Is there ever a good time to open your mouth and say something so totally wrong that it quite takes away your standing as 'literary brain of the village' or some such title?
The answer to that is probably no, although I would imagine there are better times than others to open mouth before fully engaging brain, as Stuck in a Book shows on his last post.
I too, have had more than my fair share of brain freezes, although thankfully I can't remember most of them, and even more thankfully, friends from Uni don't read this blog, so can't post on the comments to remind me (and the world) of them.
However, in honour of Simon's escapade I will share two of my most embarrassing moments.
Firstly: Picture if you will a classroom. A level English, and me up front because I worship the ground my teacher walks on (we're good friends now actually, but that's beside the point). One day, during a routine class, she quotes a famous bit of Shakespeare, and asks what its from. My hand shoots up, and when asked for the answer, I say with COMPLETE assurance, because no way can I have got this wrong - 'All's Well That Ends Well'
Cue withering glance from favourite teacher, and the question goes to someone else. Turns out it was 'As You Like It' - which we'd JUST been talking about.
Secondly: Later in life (but not much) during first class in second semester of first year, our tutor decides to ask us why we've chosen to do this subject (English and American Literature) and forbids us to say 'uuuh, it's cos I like books'. I have my answer all prepared, and launch into long story about how on Christmas eve our family have a tradition of getting a book from the tree. 'Dad' I say blithely 'puts the tree under the books ...' and thus seal my fate in the eyes of this particular tutor that I am a blithering idiot and not worth the paper I write my essays on. He later (in third year) gives me thirds for every piece of work I do in an entire semester, which means I get a 2:2 instead of a 2:1. Bah!
I am sure there are other moments when my brain has failed me from appearing knowledgeable and University worthy, but like I said, I can't remember them ... and I rather hope it stays that way!