Question of the Month: Foolish

by Susan Henderson on November 3, 2008

Tell me about a time you felt foolish. Where were you, and what happened?

litpark little green hand henderson

I was looking through my scrap book for a picture of anyone looking embarrassed, and came across this one of little Green-Hand, looking more coy than anything else, but I’m so in love with the photo (and the boy), I had to post it.


Wednesday, my amazing agent, Dan Conaway, is back for Part 2 of our interview. He has a great story of participating in a major conference while wearing a disguise. And all I have to say is, You do not want to miss this story or the rest of the interview. See you then!

(And don’t forget to vote on Tuesday, Nov. 4th. If you don’t know where your polling place is, click here. Bring your driver’s license or a recent bill or your voter registration card. Do not wear any button or t-shirt or anything else that will get you accused of electioneering. But do go early and bring along any of your friends who plan to vote for Obama.)


Oh. Last thing. Here’s a photo (thanks to Kimberly) from my day helping with the Sony Reader marathon:

litpark susan henderson window sony reader

And now I’m taking Thera-Flu and should be out for hours.

{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

djtuffpuppy November 2, 2008 at 11:16 pm

My cousin and I were in San Fransisco. She is a year or so younger then me. A blonde, skinny little thing. Her and I wanted to go to a drag show, so we did. Her mistake was matching me drink-per-drink not knowing that I could hold my liquor well. Anyway, her and I got really drunk. We also made the mistake of sitting front row and center at the show. Halfway through the show the audience participation part started and before I knew what was happening, my cousin had volunteered me to go up on stage, dawn a wig, and sing “I Will Survive”. Needless to say, I didn’t win the competition (Drag Idol) but I placed second and first place was an actual female, so in my mind I did win.

Also, later on I may of kissed the drag queen who was hosting the show. I’m a little more fuzzy on the details at the part of the night.


Nathalie November 3, 2008 at 5:44 am

I feel foolish often enough, I’d have a hard time picking up a special moment…
Although going for NaNoWriMo this year does feel actually like it might qualify. Ouch.


Ric November 3, 2008 at 8:40 am

Years back, when I had gained some notoriety as a regional columnist, I found myself in a printer’s private office. He was busy on the phone so I started reading some of the many newspaper columns on the walls. They were all written by Jim Fitzgerald – our own local boy made good – he was writing for the Detroit Free Press at the time.
When the printer got off the phone, he asked, “Do you like Fitz? He writes stuff like yours.”
“Oh, yes,” I said. “But these days I only read until I get to the name, Emily. I can’t stand people obsessing about their perfect grandkids.”
There was a long, long pause.
“How come you have all these columns up here?” I asked.
“He’s my father-in-law.”

We did go on to have a good working relationship and he didn’t hold it against me for dissing his daughter. But it ranks up there among my most foolish moments.


Kimberly November 3, 2008 at 9:21 am

There probably isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t feel foolish.

I should audition for Cirque du Soleil, because I can easily stick my whole leg – not just my foot – in my mouth.

Just this past Friday, I saw someone with whom I had worked several years back and he mentioned the time we went on a date to see the film “Wag the Dog.”

“That was a date??????” I said, aloud. “Funny, I remember the movie…”



SusanHenderson November 3, 2008 at 10:03 am

I really want to hear you sing I Will Survive. My favorite dance club in DC (Tracks, anyone?) had a decent number of drag queens, but I’ve never been to a “drag show.” What happens at one?


SusanHenderson November 3, 2008 at 10:04 am

I was going to ask you if you were doing NaNoWriMo again this year. I thought about it, but I’m still too wiped from my edits. Next year, though, absolutely!


SusanHenderson November 3, 2008 at 10:05 am



SusanHenderson November 3, 2008 at 10:07 am

I once got invited to a club by a friend of mine (this was before I was married), and I invited Mr. H along. Halfway through the evening, Mr. H pulled me aside and asked if I realized the other guy had intended to invite me on a date. I had no idea!


