That was me, in the nanosecond before I fell flat on my face at work last week. I tripped over a student who was sitting on the library floor, watching a movie. All flailing arms and legs, my right hand and knee made a solid impact with the floor, slid across the industrial-grade carpet, and it was over. Only it WASN’T over. Everyone who saw what happened rushed over and proceeded to scold the poor autistic kid that I tripped over – “Criss cross applesauce, Joey! Criss cross applesauce!” Good grief.
Personally, I prefer to jump right up, blood and broken bones aside, pretend that nothing happened, and limp away. I’ve had plenty of practice, and that’s what I was thinking about today — I fall ALL.THE.TIME. It’s genetic. My mother and grandmother are the queen and queen mum of wiping out. It’s really pretty simple. All three of us “run” more than we walk, and we’re rarely paying an appropriate amount of attention to our immediate surroundings.
Five classic tumbles….
My Sister’s Baptism It was the spring of 1975. The November before, my sister was born, bursting the bubble of my life as an only child. The day she was christened, I “ran away from home” during the baptism after-party; to remind everyone that it was still “ALL about me”. Unfortunately, I picked up too much speed on the driveway and wiped out. On the up side, it temporarily caused everyone to refocus their recently skewed priorities.
The Sandbox Incident (also the last time my mother played outside with us….EVER) In the bubble of “safety” my sister and I were raised in, there wasn’t a whole lot of room for rambunctious outdoor play. One fine spring day, my mother, in a fit of spontaneity, agreed to play tag with us in the yard. It was all over much too soon. I was so excited that I took off running, looking back at my mom — who was mouthing a great slow-motion “Nooooooooooo!”, as I catapulted across our sandbox — tearing open my shins, knees, elbows, and chin on the plywood sides. I looked like I ran into a wood chipper. It wasn’t pretty. Back to board games.
Why You Shouldn’t Take Off Your Windbreaker While Riding Your Bike On a bike ride behind our house, I was a good bit ahead of my mother and sister, when I decided to remove my super-cool pink windbreaker while flying down a hill. It caught in my back wheel, the bike stopped, and I flew over the handlebars. My glasses and sneakers flew off, which my mom came upon first, like a bad driver’s ed movie. They found me around the corner, with just a chipped front tooth. (Further proof that fools have guardian angels).
Fallen Angel As a teen, I played an angel in the “living” nativity scene, one Christmas Eve. It was VERY hot before the service, and, just as my mother was passing by, I collapsed. She caught me before I hit the floor, and she still made me reprise my role during the service. How many angels do you really need at the manger? “Tonight, in Bethlehem, ANXIETY is born.”
Dear Miss Lilly I’ve never felt so bad for somebody ELSE when I’ve hurt myself. Lilly was the wonderfully sweet cleaning lady at the hospital where I worked in the late 90s. One morning, I was flying around a corner, when I met her head on. She was pushing a cart with a steel mop bucket welded onto the front, and I pretty much landed on top of the whole thing. Again, with the shins – ouch! I felt worse when Lilly started crying, yelling, “Ooohhh LORD! I done went and RUN you over!!” It was right out of Gone with the Wind, and I made an extra effort to bite my lip while my leg turned four shades of purple.
I’ve fallen down marble steps (cracked kneecap), in church (sprained an ankle and tossed a bible), holding smoothies (dislocated elbow-without dropping smoothies!), and over my own dog (humiliated at the dog park).
You can call me Grace.