I think when we show off we risk exposing a part of ourselves no one wants to see.
What is it about showing off that is so irresistible. that even though we know, in more cases then not, it will end badly, well still have to go ahead and do it? We are so convinced that we have a talent or an ability that sets us a little bit apart from the rest of humanity, but instead of being satisfied with that knowledge and keep it to ourselves, we conclude it is our duty to let the rest of humanity know. Is it pride?
The saying is: “pride comes before the fall”. My Dad tells the story how his brother-in-law was visiting and decided to show off by helping serve Sunday dinner. Instead of just bringing in the plate and laying it in front of the hungry dinner guests, he decided to show off. He entered the dining room with my great-grandfather’s dinner balanced on the palm of his hand high over his head like some fancy waiter. He may have even been talking with a mock French accent. “Bon Appetite.” You know this has to end with Sunday dinner all over my Great-Grandfather, who, I should mention, was not known for his sense of humour.
If we show off, we will be made to pay.
Let’s look at a bum. (No, not the pan-handling, street-person type, I mean the actually physical body part.) For the majority of cases a bum is covered by three thin layers of material. The first layer is made up of the material composing our underwear (thongs excluded). The second layer is that of the pants; a layer that varies in thickness dependant upon the material our pants are made of. The third and usually final layer covering our bums is made up of the material used in our back pockets. Just checking my jeans now with a ruler, I would surmise that on average our bums are normally covered with approximately 3/16th of an inch of material.
That’s not a lot of material, but, it is enough to make one pay for showing off.
When I was younger, believe it or not, I was rather spry. I was always jumping things, vaulting fences and tumbling (sometimes intentionally). So twenty years ago, while attending Bible College I made a spur of the moment decision to show off my ability to be spry. The basement of the school contained the student lounge and having some free time before our next class a group of us headed downstairs to lounge in the lounge. At the base of the stairwell was a large set of double doors that someone had just passed through ahead of us.
The door was in the process of swinging shut.
Having recently seen the movie, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” I had the sudden urge to show off and do my best impression of Indiana Jones. I darted for the closing door and tried to step through before it slammed shut.
I made it!
I had shown off, impressed my friends and felt great as the door slammed shut behind me.
I was proud!
For 3/16th of a second.
You know how people avoid a car accident by the paint on their vehicle or miss trouble by the skin of their teeth, but you never hear of danger missed by the width of a back pocket? As the door closed, the back pocket of my dress pants hooked into the corner of the push bar handle that protruded out the front of the door, which meant as I stepped away, one of three things had to happen. One, I would come to a complete and sudden stop. Two, I would continue my forward momentum and rip the large door off its hinges. Or three; something else would give away. That thing turned out to be my back pocket.
Not only did my pocket rip off, it took a large triangle flap of the seat of my pants with it. The whole thing hung down exposing my rear right flank, leaving me with just a single sixteenth of an inch of dignity in the form of my light blue cotton briefs. The friends I sought to impress howled with laughter. I had to change my pants before class, but I was not finished being made to pay for my pride.
I was living off campus that year and my room was a ten minute walk along one of the city’s main thoroughfares. To reach is with some semblance of dignity I kept to the backyards, dashing through people’s property, vaulting a lot of fences, outrunning one snarling dog; the entire time the Indiana Jones theme music was ringing in my head. Here I was showing off a true test of my abilities of being spry and there was no one to watch and be impressed, save for one little white-haired old lady hanging out laundry. My face reddened as I jumped a low wire fence, and as I ran quickly to the next yard, glancing for an instant over my shoulder, I am sure I saw her smile.
Yes, if we show off, we truly will be made to pay.