Nathalie November 3, 2008 at 11:47 am

That sounds VERY familiar…


EkEkEkEk07 November 3, 2008 at 1:36 pm

a few years ago, i did a play and one of my props was a bicycle reflector that i wore on the back of my jacket. i misplaced it before before the final dress rehearsal. the director told me to find it and the entire cast and crew searched the theatre for my prop. finally, the director said, “forget it, we’re already a half hour late. find it later.” i went outside during intermission, dug in my pocket for a lighter and found my bike reflector.



SusanHenderson November 3, 2008 at 2:16 pm

Is today’s question too hard? Or, like me, are folks so utterly distracted by this huge and historic election that you can’t do much more than wait to vote?


SusanHenderson November 3, 2008 at 2:20 pm

Are you still involved in theatre?

This reminds me – around Halloween, Mr. H went to an event at the university where he’s a professor, and he dressed in a leather jacket with zip off sleeves, bandana on his leg, just over the knee, other classic 80’s stuff – but his students didn’t have any idea what he was dressed up as – so he just sat there, feeling dumb.


aimeepalooza November 3, 2008 at 2:33 pm

I am totally distracted. But I am thinking.


SusanHenderson November 3, 2008 at 3:51 pm

Hey, Tom Jackson, if you’re around, you want to preview the Stillers-Skins Monday night game?

Most of you know I’m a huge Steelers fan, but Jackson knows my all-time favorite player is Redskin Darrell Green…


ThomasAJackson November 3, 2008 at 7:07 pm

Ah, yes, Darrell Green, the legendary “Fastest Man in the NFL” well into his, well, late 50s or early 60s. And, better still, an outstanding cover corner.

Tonight’s game: The Jim Zorn-led ‘Skins are a huge surprise this year (it’s funny how whenever the Redskins are expected to suck, they make the playoffs), looking strong in what looked to be the toughest division in the NFC. (“Looked to be” only because the Cowboys, expected to be world-beaters, are playing lately the way the ‘Skins were supposed to.)

Key guys to watch: RB Clinton Portis, who is showing unequivocably that his great seasons with the Broncos weren’t just “Bronco RB syndrome” (I fully believe that you, Sue, could rush for a grand behind the Broncos’ line — but only after you get that knee surgery!); and the Redskins’ corners against the Steelers’ WRs.

Steelers: Only the undefeated Titans are a better team so far this year, I think. Steelers outstanding run D (only one 100-yard rusher against them this year) needs to shut Portis down early, and the sometimes suspect O-line has to keep Ben safe. Ball control is key, building a lead is vital to take Portis and the ‘Skins’ ground game out of it by the fourth quarter.

They do that and everything is peachy. Prediction: Steelers 24-10


djtuffpuppy November 3, 2008 at 9:22 pm

Basically the audience gets drunk while the draq queen MC makes fun of the audience and lip sings to popular and ironic songs like “Man I Feel Like a Woman”.


jodyreale November 3, 2008 at 11:03 pm

So first off, I feel foolish because I just heard of electioneering, um, just right now. I guess since I’ve never been a political tee-shirty kind of gal, it’s never been an issue. But now that I know about it, I’m definitely going to keep voting by mail, under the cover of darkness, wearing a burlap sack, just to be sure.

Otherwise, I feel foolish almost daily. Today I sent my daughter to preschool with pink eye and didn’t notice. Whoops. When I attend networking events, I forget that I’ve left my name tag on, and show up at Wendy’s later with it on. When the person taking my order says, “Hi Jody,” I figure he’s a stalker and I sprint back to my car, where I use the drive-thru instead.

