Julescosby's Blog

The True Meaning of “Whoops!”

Posted by julescosby on November 15, 2010

Let’s momentarily give the floor to our old friend Adam Richards, who recounts for us an unforgettable “I can’t believe I said that” moment from his past.  -JC

There was a book event for kids at work this week.  No one came.  Not really the end of the world, but a co-worker had put some time and thought into, and so I thought I would make an attempt to derive some benefit from this non-event before she tore it all down.  She had set up a Truth or Dare game for the kiddies, and when she asked me to play, I didn’t hesitate to agree.

“Truth” I said, never once having been afraid of it.

“What was the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever said?” she asked, reading the card she had made probably no less than an hour ago.

You see folks, I open this cakehole quite a bit, and more often than not, something stupid comes out of it.  But before she’d finished asking the question, the episode was more or less fully-loaded in my memory, and my brain was already processing the images.  Once a few customers that were hanging around had left, this is what I told her:

The year was 2004.  I was in my first year of university, living in residence.  I wasn’t incredibly social that year.  Instead, I spent most of my time with a girl who would I would grow to love, but only as she simultaneously grew to hate me.  Thanks, universe.

We smoked a lot of pot that year.  Sometimes we’d smoke in her room, but usually we’d make the trip outside to a little paradise that the stoners carved out between two of the residences.

This is the way it would work: we would take the elevator (I always suggested the stairs, because really, how hard is it to go DOWN the stairs?), prop the basement door open, enjoy a smoke, and then do it all in reverse.  Not rocket science here, folks.

Now, the basement wasn’t only for tokers skipping outside; there were also two laundry rooms.  As we would catch the elevator up from the basement, we would inevitably run into someone entering it on the main floor.  Thus, my go-to joke was always to make a stupid, random laundry comment for sake of the new person.  It usually broke the ice, because we obviously reeked of dope, which can make some people uncomfortable.  At the very least it was good for a few yuks.

I don’t remember that the circumstances of this particular day deviated all that much from the norm.  It was me, her, and maybe a mutual friend or two.  There was the trip down, the propping of the door, the smoke, and then the return.

What was different was the crowd that appeared on the elevator as we hit the main floor.  They were all black guys; we were all white.  But, whatever.  They could have been purple for all that any of us cared.  We were “progressive”, after all.  And so of course as the door closed I didn’t skip a beat going right into my usual shtick, expressing the first random laundry-related thing that came to mind.  But what was it that I said? Well, I’ll never forget it as long as I live:

“My grandma always told me never to mix the colours with the whites.”

Fuck.

No, FUCK.

I said that.  I really said that.  We rode up to the 7th floor where she lived, but it might as well have been the 107th.  I stood so incredibly still, trying so damned hard to be invisible.  When the door opened I jetted out like air escaping from a pressurized spaceship into the great chaotic vacuum that lies beyond.

Eventually the University put a fire alarm on the door downstairs to keep the smokers from propping it open.  That decision was probably for the best, because I NEVER want anyone else to go through that moment as I once did.

And if any of those guys from the elevator are reading: I am SO sorry.  No, SO sorry.

Adam Richards, circa 2004. Giddy-up.


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4 Responses to “The True Meaning of “Whoops!””

  1. Corey said

    What a lovely monday morning trip down tatham memory lane.

  2. Marcus T said

    I feel your pain, buddy. I too have mouth more or less sponsored by Nike and Reebok. Let me share my own wonderful little story.

    It was the Summer of 2000. I was enjoying a wonderful life of drinking heavily and working at a restaurant on the uber-cool College St. West. The restaurant had taken to manning a food booth at various shows and festivals in Toronto and I was more than happy to provide my services. Woohoo! Working and drinking!

    At one of these such festivals, we had been working the crowds and delighting their tastebuds with delicious tidbits, and I had had several, no, way to many beers. (shocking, I know) I sat down on a bench to take a breather and a co-worker asked me, “I’m going to the store. Do you want anything?” Jokingly I replied, “How about some crack?” He laughed nervously, and replied, “I don’t think I can get that at the store.” I wasn’t finished there. Always ready to supply the earth with ridiculous hilarity, I felt a presence behind me. “This is my moment!” I thought, the waves of drunkenness washing away all dignity and decency. I wheeled around and bellowed, “What about you? You got any crack?”

    The person sitting behind me could have been anyone. Ross Perot? A six year old girl? John Denver? Oh no. It was a hulking, 300 pound African American man named Jim with a rough past. His expression soured, and his features tensed. I turned to my co-worker and said, “I probably shouldn’t have said that.” As if that makes it any better.

    I stood and went over to the grill to take my turn at cooking, and then, he was all over me, screaming about racism, “Who do I think I am?”, and “Do you know what I’ve been through?” and all that. Sure I was about to receive the beating of all beatings, the apologies came out like a machine gun, but this man was wearing a bullet proof facade that no “I’m so sorries” were going to penetrate. Luckily for me, this gentleman had a lady friend, and she came running. Somehow she calmed him down, and I managed to convince him that I was merely a drunken idiot with a big mouth, and I meant no harm by my comments.

    Her comment to me has stuck to this day, although I have still managed to ignore it on many, many occasions. She said, “You should watch what you say to people, or you are going to end up dead.”

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. “How the hell have I managed to live this long?”

    • julescosby said

      Thanks for the heartwarming story, Marcus. I too have been told several times that my mouth would get me into trouble one day. So far I’ve managed to survive. In a lot of ways I think it’s helped me.

      Makes me wonder how little Jackson is gonna turn out. You ever gonna tell him this story? Maybe teach him the seagull impression?

  3. Michael Richards wasn’t talking about laundry.

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