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I'm pretty sure that in the years I haven't been here, someone's already used that subject title. But I still thought it would be interesting to have a thread discussing times when we felt we might as well not have any balls (those of us who have them, of course). Times when we just could not man up to the situation, or we just couldn't handle it with dignity. Then you can discuss what you learned about yourself from the experience, and how it might have influenced your life.

I guess I'll start. In my sophomore year in high school, I had gone to a sort of debate trip. I was part of an organization where they train you to create arguments and speak publicly to large audiences. I must say it was a grueling experience. We had sessions every day with the most scrutinizing coaches you could ever meet. Far worse than any football coach I'd met. They KNEW how to demean a person. Anyway, after the training, I was sent off to a competition in another state. We all spent long days and sleepless nights preparing during the week for our big moment in front of a few dozen people, most of which were the competition. Needless to say, I was tired. I was on the brink of passing out. But when you're called up, it's like jumping in an ice cold pool after taking 7 shots of tequila. The chills sober you up, and you have no idea what you're supposed to do. When I get up there... I just bombed. I choked. I couldn't breathe. I got dizzy. I simply fucked it up. That's about as much as I can remember about the incident.

That's not the bad part. Afterwards, I ran off the stage, went into the lunchroom area, and sat with these people I had just met. I'm in tears, and I just couldn't hold them back. They were so worried, they kept asking me, "What happened?" "What's wrong?" I could not bring myself to tell them the truth: That I was crying because I choked in my debate. I felt like such a pussy about that. So instead, in a split second decision, I said, "My grandma died." That was the moment that sealed it. That was the moment I felt like I could not call myself a man for the rest of my life. Not only did I cry over such a stupid thing, I lied about my grandma's death because I was worried of what a group of strangers might think of me.

What I learned from this experience is how screwed up my priorities had been. I learned how susceptible I was to what other people thought of me. I learned how ridiculous it was to let other people convince me of how important they thought something was. And then, believe it or not, I saw Fight Club for the first time that very night. That day was the turning point of my life. I don't think I've shed a tear since.

Now, could someone please tell me a story? I'm sure the people on this site are, and have always been, a lot stronger than me. But still. I just thought this would be interesting.