Shockingly, I’m dealing with a "magic baby sock," leading to my most embarrassing moment with an important politician.
In the sitcom, Kramer and Newman were walking out of Shea as Keith Hernandez -- who booted a ball and cost the Mets the game -- walked by.
Newman sneered, "Nice game, pretty boy!" toward Hernandez, who allegedly spit at the pair, with the loogie bouncing off Kramer and hitting Newman in several places, all captured on Zapruder-like footage.
It's hard to picture Keith doing this. After all, no loogie was fired at my grandmother when she accidentally stabbed him in the belly with a broomstick in a Florida Publix supermarket.
But I digress.
Michigan’s governor was in town Friday to speak at a conference and my journalism students were assigned to join others from the university in covering her address.
I work with the nice folks in the governor’s communications office from time to time, contacted them to learn the topic of the speech and told them about my new class.
And I was thrilled when they said that since my class was small, they’d try to work out something where the governor could meet the students before or after her talk.
And sure enough, we met the staff outside a conference room before the speech,. The governor graciously came out and shook hands with each of the students and asked them about their classes. Out of the 50 students from the university attending the event, only my five had this opportunity.
I was beaming and thinking how I would accept my "Coolest Adjunct Instructor — Ever!" award.
Then it happened.
The governor asked the students if they would like to pose for some photos. I was standing off to the side, holding my packet from the conference.
I reached into my coat pocket and pulled out my camera.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something small and white flutter down and land at the feet of the governor.
I pretended I didn’t see it.
I was the only one who did that.
In fact, everyone else took a step back. Except for the state police trooper assigned to protect the governor. I think he took a step forward.
My mind raced. Did I just throw a snotty tissue at Michigan’s governor? I didn’t want to look down.
But look I did. And rolled up in a ball a foot from the governor was not a snotty tissue, but a baby’s sock. I was relieved because it could not have come from me. It must have been there all along.
But then the governor bent down and picked it up as her press staff stepped in closer.
"Looks like you dropped a sock," she said.
"It can’t be from me, my youngest is in fifth grade," I said. I’m sure I was beet red.
"Well, it’s not from me, I have no kids," said the staffer closest to this unfolding disaster.
The governor kind of made a face and handed it to the staffer.
"Maybe it came from my conference packet," I offered.
I wanted to run and hide. But I’m fairly certain that had I started running, the state trooper would have given chase, body slammed me, maybe used pepper spray just because he could. Then he would have dragged me down the stairs and off to jail where I’d be sitting next to thugs who would immediately move away from me after asking, "What are you in for?" and me replying "I threw a baby sock at the governor."
Luckily, she moved to distance herself from the growing sock-tossing incident and said something like, "Well, let’s take some pictures!"
My mind now thought what the "Most Embarrassing Adjunct Instructor — Ever!" award looked like.
The governor posed with all the kids, and then insisted that I join them for a shot, which was kind considering that I was just accused of throwing infant hosiery her way.
There were only three places this sock could have come from: The conference packet, my coat pocket, or Derek F. Jeter hiding behind a plant.
There would be no reason for it to be in the packet, which was pretty flat except for the name tag inside, and it’s not like I was holding it upside down spilling the contents.
But there is equally no reason for it to be in my coat pocket. My youngest is 10 and her socks are much bigger.
I was around an infant a couple weeks ago in church, but I wear that coat often and load my pockets down with the cell phone, iPod and wallet. Certainly I would have found a sock in there before.
When in doubt, I tend to balme Derek F. Jeter for my woes. Yeah, irate over the Johan Santana trade, bleeping Jeter snuck into the hotel, hid behind a plant and tossed a sock out there to spoil my moment of glory.
Alas, we know Jeter can't move that fast.
So the only thing that makes sense is that this is a "magic sock" that materialized out of thin air near my coat pocket and for reasons unknown to us mortals, decided to heave itself at the foot of Michigan’s governor.
Doesn’t seem plausible. But then, neither do the other scenarios.
The students actually didn’t seem too horrified, and now had something to tease me about. There’s a chance "sockgate" might be mentioned in the next edition of the university newspaper.
Apparently the governor wasn’t too upset. I sent a thank you e-mail to the staffer and got this reply: "You are most welcome and do be sure to let us know the origin of that sock!! Talk to you soon."
Sadly, this isn’t my first embarrassing moment with an important politico this new year. The other would be the "Mitt Romney Cell Phone Debacle," but we’ll save that for another day.