Mr. President, I totally feel your pain. Trying to give yourself a little self-deprecating kick and instead shove your foot right in your mouth.
I have to admit, when you described your bowling skills as “Special Olympics,” I laughed. Then I cringed for you. Because dude, you can NOT say that on television.
However, I understand about the bowling. I dropped a bowling class in college. On the line marked “reason for dropping,” I wrote “my coordination levels do not match up favorably with the skill set required for this class.”
I also understand because I have applied the same “special” description to my pictures from the finish line of the Rock-n-Roll half-marathon last fall. My gorgeous friend Julie enthusiastically grabbed my hand as we crossed together, and suddenly thrust our arms skyward in an joyful gesture.
I, caught off guard by the move, was captured by the race camera in a flailing pose that can only be called awkward if you’re generous about it.
Or, as I have described it, “she looks like my Special Olympics minder helping me understand me the race is over.”
I’ll guess that some of you are laughing at the description. Some of you are deciding I am awful and insensitive.
Some of you are thinking “I really want to see that picture.”
… Uh, no.
I will say, though, that I was making fun of no one but myself when I said it, and I know the President wasn’t either. But sometimes, our mouths have to catch up with our hearts.
The President has been quick to apologize, and in the conversation that has ensued, I’ve found myself re-thinking some of my quips, pledging to work a little harder on erasing hurtful language from my vocabulary.
I hope those political opponents gleeful at his misstep will eventually do the same. Get off your high horse and check the mirror. It makes a great national teaching moment.