You see, I fall. A lot. I mean, really a lot. Like, we can base our history on my falls. “Remember? It was before you fell for the tenth time at the mall.” “No, it was right after the tenth time.” “Oh, that’s right. It was before your tenth fall at Bennigan’s.” “Oh yeah, I remember.”
It’s embarrassing. I can’t even claim that I fall a lot because I’m getting older. I’ve been falling since before my kids were born. I was young then. They made me old. I used to fall during tennis practice in high school. I fell in the hallway one day when I was in tenth grade. I try not to remember that one, but it sometimes haunts me. That memory and the reoccurring dream where my best friend convinces me to go to school naked are the things that disturb my soul at night.
The strange thing is that my family and friends never see me fall. They’ll be walking ahead of me, and the next thing they know, they look back to find me on the floor.
One time when the Beetle was probably about two, I fell in Longhorn Steakhouse. We were leaving, and we were there with friends of ours. We were in a group of 11 people, and no one saw me fall. They were all ahead of me. I was walking along, minding my own business, when a tomato jumped up and attacked me. Okay, really, it was on the floor, and I slipped. I hit the concrete floor hard. I stayed there for a minute as birds flew around my head and I pushed certain words back into my mouth. My group turned around to find me on the floor. They tried not to laugh, but I saw it in their eyes. That fall, combined with a fateful ride on Doctor Doom’s Fearfall at Islands of Adventure at Universal Studios resulted in knee surgery for me. I should have sued. I could have owned Harry Potter’s wand and used it to cook myself a good steak.
Another time was when the Goose was about 14 months old. This was soon after my knee surgery, and we were in Bennigan’s. (Until they closed, Bennigan’s near us had really, really slippery floors, and I have many falling-down stories there.) I was carrying the Goose to the restroom, and I lost my footing. Trying not to fall on my post-surgical knee and trying not to crush the baby, I landed on my other knee. I ended up in a kneel. Tim Tebow has nothing on me…I invented that move. I heard a lady at a table near me say, “What is she doing?” I considered loudly saying, “In Jesus’ name. Amen,” before pulling myself back to a stand. Instead, I blushed and gracefully got up. (Really, nothing I do is graceful. It was more like a moose standing up after a nap. Have you ever seen how their legs go every-which-way? That was me.) Again, my friends and family were not nearby, so no one actually witnessed it except the strangers nearby who did nothing to help me.
My children have gotten so used to me falling that they don’t even react. They just look over their shoulders at me lying on the ground and say, “Daddy. She fell. Again.” It makes me feel so loved.
The funniest time was when we were getting off a cruise ship. The Beetle was about 9 years old, and the Goose was about 5. Mr. Everything and the Beetle were walking on ahead because they were going to get the truck from the parking garage. The Goose and I were following behind. I was holding onto her hand and a rolling suitcase. I tripped, ever-so-gracefully (This is my story. I can be graceful.) over a concrete parking thingy. I fell onto both knees and my hands and immediately started to bleed. (Easy bleeding is another one of my talents.) This man came rushing from across the driveway area yelling, “Sir! Sir! Sir!” with increasing exasperation in his voice. Mr. E just stopped and looked at him. The man said, “Your wife just fell! Don’t you even care? Look at her! She’s bleeding, and you are just walking away! Don’t you care?” The look on the Mister’s face was priceless. I might have been embarrassed, but he got to feel like a heel for the rest of the day. Of course, I have milked that one for all it is worth. To this day, I’ll sometimes say, “Sir! Sir! Your wife fell! Don’t you care?” Good times, I tell you. Good times.
The most embarrassing fall was one that no one even saw. (Unless the creepy neighbor was watching from his window.) It just embarrasses me to even think about it, because I was so stupid. We had just moved in at my mother-in-law’s house. She lived on a lot that backed up to a pond, and there were these evil ducks that lived there. They were pretty; they were pure white with orange beaks. The kids had named them “Frick” and “Frack.” Anytime they saw us out, they would come running. They quacked as they waddled, so they really were cute (if a bird can ever be cute). They creeped me out, though, because they were very aggressive. They would try to peck at our feet. Since I had a fear of beaks (I somewhat overcame that fear while in Jamaica), I would freak out every time they were near me. What I did not realize was that if someone ran, they loved to chase them.
So, I was out checking the mail. I was home by myself, which was a very rare occurrence. As I headed back to the house, I saw them coming. The Dynamic Duo Ducks were waddling as fast as their creepy little legs would carry them. I was wearing Crocs, and I was trying to move quickly. I told myself not to panic, but I didn’t listen. As they got close, I started running. Yes. This was a low point in my life. I was running from ducks. My stupid Crocs got in the way, and I ended up tripping over my own feet. I took a flying leap (literally) and landed hard on the concrete. As I lay there in a daze, those stupid ducks pecked at my feet. I managed to get up and get inside before their beaks touched anything but my shoes. I’m pretty sure if I had stayed there, they would have eaten me alive.
I got inside and examined the damage. I had two bleeding knees and two bleeding hands. Luckily, I had not broken my glasses. They were gold lined and made of titanium or something like that. I had gotten them back when Mr. E still had a corporate job and good insurance. To replace them, I would’ve had to sell one of my children. It would have been a hard choice of who to sell.
I thought about having a roller skating party for myself to celebrate my 40th birthday. Then I realized knee surgery would not be a good way to start of my new decade of life. It’s sad that I avoid situations that make me fall, but if you had fallen as many times as I have, you would too. I’m not sure what makes me fall so much. Maybe I’m unbalanced. (What you just thought wasn’t nice.) -Al