I caught my foot on a metal storm grate the other afternoon and went head first onto the pavement. Onlookers were zipping past in cars and buses and on motorcycles, so I popped up like toast and kept walking with a blood-drenched tissue pressed to my forehead. I saw stars; I heard birds chittering; I was a living, breathing cartoon.
We all trip, many of us fall, but precious few go into pike position and dive for the ground with the same kamikaze gusto as I. Unlike the typical human, I’ve no survival instinct whatsoever and that’s unnerving. I like to walk. I love riding bikes. Roller-skating. Tennis. Zip lines. Trampolines. Swings. Yet, those aren’t fun activities, they’re Russian roulette, in my experience.
The problem is ¹, I’ve never learned to land properly. I’m driven, instead, by a hard-wired instinct to jackknife at the waist and lead with my head. That isn’t self-protection; it’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 fleshy parts of your body, such as the side of your thigh, your butt or shoulder. In so doing, you diffuse the force and spread out the impact. You’re also instructed to relax and roll with it. Really?
Who has time to calculate angles and trajectory mid-plummet? I’m busy tallying medical costs, factoring in pain and inconvenience, forecasting bone breakage, guesstimating recovery time. So when I do land, I land with the dainty grace of space junk: hard and at speed
I don’t relax or roll with it, either. Look at me, I have a deep gash above my eyebrow and a black eye. One shoulder and one knee are scabby and puffy. Plus, my ability to make a fist is curiously impaired, so no more bare-knuckle boxing, for a while at least.
If I was smart, I’d stop participating in land-based activities like walking and stick to water-based. A swimming pool is my natural habitat, anyway, and water is so much more forgiving than cement. I‘ve never needed stitches after diving into a pool, not even from crazy-stoopid heights.
Have a happy and safe Easter!
copyright © 2018 the whirly girl
¹ I’ve fallen down on the job, not the sidewalk. This, to my chagrin, is a reblog from 2017, when I actually performed a sprawling face plant on a bridge crossing the Illinois River. It was humiliating, but so is resurrecting an old piece when I should have a new, original idea. Please forgive my inertia.