embarrassing stories about other people seem to live an impressively long time. Not only that, you’d think their memories would start to fade after 30 or 40 years, but that only makes matters worse because the parts they forget are simply rewritten shamelessly and regardless of the facts. After all, the story is in the telling, right? And when people tell embarrassing stories – even about themselves – only the embarrassing facts are relevant.

Well, before you decide never to have a Thanksgiving dinner in Dallas again (which is not a bad policy, but for completely different reasons), I should tell you that the best way to overcome a really embarrassing incident is to do it to simply own it – ideally with grace, humility and appreciation of personal responsibility. Oh, and you’ll need a good sense of humor too, because that’s how generally most people deal with uncomfortable and embarrassing topics. It’s important to remember that at one point or another, everyone was deeply embarrassed. People who don’t have embarrassing stories are either exceptionally boring or worryingly dishonest. Living an interesting life means stepping out of your comfort zone and taking risks. Sometimes those risks are rewarded, and one of the most valuable rewards is realizing that sometimes you are as goofy as everyone else. After all, there is no better teacher than embarrassment. I bet the chance you mix mimosa and sangria and vomit back on your mother-in-law is about zero percent. Likewise, I will never try to force a fart in a public place again, even if I think no one will hear it. So, with this terrible picture, I’m going to end this floor and encourage you to enjoy Thanksgiving in Dallas, but maybe bring your mother-in-law a Jenni Kayne sweater if you can afford it (because god these things are expensive).