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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Times I Fell Down: Part I

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 By

I've been promising (threatening?) to write a post like this for a long time. Because, frankly, I deserve it. For some reason, I spend much of my life staring up at the sky, or at a close-up of the ground, and thinking, "What just happened?"

I was always a klutz. I have the scarred legs to prove it. Ruined my modeling career, ya know. When I was in elementary school, I crashed my 10-speed and I still have an actual 1/4-inch-deep hole in my shin to show for it.

In little league, Dad was always telling me to keep my eye on the ball. Problem was, I couldn't SEE the ball. I had no idea that people were supposed to be able to actually watch the ball leave the pitcher's hand. I was just guessing when to swing, based on speed and wind sheer and sheer stupid desire to actually get a hit. No one knew I needed glasses.

I did get a hit, once. I was standing in right field, which is where I regularly built daisy chains while waiting for my turn to not-bat in the dugout, when the most fearsome girl in the league stepped up to the plate. This girl was two feet taller and 50 pounds heavier than any other player in the league. The rest of the girls hunkered down and chattered "heyyybatterbatter, swing!" while I silently prayed for her to bunt.

CLINK! The sound of ball-hitting-aluminum bat was unmistakable. And, as usual, I had no idea where it went... until something going 150 mph pile-drove into my shoulder and I went down. Down like a dog on the highway.

That was when I decided to quit little league. The humiliation I could live with. But adding physical injury to mental insult was enough.

I avoided most physical injuries until high school. But one night, after the spring musical, five friends, my little brother and I were headed to the local Applebee's - which had just opened in Conyers and was A Big Deal - for some after-play social time. We got about five minutes down the road when a drunk driver turned left in an intersection as I was passing through. The impact totaled my parents' car, and left a scar in the shape of the emergency brake on my left knee.

So I'm getting to the falling down part.

I fell down a number of times during my college years. I won't get into all of them. But the first time I actually broke something... well. It set a tone. And the universe has been keeping score ever since.

It was my boyfriend's birthday. We partook of many activities in downtown Athens that night, and I spent all but $5 in my bank account on him. He deserved it. He was a great guy who studied hard every day to get his masters degree. But that meant that I didn't have money for a much-needed taxi to get from The Globe to our apartment on Baxter Street. He wouldn't spring for it, arguing that it would only be a short walk. In 50-degree weather. In my platform sandals.

As we walked, an Athens-based taxi company called Your Cab drove by us repeatedly, ferrying home drunken but warm students. "Look!" I said, each time one passed. "That was OUR cab!"

By the time we got to Milledge Avenue, we were both irritated, but laughing. So he pretended to tackle me, and I pretended to go all Chuck Norris and round-house kick him in the face. In my platform sandals. Let's just say that I was too powerful to be contained by mere fake leather straps... while having imbibed almost all of the wine in Athens, because if I'm-a get krunk, I'm-a do it with class (white zinfandel is classy, right?) And when the straps broke, mid-whirl, my foot broke, too, and I went down... on my thumb.

Not to be all "I told you so," but when my boyfriend went to try to call a cab from the front of Clark Central high school, they refused to pick up the drunken idiots with the broken foot and no address to give them except "that high school on Milledge Road." And it was another mile and a half home. We made it, but there was a great deal of cussing.

The next morning there was some lovely hangover-related vomiting. I'm not going to say which one of us got drunk enough to throw up, but let me tell you that making it from the bed to the bathroom on a broken foot is not the kind of thing you want to do in a hurry. After someone's stomach settled down, we drove to the ER and they patched up a couple of broken metatarsals as best they could, sending me on my way with crutches and a jammed thumb with which to use them.

When we got back to the apartment, I tried to crutch up the concrete stairs... and instead fell backwards down them. After I was done irrationally screaming at my boyfriend, I seriously considered moving to a place on the ground floor.

The second time I broke something - oh, yes, there were many - was completely my own fault. We were at a festival in Atlanta, and I had just purchased a pretty new pair of earrings. Of course, I had to wear them out. And when I got to the front of the stand, a mirror distracted me, as shiny things and matters of ego are likely to do.

"Oh, don't I look beautif - GAAAHH!" And down a flight of wooden steps I fell, face-first into some gravel, breaking my ankle. I was so mad at myself that I refused any assistance from the first aid folks driving the comfy golf cart and limped - very slowly - back to my car. I refused to go to a doctor - because lots of money go bye-bye - yanked an Ace bandage around it, pulled out my old blue shoe and crutches from the broken foot, and made do.

Times I Fell Down: Part II will post tomorrow. Barring any further injury.


  1. I did the male version of this one some years ago. New boots, slick bottoms, icy parking lot, and lots of cocktails made me think that imitating Snoopy, sliding Joe Cool style across the frozen pond, would be a good idea.

    All was good until I hit a small pebble that stopped the forward boot while the trailing one kept a-movin. Snapped my Fibula, although I didn't know it (admit it) until the next day. My girlfriend at the time was so embarrassed to know me that she dumped me. Well, that's what I told myself.