Tom#039;s ultimate embarrassing moment

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 17, 2001

Tom recalls vividly the most excruciating embarrassing moment of his middle-aged celibate life.

This harrowing experience, seared forever indelibly into Tom's brain, occurred in the mid-70's.

The scene was a downtown "family" Y.M.C.A. which catered during the early p.m. hours to the young executives of the business community of Montgomery.

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Tom had just joined the facility and on his second day as a member, he toured the premises and was assigned a locker in the men's dressing room.

He entered the locker room, divested himself of his clothing, slipped on a pair of scuffs and draped a towel around his middle.

His plan was to take a swim in the men's heated indoor pool; after taking a shower and toweling off, he headed in the general direction of where he thought the pool to be.

As he strode down the hall he encountered one of the maintenance men, and asked for specific directions.

His informant thumbed him toward the next door on Tom's right.

He said, " it's right through that door – you can't miss it."

With that, Tom strode forward, and as was the custom at that particular "Y", he hung his towel on a peg next to the door, and boldly stepped through it toward what he thought was the swimming pool.

You can imagine his chagrin when he noted the sun was shining brightly and the early afternoon traffic zipped past at its usual pace.

He was outside the building in perfect public view.

He turned at once to reenter the "Y" when the door snapped shut with a sickening click, locking him out.

There stood Tom, in the bare buff, wearing only the scuffs furnished by the health club.

He was transfixed, and it seemed forever before he could make his first move.

As he stood thus, it seemed the entire city had decided to take the scenic downtown route, within easy eyeshot of the spot where Tom stood.

It seemed also that he knew every person that drove past, and as he pondered his next move, he noticed a lady in an upstairs room of a nearby house.

She was pressing her clothes when Tom came to her attention.

She immediately dropped the iron and pulled down her window shade.

Tom recalled all this action in retrospect – just a fleeting recollection.

Anyhow, the upshot was that Tom discovered some shrubbery next to the building, crawfished his way back to the door and almost bent it out of shape with his furious knocking.

He screeched for help and finally, his misguided guide heard him and opened the door.

Tom scurried inside, white and shaken, grabbed his towel, took another shower, dressed and left that scene.

He was so flustered by the action that he forgot to get after the maintenance man.

It was a full two weeks before he returned to the scene of his greatest embarrassment.

Occasionally The Advocate will get caught off base, like Tom, but hopefully will never suffer the exposure that was his.