The Price of Humiliation

The pickled tentacle suctioned its way across the table, spraying caviar with every movement.

The restaurant was silent.

I chased the tentacle with my chopsticks and hoped a large hole would open under my chair.

Did you know that pickling squid makes them elastic enough to move on their own? Especially if you are terrible with chopsticks?

I remember that moment often.

It is a funny story now, but I remember the deep helplessness and humiliation.

I remember the knowledge that not a single person was going to help me avoid that embarrassment.

This is a mild humiliation, one that I laugh at often. There are other humiliations less mild, less easy to find the humour.

I remember this when I am writing.

There is a lens through which we view humiliation in a story. One of the fastest ways to make me put aside a story is to tell me one too many tale where I am meant to laugh at someone else’s humiliation.

There is a difference between relieving the sting of a harmful memory and laughing at another’s pain or embarrassment.

I remember this.

I cannot promise my characters a story free of embarrassment or pain.

I can promise that the sharing will respect the moment and respect them.

I caught the tentacle.

It tasted like a story.

 

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