I feel foolish pretty much daily, mostly while I’m writing. “Is this what I’m supposed to be doing?” I wonder. “Writing kooky little stories about how my 4 year old daughter asked me once if she could be my husband when she grew up? About how neutered dogs probably still lick their missing bits because of some phantom itch?” And I really don’t know the answer, if there even is one. But it doesn’t sound like anything a literary agent is going to be able to help me with. Maybe next month you could introduce us to your therapist.


aimeepalooza November 4, 2008 at 2:50 am

We had a couple at work who were regulars. They were getting married and hadn’t been in for a long time. We though it was all the wedding planning, the wedding, and the honeymoon. When they came back in the woman had lost tons of weight. So our bartender said, “Wow, you look great. You lost a lot of weight.” I nodded and agreed. She looked at us and said, “Oh, must have been the cancer.”


aimeepalooza November 4, 2008 at 2:52 am

If your stories are as funny as this post, I’d love to read them! The whole stalker thing, something I’d totally do.


jodyreale November 4, 2008 at 4:18 am

Oh yeah, and further, I’m going to start a band called The Electioneers. If you’d ever heard me play my guitar, you’d realize how foolish this is.


jodyreale November 4, 2008 at 4:23 am



Kimberly November 4, 2008 at 6:19 am


(Is it a bad thing that I can’t stop laughing?)


Kimberly November 4, 2008 at 6:26 am

Heh heh.


SusanHenderson November 4, 2008 at 8:55 am

Voted this morning and feel very hopeful about the day and about the future!!


SusanHenderson November 4, 2008 at 8:59 am

That sounds fun! The closest to that kind of intrepid/expectant audience participation I’ve ever been to …. state fairs in Montana and wondering if the hypnotist will call me to the stage and make me do something I’d never do in public.


SusanHenderson November 4, 2008 at 9:02 am

Whoa, GOOD call on the score, but I bet you didn’t guess it would play out in such a strange way. I thought Leftwich just came out and owned that position.

Quiz for you. Who do you think I love most – not personality-wise, but playing style:
a. Ward
b. Polamalu
c. Harrison


SusanHenderson November 4, 2008 at 9:04 am

Okay. Jody. Are you writing a book? Because I want to read a whole book like this.


SusanHenderson November 4, 2008 at 9:05 am

Oh no! That’s awful, but such a great, punchy line!


jodyreale November 4, 2008 at 9:11 am

That is super good news, because yes, I’m working on an essay collection just like it.


Carolyn_Burns_Bass November 4, 2008 at 10:19 am

I want to be president of the Jody Reale fan club.


Carolyn_Burns_Bass November 4, 2008 at 10:30 am

I once spotted a rock star I adored at a very public and crowded place. He had taken great pains to disguise himself so he could be just an ordinary guy. I stalked him for a while, trying to get the nerve to talk to him. When I finally tapped him on the shoulder, he turned around and acted rather miffed like I was going to blow his cover. I was both star-struck and turned off by his demeanor (can you blame him?) that I just about swallowed my tongue. The speech I’d practiced while stalking him–not the usual “I’m your biggest fan, can I sleep with you,” but how I thought his music was so important and deep and meaningful, well it got stuck in my throat and all I could do is croak some inane babble that revealed me as the star-struck fan that I was. I felt so foolish–still do after all these years–I will never reveal who he was.


jodyreale November 4, 2008 at 10:44 am

That is so kind of you. And will also come as a great relief to my dog Lou, who has done a great job as fan club president, but who has also expressed an interest in retiring, so that he can get back to his first love: smelling other dogs’ butts.


jodyreale November 4, 2008 at 10:55 am

Come on, no secrets at the park!


SusanHenderson November 4, 2008 at 11:43 am

Let me know when you finish it.

Also: How are things in battleground-Colorado? Did you vote yet?


SusanHenderson November 4, 2008 at 11:45 am

Carolyn, you have to tell!

And someday, I should do a stalking quiz.


