When I was 20 years old I wrote a blog post on my old Tumblr entitled, “How to Be Happy.” Inside was a list of five, navel-gazey bullet points that endeavored to explain why and how I’d developed a reputation among my friends for being “the happy one.” It was grossly prescriptive coming from a college kid who, for all intents and purposes, had very few reasons to be anything but, but I was too blind to my privilege at the time to think better of it. The memory of the post still makes me cringe, down to the grid-collage of me smiling that I’d inserted alongside it.
That post needed to never see light. EVER. And it saw so much light. Like, all 200 of my followers. Such a post would never survive today’s Tumblr wrath, but the community was insular enough back then that only my own hindsight taught me it was obnoxious. I asked the Man Repeller team about old memories that still make them cringe, and the speed with which I received responses tells its own story: This shit can haunt. Below are theirs. Add your own below and then let’s collectively laugh it the fuck off.
Leslie: “Years ago I mispronounced the word ‘zine’ (I said it like zyne) at a garden party full of Harvard grads. I’ve never felt more like a public-school kid.”
Harling: “One time, while in my first job out of college, I opened the door to an important meeting and wheeled in my big-ass chair thinking they wanted me to take notes. I was immediately asked to leave and go back to manning the front desk and so I had to wheel my big-ass chair back out of the room in shame.”
Emily: “During a National Honor society induction ceremony in high school, I was supposed to light a candle with a match on stage in front of hundreds of people in the auditorium. It took me about 10 tries to strike the match hard enough to get it to light. I wanted to curl into a ball and die. Why didn’t we just have a lighter?”
Elizabeth: “At a high school dance I thought a boy was coming to ask me to dance but then he went to my friend instead. And he definitely knew. Terrible.”
Harling, again (she cringes a lot): My boyfriend and I were coincidentally placed into the same sex-ed group sophomore year of high school. We were randomly assigned to perform a skit about an unwanted pregnancy — just the two of us in front of the whole group. The worst part is: we were BROKEN UP at the time.”
Matt: “I was fresh in my role at an old job and took it upon myself to start a monthly email roundup of going-ons from across the company (which was quickly expanding internationally). The very first newsletter I sent out was highlighting a program we had just sold in Europe — a major international win. After a quick Google search I found out the client was a luxury cruise liner, so I titled the email “Sailing right into the UK” and sent it out. Turned out the client was actually a coffee chain of the same name, and the luxury cruise chain had recently gone out of business due to a ship that SUNK a few months prior. I wanted to crawl into a hole.”
Ariel: “That time I walked into a glass door in front of the entire Man Repeller office and had to play it cool like it didn’t hurt when in actuality my laptop jabbed into my trachea and I felt like I was Eddard Stark at King’s Landing. This was today, by the way.”
Photo by Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images.