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First impressions are often the worst

First impressions are a nightmare for me. The harder I try to make good impressions, the deeper the trouble I seem to get into.

My first impression nightmare started when I was 18. I was set up on a blind date. We went to a movie. Waiting for the movie to start, I noticed a thread on the back of my date's head. I thought I would remove it.

My ring got caught in the thread, and when I went to lift the thread up I found his toupee in the palm of my hand. I screamed, which made everyone turn around and look. My date ended and I never saw that guy or his hair again.

Another first impression nightmare came just after I began working. My co-workers invited me to join them for dinner. We all ordered a shrimp cocktail.

I mentioned I had never had a shrimp cocktail before and did not know what one was. They found this to be a great opportunity to inform me that the shrimp are still alive and that is why they clutch to the rim of the cup. They told me the sauce used for dunking was an "anesthetic" that knocked the shrimp out so you could eat them.

When they served the shrimp, I knocked mine into the sauce. After a considerably long time, I took one out and bit into it. It didn't seem to "talk back," so I continued eating them. When I got home I told my mother my experience. She laughed and let me in on the truth. That story followed me for the next 37 years of my working career.

Nothing is more important than that first good impression with your newly acquired stepchildren. The first time the children came to visit, we went out to dinner and were seated in the last booth of the restaurant.

During dinner I excused myself to go to the ladies' room. Assuming the seat continued across the entire back wall, I slid across to get up -- and found myself sitting on the floor. The seat had ended and down I went. As I looked up into these three faces looking down at me, I could hear them thinking, "This is going to be our stepmother?"

My worst impression nightmare happened when I went to the wake of my friend's brother. When I arrived I met a woman I had worked with years earlier. I greeted her and told her how wonderfully happy she looked, how retirement had certainly agreed with her. I told her I had never seen her look so happy -- so happy that she glowed with happiness.

When I went to pay my respects at the casket, I noticed the last name was the same last name as this woman's. I asked my friend if they were related. She said, "Of course, she was his wife."

I snuck out the first door I could find and fortunately have never seen her since.

I thought my first impression nightmares were over until the other night. I was invited out to dinner to celebrate a friend's birthday. It was the first time I was meeting her grandchildren.

After dinner, a birthday cake was brought out. Thinking I would help, I offered to cut the cake. But when I went to put the first piece on the plate it began to fall off. I am not quite sure what happened next, but the outcome was the cake and plate went flying up in the air and dropped on the floor -- cake first.

I write this so that you might be warned for the future. If our paths cross, I cannot guarantee what I will do the first time we meet.

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