SusanHenderson November 4, 2008 at 11:49 am

P.S. You should consider entering this contest because Tom Perrotta is judging, and he’d be a great fit for blurbing your work.;jsessionid=3F44953A8EE1EE07A3892ADA24F900B8.qscstrfrnt04?categoryId=1&productId=30


lance_reynald November 4, 2008 at 12:11 pm

sadly, I believe Tracks is now Condos.

I’ll be back a bit later to get into the foolishness…

have some PS section stuff to pull together for PS…..eeeeeeeek!

and, though I stay far away from any public discourse on our beloved Beltway backgrounds I guess anyone could read between the lines over at Myspace. (methinks this link is gonna be ridiculously long and ugly, I’m a bit out of practice on the cyber-saavy)
off to rewrite my bio and all things Pop!


Carolyn_Burns_Bass November 4, 2008 at 12:27 pm

Nope. I’m sure everyone at the Park has secrets. Maybe you should do a “Post Secret” question of the month.


marilynpeake November 4, 2008 at 1:41 pm

Hi, Susan,

This election is very exciting. Yesterday, I had the most amazing experience. I won’t name the presidential candidate, so that the discussion won’t turn political; but I attended an amazing rally at which there were over 80,000 people. Gates opened five hours before the event started, six hours before the presidential candidate appeared, and people lined up hours before the gates even opened. We were right up front, shook hands and took photographs. We met people from lots of different places, even an intern from Canada who’s studying U.S. politics. It was an amazing, amazing experience!


jodyreale November 4, 2008 at 2:30 pm

I have voted, and in fact, made my own sticker for the other civic duty. You can find it at today’s blog post:


jodyreale November 4, 2008 at 2:33 pm

Oh, heavens, the idea of Perrotta blurbing me makes me, as the cigarette folks say, “Alive with pleasure.”


aimeepalooza November 4, 2008 at 3:00 pm

me too!!!!!


Laura_Benedict November 4, 2008 at 3:41 pm

So a couple of weeks ago I was making dinner and I put my hand to my back to realize that I had a long, silky soft tail coming out of the top of my jeans. That morning I had put on a beige silk teddy that I had from way back in the day–it really didn’t fit anymore (uh, two kids), but I kept it because the top half makes a really cute camisole. Of course, I couldn’t snap the teddy anymore and so had just tucked the ends into my jeans (so I thought…). Before making dinner, I went to the soccer park to pick up Bengal–Yes, I twice crossed three entire soccer fields thinking I looked pretty spiffy in my jeans and sunglasses and puffy down vest, smiling at all the soccer coach dads, feeling just fine. All the while, my underwear was hanging out of the back of my pants!

Think that was bad? Before my little number at the soccer field, I had a long conversation with our twenty year-old lawn guy on our front porch. And walked ahead of him as I went to my car…..


jodyreale November 4, 2008 at 5:11 pm

Oh, that’s a keeper.


lance_reynald November 4, 2008 at 5:48 pm

can you guys on the East coast hurry up and close your polls so we can call this thing and forget the past 8 years.


ThomasAJackson November 4, 2008 at 6:20 pm

When I’ve felt foolish? How about when I posted my Sue football quiz answer here instead of below, in reply to her actual post?


ThomasAJackson November 4, 2008 at 6:25 pm

OK, my answer was one that came to me immediately, but I’ll drag it out a bit….

I’ll address each one individually before giving you my answer:

Ward: This is a guy who was a low pick and has exceeded all expectations to become perhaps the greatest Steeler receiver in history, and that’s among some heady company. Plays even when he’s hurt, puts up GREAT numbers, blocks like a tight end — if not another tackle. He’s all about team, about winning, no matter what. I know you love this guy, because he’s what the Steelers are all about. But… he’s on offense.

Harrison: You, Sue, are one who LOVES her linebackers. Especially ones with 10 sacks halfway through the season. But he’s just now coming into his own. He might be your favorite soon. But not yet. Besides, as you’ve told me many times before, it’s not about the numbers.

