As I sift through the fodder of my life, I could find many uncomfortable wine moments to share, but can also pluck the very most embarrassing from my feathery brain with the greatest of ease. It came long before I was ever even legal drinking age… and actually didn’t involve getting drunk at all, or puking. In fact, my most embarrassing wine moment occurred in Catholic Church!
Picture me, all alone in my pew, a nice Jewish girl, attending my Catholic bff’s confirmation ceremony and my first ever Sunday morning Mass. A magical moment occurred in the mysterious service and like a well-rehearsed, choreographed dance, I watched everyone rise in unison, forming a line in front of the priest. Not wanting to be left sitting there alone, I got up too. Entranced, as I waited my turn for the treasure the robed man was about to bestow upon me, I didn’t notice my friend’s family frantically waving me back, desperately trying to warn me to get out of line. Mesmerized by the moment, I hypnotically watched the others in line before me make strange motions with their arms, moving them rhythmically across their bodies. When it was my turn in front of the priest, I tried to mimic those gestures (I didn’t want to look stupid) and the priest said something about the blood and the body of Christ… but I didn’t hear him. Simultaneously, I saw his hands coming at me with food and, like a hungry baby bird, I reflexively opened my mouth to receive a very dry wafer on my parched tongue. Then I was handed a tiny cup of wine, which was great, because I was really thirsty and all I really needed was something to wash down that tasteless cracker (endless cookies and wine at Temple were so much better!). After finding my way back to my seat, I noticed the glaring eyes I was receiving from my friend’s family (and the snickers from her brothers) and realized I must done something terribly wrong, but I still didn’t know what embarrassment awaited me.
After the service, the large extended family (and I) set off for TGI Fridays to celebrate my friend… and apparently humiliate me some more. As if I wasn’t embarrassed enough already; a rather boisterous conversation ensued (loud enough for the whole restaurant AND the bank next door to hear) about whether the priest needed to be contacted and a special prayer said for the JEWISH girl who accidently (and rather embarrassingly now) ate the body of Christ and then symbolically drank his blood in wine. Completely mortified, and feeling like the Jew who killed Jesus, I wished I could have hid under my order of stuffed potato skins. It might have scared me off wine completely—if not for all those Passover Manishevitz drunkfests to come! Who would have thought, Manishevitz to the rescue? (Admitting I once drank Manishevitz… perhaps my next most embarrassing wine moment.)