Saturday, March 2, 2013

Tumbling Pride

A lithesome frame does not always guarantee suppression of the inner klutz.

I am pretty sure there is nothing that reminds me of my humanity more than a fantastic fall on a slippery pavement.  Like most people after the spill I do not care about the searing pain in my knee or the stones embedded in my hand or the blood pouring from my nose.  What I care about is "did any one see me fall." I dart my head around like a prairie dog in its sandy hole looking for the hunter aiming to shoot him.   I imagine when the critter locks eyes with the assassin the animal has  the same clarity I do when I spot a passerby hiding a grin.  Uh oh, I have been spotted.  A quick wave of the hand to acknowledge "I'm good" and slowly I rise to my feet to limp away. 

I have no idea why I am afraid to let people see me fall.  It was not a problem when I was a child, although there were many times on the ski slopes when my sisters doubled over with laughter were unable to help me stand up.  I find it an affront to my dignity to drop to the ground like a fainting goat.  Maybe my false pride began in college tennis when my teacher stated "you have no kinetic ability."  As if I had any idea what that term meant.  I was a journalism major not physical education!  But after looking up the word in the dictionary I indignantly wrote in my class evaluation "she did not help me hit that stupid yellow ball."

I can not really fault those who laugh since I love comedic falls.  Once as a youngster my family was skiing and my Father decided to show off.   In the process he turned himself backwards down the mountain with his skis in a V.  He started to pick up speed as one of my sisters and I watched in horror.  At a slow methodical pace our other sister began to traverse a path directly below the out of control parental unit.  We shouted a warning to her and she began to scurry as fast as her little skis could manage.  My Father was a snowball with arms and legs by the time of the impact.  I recall the mountain shook...It still makes me grin. 

When my niece and I went to London last year she fell on top of a homeless man at the train station.  I was laughing too hard to help her and thought to myself that even an expletive sounded better with a British accent.  To her credit though she recovered quickly, apologized and I think the responding grunt meant all was forgiven. 

What I realize in reviewing the history of my own family is the following:

A) I have a genetic predisposition to be awkward.
B) If pride goeth before the fall, I might as well join the others laughing at my inept maneuvering.
C) Spectacular falls should be accompanied by remarkable recoveries.

The next time I take a header on the sidewalk for no apparent reason (even one of those that I am running forward for about 10 feet) I will nail the landing holding up one hand with fingers in a V. 

Miss you Dad...



  1. Seems to run in the family. I experienced the dreaded one legger hitting a patch of ice on campus. I'm sure all of you are picturing it, look of simultaneous horror and concentration,windmilling arms and the final ignominious lurch into the snow bank. Unfortunately so were the hundreds of students who were changing classes at the time. Ok maybe dozens. All right 3 but I knew one of them.