Q: My husband slipped while pouring wine for our dinner guests and spilled all over himself. Any good way to handle this? A: Readers often ask...

Share story

Q: My husband slipped while pouring wine for our dinner guests and spilled all over himself. Any good way to handle this?

A: Readers often ask what to do when their entertaining plans go awry. A good example comes to us from — of all places — a Seattle Mariners game.

Not long ago, during a game between the Mariners and the Chicago White Sox, Eduardo Perez fell. Not only did he fall, but he fell flat on his face. Right after hitting a ground ball, about 15 feet from the batter’s box. It was a classic “face plant.”

Mr. Perez was thrown out by 70 feet.

What hit home with me was not the flop but the recovery by Mr. Perez.

The man got up, dusted himself off, bowed to the crowd and both dugouts, waved his cap in the direction of the bullpens and walked off the field, composed and smiling.

Mr. Perez exhibited more grace in his recovery than he exhibited gracelessness in tripping over his own feet.

This classy recovery was a metaphor for all of our lives. After all, none of us is perfect. We do fall flat on our faces, at times in the presence of guests.

Don’t seek to pin the blame for the mishap on others, don’t take yourself too seriously, never lose your sense of humor.

Turn the event into something positive. That way, if others must laugh, and more often than not they will, they will laugh with us and not at us.

Your get-together will be remembered for the secure and confident way you handled your gaffe, and for the camaraderie it created.

Mary Mitchell is a Seattle-based corporate trainer and author of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Etiquette.” E-mail questions to Mary@themitchell.org. Sorry, no personal replies.