Friday, September 09, 2005


Today, just for you, my favorite readers, I have an embarrassing story about me. I need to set the stage first, though. I take a certain pride in my gracefullness and athletic ability. Check that, not a certain pride, but an extreme pride. I do not fall down, period. Not me. But I do make myself look like a jack ass avoiding falls.

Yesterday I was walking down an enclosed but public stairway. When I walk alone, I usually do so deep in thought, and not always about deep things. Today, for existence, as I walked down the stairs, I was thinking about how I would land if I ever had to vault down those stairs. Ahh, the power of suggestion. As I reached the bottom of the stairs, I put out my right foot and then...nothing. I had missed the final two steps. The falling sensation clued me into the fact that something was very wrong. I instantly became aware that if I did not do something quick, I was going to be eating the hard floor. So I twisted my body and extended my right leg out in splits fashion so I could land in a stable manner. But when my foot hit, my ankle started to roll, and in my haste to avoid breaking it, I shifted my body straight again. That did the trick, but then I saw something shoot by me out of the corner of my left eye. It was my left leg. In my efforts to avoid the fall, I had forgotten several rules of physics, and when I had straightened my body out, it caused that left leg-still on the third stair-to shoot by me like it was a surface to air missile.

As my left leg rocketed past my ear, I realized I had a new problem. My moment was carrying me straight toward a concrete wall. In a pure instinct move, my unhappy right leg carried forward the second the left hit the ground and then it dug in. I then stopped my momentum like a gymnast who had just stuck his landing-seriously, I think my arms even went up in the air like I was Nadia Comaneci at the 1976 Olympics. Relief washed over me, and then panic stabbed me in the heart. I WAS IN A PUBLIC STAIRWAY. I quickly looked around to see if anyone saw me. Fortunately, nobody did. So I dusted off, straightened my shirt, and strutted through the door like I was the King of England and nothing had happened. But if you see a security video on the internet of a goofy guy falling down three stairs and then pretending to be a gymnast, yeah, that's me.

Why do I tell you all of this embarrassment? Well, my pride wants me to say it is because I want to show everyone my humanity. But that would be bull shit. It's because I'm afraid to go to sleep. I know I'm going to wake up to the sound of every vertebrae in my spine locking up like the breaks on an 18 wheeler. Please, Lord, don't let me fall asleep.

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