Memos from the Middle

Smack-Dab in the Middle of Motherhood

Eating Humble Pie (or Crow) Like a Lady

I was wrong once many years ago on the night of a full moon (yes, I know, gross understatement). The details aren’t really important, but what is important is how I learned to handle being wrong. It’s not easy, especially when everyone in your little world, or at least those who matter, know exactly how wrong you have been. Worse still is when you’ve touted your own physical, intellectual, or spiritual prowess in such a way as to demean, offend, or invalidate those around you. It’s at these times when your crow eating becomes a spectator sport, and no one (and I mean NO ONE) will save you from bite after wretched bite of humility with a large side of embarrassment.

It’s not the end of the world, though. You can and will recover, but the speed at which you do depends on how much humble pie or crow eating etiquette you possess. Because I’ve had heaping, gut wrenching chunks of the stuff myself over the years (you would think I would know better by now), I’ve decided to divulge my secrets to less invasive forays into compelled modesties.

  1. Get some fancy flatware: If your mouth (like mine) has written a few checks your behind can’t cash, go ahead and invest in the good stuff. You may have to admit that you were wrong, but you don’t have to look like a hobo while you do it. When you go to fancy restaurants, you eat teeny bites really slowly with cute little spoons and forks, and you fill up faster. Remember this the next time you swear you can beat your husband at a game of basketball on a real court with a real ball. He may have put on a few pounds, but the fact that he was all-conference and MVP 12 years ago still might overshadow your “expertise” now that you’ve finally mastered NBA Live 2009. Have some pride, and put on a brave face. You don’t have to look like your on the losing end, even if you are.
  2. Eat by yourself: Man Woman up! Even if others contributed to your overinflated sense of rightness, take the hit like a woman. Chances are you’ve born children, and for all the “I’m with you, honey” messages you hear, you and I both know that although he may have contributed, he for darn sure isn’t up on that table, spread-eagled, and screaming. It’s all you! It worked out then, and it’ll work out now. Plus, it isn’t your job to drag down everyone else. Karma has a way of doing that for you. They’ll have their turns with their just desserts. Right now, you have to concentrate on your own meal.

    How big should your crow portion be? (from

  3. Eat a portion size (no more): You don’t literally have to be a glutton for punishment. You’ve made a mistake. Sure. Eat your share and back away from the table. You don’t have to apologize for the next twenty years for scratching the paint on your mother-in-laws Benz as you backed out unsuccessfully from the Piggly-Wiggly parking lot. She’ll get over it sooner or later, but if you keep kowtowing pitifully at family functions for a mistake you made with a car she no longer owns, you’ll be her puppet for years to come. Remember, though, that the egregiousness of your error may dictate more than you are used to eating. If this is the case, take those few extra bites and trash the rest.
  4. Tip the waiter:It may be hard for you to admit your faults, sliding up to the table, taking a bite of that humble pie, but chances are, it was just as hard (if not harder) for that friend, relative, or co-worker to inform you of your mistake. If you’ve been particularly annoying, he may have taken great pleasure in serving you, but that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that a lady should always show appreciation, even when the “gift” of humility wasn’t exactly desired. When I was a child, I had an aunt who insisted on giving me her daughter’s old underwear. For whatever reason, the panties were black satin with red ruffles across the back. They were hideously inappropriate (for a variety of reasons), but my mother made me send thank-you notes expressing my “gratitude.” I can’t express to you how much I agonized over what exactly to say in those notes, but suffice it to say that I learned saying thank-you was important regardless of whether I planned on using the “gift” myself.

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8 thoughts on “Eating Humble Pie (or Crow) Like a Lady

  1. I love it! This is great.

  2. Anonymous on said:

    Both hilarious and insightful Marilyn. I love the tone. “My sister-in-law is a writer.” Yep that definitely has a nice ring to it …. lol. Looking forward to reading more! Keep up the great work!

  3. Hey Marilyn,

    Congratulations. I’ve just nominated you for the blogger Sunshine Award, yay! Now quickly doll up yourself and do the needful.

    You deserve it, lady.

    Much love,

    Neha XX

  4. LOL, very good! And ya gotta remember: if you choke it back up while eating crow – they’ll just make you eat another! Thanks for the good start to my morning!

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