I am a well-known klutz.
I was apparently a breech baby when I was born. That means that I gave the world my best profile and came into it with my butt first. Or as I often say, “I was born ass-backwards and I’ve been ass-backwards ever since!”
I tried ballet and tap dance classes when I was a little girl and my teachers all gave up on me as I obviously had no talent, skill or ability to keep from tripping over my own feet, or the feet of the other little girls.
I once took down the whole line of us while we were practicing a simple tap dance routine for our first recital. I lost my balance, leaned over too far to my right and bumped right into the little girl next to me and then I fell down. She too lost her balance, leaned too far over to her right, fell down, and thus began the line of little girls falling down one after another like dominoes.
During the many years that I smoked, I would occasionally burn the end of my own nose with my cigarette.
My friends would dubiously laugh when I explained about the latest blister on the end of my nose and they refused to believe me that I had no idea how I could have the cigarette in my mouth and then somehow manage to flip it up onto my nose. Until they actually witnessed me doing it. And even then it happened so quick, they still could not believe exactly how I did it. And I never could explain it either.
One time when I was working as a telephone operator at a physicians’ answering service, I was the only working at the switchboards while my boss was doing paperwork at her desk just a few feet away from me.
I was on a call with a patient and I was rolling around in my chair while I was filing away office information index cards in the bins above the three switchboard stations.
There were plastic mats under the stations to keep our rolling chairs from ruining the carpet. I was answering the patient’s questions about when a particular doctor’s office staff would return from lunch and I was rolling from one end of the three stations to the other when my chair found the edge of the plastic mat and stopped dead in its tracks.
I, however, did not. I flew out of the chair, and somehow managed to continue talking without missing a beat as I ended up on the floor with my legs tucked under me.
My boss started laughing so hard, she started to choke and I got up and whacked her a few times on the back, still conversing with the patient as if nothing had happened.
That was the only time I actually turned a klutzy moment into something resembling grace under fire though.
Another time my friend, Noreen, picked me up at my house for some shopping time. We were on my front porch chatting with my teen-age daughter, Tara, saying good bye, and I was in front of Noreen preparing to go down the last small step to the driveway.
Tara asked me something, and I turned to face her to respond to her, still in the process of taking that last small step when my feet somehow got confused and I began to fall.
I can still see it in slow motion: I turned my body as I was falling down and I can see the ground coming up fast towards my face. Not wishing to kiss that hard earth, I put my hands out to break my fall and I ended up on the ground with my hands flat down next to my head.
My wrists and my ankles were hurting like hell, but as I lay there, I began to laugh so hard because I was imagining what that must have looked like to Tara and Noreen.
They scrambled to help me up, convinced that I must be okay because I was still laughing but it quickly became obvious that I had badly hurt myself.
They both said, then and many times in the years afterwards, that one second I was standing up, the next second I was flat on the ground, laughing like crazy, and neither one of them could ever figure out how in the hell had I been so klutzy so fast.
So after a trip to the E.R. where casts were put on both wrists and both ankles because I had badly sprained everything, I was set up with an electric wheelchair. That was a lot of fun to use! But that became another humorous tale of my klutziness for my friends and relatives to talk about.
My mom, Tara, and I were asked each year by our good friends and neighbors across the road, the Cogswells, to come over and get their house key and instructions on how and what to feed their many pets while they would be gone for a few weeks visiting relatives in Florida over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
One year it was dark and I was in front of my mom and Tara, walking up the Cogswell’s sidewalk that led from their driveway to their door. It had snowed a day before but the sidewalk looked like it had been completely cleared off.
Unbeknownst to me there was a small dip in one section of the sidewalk and the snow had melted and then re-frozen into a small icy spot.
Of course I stepped on that one little icy place and I then did a complete whoopsy-daisy right in front of my mom and Tara. I went up in the air, landed on my back and then flipped head-over-heels.
They both laughed and laughed so hard and I lay there, laughing hard too, at yet another incidence of how klutzy I could be.
Another winter time I was struggling to pull up the garage door so that I could drive Tara to school. We had had freezing rain and sleet all night and I thought that the door had been frozen to the garage floor.
In frustrated exasperation, I gave a final mighty heave on the garage door handle, when I felt and heard a huge crack somewhere in my back. While I was doubled over in pain, I noticed that I had forgotten to unlock the door.
Later that day after I had been diagnosed with a few cracked ribs, Tara amused our doctors by explaining how I had once again done myself in.
Tara once said to me, “Mom, I love you but I swear you could trip over a dust bunny!”
Ouch, the truth hurts!
But that is one of the funniest damned lines I have ever heard! 🙂