Pardon the blasphemy, but I did. Scout’s honor.
I caught my foot on a metal grate Wednesday afternoon and went face-first onto the sidewalk. Spectators were zipping past in cars and buses, so I popped right up and kept on walking with the only tissue I had pressed to my forehead. The Kleenex, however, was worthless; it dripped a bloody trail of fat, red spatters for more than a mile, the entire way home.
Anyone can trip and fall, of course. But very few go into pike position and dive for the ground with the same kamikaze gusto as I. Unlike the typical human body, mine has no survival instinct whatsoever. It’s suicidal and I can’t figure out why.
I like to walk. I like riding bikes. Roller-skating. Water skiing. Tennis. Trampolines. Swings. Yet, those aren’t sporting activities in whirlyville, they’re Russian roulette. Harmless fun doesn’t exist here; penalties are attached to everything. I simply don’t know how to land and that little defect is certain to kill me.
In all my years of ungainly clumsiness, I haven’t overcome my hard-wired instinct to jackknife at the waist and lead with my head. That isn’t self-protection; that’s a death wish. The first rule of falling, according to health professionals, is to pivot on your side and tuck in your head. Try to take the hit on the fleshiest parts of your body; the side of your thigh, your butt or shoulder. Diffuse the force and spread out the impact.
They tell you to relax and roll with it. Yeah, well, who has time to calculate the angles during free-fall? I’m tallying medical costs, factoring in the pain and inconvenience of bone breakage. So, when I land, I land with the foresight and planning of space junk.
Today, I’m sporting a deep gash above my eyebrow and a black eye. One shoulder and one knee are scuffed and puffy. Plus, my ability to make a fist is curiously impaired, so no more bare-knuckle boxing for a while.
I should stop participating in land-based activities like walking and stick to water-based. A swimming pool is my natural habitat, anyway. I’m safe there and water doesn’t hurt. Unless you land on your back from a tall, towering height, then yeeeow. Or so I’m told.
I only land on my head, remember?
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