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A creative blog by Jim Kalin on The Whole 9

Novelist Jim Kalin lives in Los Angeles, writes a monthly column for Amateur Wrestling News, and has traded in his speargun for a banjo. His wife and son sing harmony.


I wear a size 11 shoe, although it gets boosted to size 12 when I buy cowboy boots. I’ve had those size 11’s pressed against my tongue too many times, and it’s been a perfect fit.

I’ve experienced two instances of foot-in-mouth that were showstoppers, where even before I was finished blurting stupidities, the room had gone tornado quiet. And both times were coincidentally at Thanksgiving Day gatherings.

The first was at the home of Janelle Malone’s parents. Janelle was a regular on the award-winning TV show ‘The West Wing.’ This was a large gathering of friends and family, which meant there was no shortage of witnesses.

Now, I’m not denying that what I spouted didn’t contain some truth, but it just wasn’t the time or place to do it. The conversation was about Hollywood, and maybe (most likely) the Cabernet Sauvignon prodded and prompted me, but I listened intently until a lull occurred, then jumped in with both feet, and proclaimed that producers were Hollywood’s maggots, bloodsuckers who really wanted to be actors, directors, and even writers for God’s sake, but that they just lacked the talent.

Nobody answered, although Janelle’s uncle left the room quickly. Then my girlfriend at the time leaned over, hissed at me that the uncle was a producer, then got up like I was some bad stink, and moved away to sit someplace else.

Another slice of pumpkin pie, please.

The other time was at a Turkey Day gathering of musicians. Halfway through dinner, a small group of ragomuffin kids in their early twenties arrived. Introductions were made, they grabbed plates, and several conversations sprouted around the table. I was involved in a dialogue that was less than interesting, so when I heard the host talking at the opposite end of the long table about the band Little Feat, I decided to focus my attention there.

Now, I’ve never owned a Little Feat record, but I did like that song ‘Willin.’ So, I had to yell across the table that Little Feat pretty much sucked except for that one song, and that I never understood what the big deal was with that band. Again, everyone went quiet. Then, one of the ragomuffins, a kind of shy-seeming kid, told me that his father was Lowell George, one of Little Feat’s founders. The host confirmed this by slowly nodding at me.

Yep, and what else ya’ got for dessert?

So, admit it; these two examples are tough to top. But if you can, let’s hear about your worst moment.


  1. The gift of our witty quick return comes with the downside of foot in the mouth disease. Fortunately mine is a little smaller at 10 1/2.

  2. These are hilarious only because you are (usually) so very kind! My size ten’s fit well in mouth, so much so, the events are too many to name!

  3. Amen… I suffer horribly from Type 3 Foot In Mouth Syndrome myself… LOL!

  4. I’d say my most laugh out loud moment was in front of one of my previous gf’s friends who was what we would call a “slut” by cruder terms. Anyways she was bragging about this new boyfriend she had and comparing him to how he was better than the previous boyfriends she had while we were out to dinner and I blurted out… MY GOD who HAVEN’T you fucked?… While I was wiping my mouth with my napkin I could feel the sharp stares of everyone at the table and looked up to find and finally realize that hadn’t thunk it at all…

  5. Grool…wish I’d been at a nearby table to have heard that one. Too damn funny…I can see their faces, or imagine them at least.

    My size 10’s fit nicely between by teeth with jaw open. Senior year in HS. End of year…a few weeks to go before graduation. Final term paper due in English. I was the quiet studious type, never muttered much of anything that could be heard. Our Lit teacher had been nagging us for a very long time at this point…all I could hear was Charlie Brown’s teacher “wha..wha…wha, wha wha wha”…white noise at a piercing pitch. Near the end of her rant I managed to decipher “and you better put the books up where the belong…!!”…suddenly from the back of the room; “Yeah…I KNOW WHERE I’D LIKE TO PUT ‘EM!!”. The place froze, and all heads turned to face the back where I was seated. I looked at everyone staring at me and realized at that moment it had come from my mouth. In the two seconds that followed I imagined not graduating, being sent back a grade, punished, fined, sued and imprisoned…I guess I could have claimed ‘turrets’…nah. The teacher leaned out and looked me in the eye and said in a steely, quiet growl “yeah, well Mark, I know where I’d like to put ‘em too…”. Phew. I could at least claim she had her shot. I got to graduate…but made a C+ on the term paper…thought I deserved an A. My stock shot up among my peers though…guess that was worth it.

  6. Yeah… not my most graceful conversational moment. :)

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