Then there’s Polamalu. Plays safety like a linebacker. Has been All Pro quality since joining the NFL. He’s got the glorious Polynesian name and mane of hair. Yet, he’s all team, sorta like Hines, except on DEFENSE, which is what really makes him your man. Right?


SusanHenderson November 5, 2008 at 8:08 am

Guys, I’ll catch up here and with mail later today. Just letting this amazing moment sink in….


SusanHenderson November 5, 2008 at 2:13 pm

That is so wrong if they turned Tracks into Condos.

I read your blog the other day – I ALWAYS read both of your blogs – and I thought it was perfect.

You have no idea how much I’m looking forward to reading the real-live book and the P.S. section! xo


SusanHenderson November 5, 2008 at 2:15 pm


How are you feeling today? A bunch of us, though we’re ecstatic about the results, are experiencing a weird sort of post-partum depression thing.


SusanHenderson November 5, 2008 at 2:17 pm

HA! I am laughing so hard at how well you know me. First of all, exactly right about Ward. My favorite player will never be on offense, even though, of the three of them, I am pretty sure we’d get along best.

My answer was Harrison. But! YOUR answer about Polamalu changed my mind!


SusanHenderson November 5, 2008 at 2:21 pm



SusanHenderson November 5, 2008 at 2:23 pm

Oh no! That is the best story. I’m just so glad it happened to you and not to me!


marilynpeake November 5, 2008 at 3:38 pm

Yes, we attended the rally in Manassas on Monday night. I really wish I could have made it to the big Chicago rally last night as well, but that would have been very difficult especially considering how tired we were after standing for so many hours on Monday night. On the national news, we heard that there were 90,000 people in the Manassas audience! I know what you mean about the weird sort of post-partum depression thing. I experienced that for a little bit before I looked over the fantastic photographs we took at the rally. I suddenly realized that maybe it felt for a moment like the excitement had suddenly ended, like when a party or wedding is suddenly over after all the months of planning…but today I suddenly realized that many more wonderful things are about to happen, and this is just the beginning. The experience in the crowd was incredible. It was truly wall-to-wall people, with no room to move, for hours and hours, listening to music over the loudspeakers. Someone even had a baby carriage next to us and little kids asleep on the ground. But there was no pushing or shoving or yelling, just an amazing sense of peacefulness, awe, and waiting. It is something I will never forget.


Betsy November 6, 2008 at 10:00 am

Wanted to log in the other day and lost my password and didn’t have time to reset… blah blah blah, the point is, I was part of a super-fun panel on writing about adolescence the other night, part of the Texas Book Festival, and one of the general topics was about how the awkwardness of adolescence plays out in adulthood. We all had examples, and after the panel was over, I essentially embarrassed myself by not recognizing the director of the festival. I took small comfort in the fact that I wasn’t the only one who may have felt foolish that night – I asked one of the other authors from the panel to sign a book for me, and he asked me my name, and I quietly said “Elizabeth” and it wasn’t until he handed back the book that he realized we’d just been on the panel together. We laughed.


SusanHenderson November 6, 2008 at 12:26 pm

I thought that’s the one you were describing. I grew up in Virginia (not the REAL Virginia, as Sarah Palin would say), so I was following everything closely.

I like your idea of looking at the photographs and of thinking that the real excitement is actually what’s ahead!


SusanHenderson November 6, 2008 at 12:28 pm

Hi Betsy! I’ve never had to log in. There must be something I clicked on early on that kept me logged in, which is good, because I’ll be the first person to forget a password.

And your story about having to introduce yourself because the guy failed to notice you were just on a panel with him? That’s exactly why I like you so much.


Betsy November 6, 2008 at 6:12 pm

Aw, thanks, Sue. I like you so much for bringing up subjects like these and seeing 57 comments!
I haven’t had to log in before, for some reason my password just went away… but now it’s back.


SusanHenderson November 6, 2008 at 9:57 pm

xo, cutie!


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