I'm clumsy. I know it, you know it, strangers who have seen me crash and burn over a small pebble in a parking lot know it. If it can be tripped over, fallen off of, bumped into.... I will find a way to do it in the most painful and embarrassing way possible, with the largest audience available to witness my shame. (My Shame always has witnesses. Always. If I fall down while crossing the street, which I have, it is always in front of a school bus filled with horrible children or a prison bus filled with inmates.)
I was the kid who always had a bruise, a scrape, an open wound or stitches. I used band aids as an accessory. (Sadly, my options in the 60s and 70s were limited to Flesh Tone or Darker Flesh Tone. No Disney characters or Pixar pals back then... we took our bandaids straight and rocked them with panache.)
My parents thought (hoped, prayed) that I would outgrow it, start paying attention to what I was doing but alas, that has simply never happened. (Chalk up another way in which I have disappointed my mother.) I have no idea what I'm thinking about that is more important than whatever act of mobility I am currently engaged in, but obviously it's very crucial that I focus on that rather than walking.
Long story short, I'm kind of a train wreck, and not the Amy Schumer version who has sex with strangers because John Cena just isn't quite enough for her.
Typical conversations in my life go like this:
Dan: "How did you get that giant cut on your elbow?"
Me: "I banged it on the tampon disposal thingy in the bathroom at work. I was worried I might get something gross like chlamydia or herpes so I dumped a bunch of hand sanitizer all over it and I haven't died yet, so I'm pretty sure it's all good."
Dan: *kissing me on the top of my head*
Dan: "What's wrong?"
Me: "I slipped on a dryer sheet while I was doing the laundry and fell down and banged my head on the washing machine. I may or may not have been unconscious for a minute, I dunno. I went to sleep later and didn't die so I'm pretty sure it's okay."
Dan: "How did you get that huge bruise on your shoulder?"
Me: "Oh, that? I was leaning out of bed trying to reach my water bottle on my night stand and I underestimated the distance and fell off the bed. I didn't land on the dogs or anything breakable and after lying there for a few minutes I was able to get back up, so I figured it was fine."
Dan, in a letter written in all caps and littered with exclamation points, placed prominently on my coffee pot for me to find when I got out of bed: "DANI!!!! IT IS VERY ICY OUTSIDE!!! WEAR BOOTS WITH TREAD AND BE CAREFUL!!! I MEAN IT!!! IT'S DANGEROUS!!!!"
Me, texting back indignantly: "I'm pretty sure I know what to put on my feet when it's icy out, Dan. I'm not stupid. Seriously."
Me, 5 minutes after shooting off my annoyed text: *taking the dogs out while wearing slippers and instantly plummeting knees-first onto the frozen tundra that used to be my front steps*
Dan, later that same day: "Why are you limping?"
Me: "I dunno. I'm old. I think I have a bad hip."
My youngest son, Brennan, has inherited my unfortunate tendencies. In his lifetime he has escaped death by mere inches without even really trying. He's like Mr. Magoo, wandering obliviously through life while pianos and anvils drop from rooftops and 15th story windows behind him.
Last week we were talking on the phone when I heard a loud crack and bang coming through the wires from his end.
At the same time as I said, "What was that?!" He yelled, "Mom! You will not believe this!"
As it turns out, seconds after he had walked under a tree, a giant branch broke off and landed right behind him. He was a little shaken up (not dramatically so, as things like this are not entirely unheard of in Brennan Land) and asked, "Mom... why am I so unlucky?"
Me: "Did the branch hit you?"
Me: "I personally see it as that you are very lucky."
(Of course, he had a broken hand at that time because he was helping a friend get rid of a computer. I'm not sure of the details but apparently it involved breaking things, including Brennan.)
Him: "How am I lucky?"
Me: "It's like, when I see a hearse and I'm not in it? I'm like, WINNING! Score one for the Dani Girl!"
I have injured myself stupidly and painfully so many times that the only explanation can be that Karma is amused by my antics. (Or maybe I pointed and laughed once too often in a past life at some poor soul who biffed it in a big and public way, which is entirely possible.)
Years ago I broke my finger because of the stupid dog. It was the middle of the night, she was barking her ass off, and I got up to find her standing on the dining room table barking at the curtains. I reached out (somewhat forcefully, not gonna lie) and rather than getting anywhere near the dog, I banged my hand on the corner of the table and broke my middle finger, which was ironic, considering how I felt at that moment.
And then there was the time I opened the closet door one night and my rarely used iron flew out and dropped like a ton of bricks, landing on the top of my foot and crushing all the little bones in there, which, in case you were wondering, are tiny, fragile, and numerous. (This is my reason for never ironing. Thank you, Dryer Sheets, for saving my life. It's not because I'm lazy, it's because I'm cautious. And might have PTSD.)
I gave myself an actual concussion opening the freezer. I was talking to Dan (friggin' Dan) and turned to look at him at the exact same second that I pulled open the freezer door. I smacked myself so hard on the side of my head with the door that I burst a blood vessel in my eye and knocked myself out.
Then there was the night I broke the toilet at my in-laws house, which endeared me to them forever. (Just ask them, they'll tell you.) I got up in the middle of the night to pee. I had taken an Ambien and was wearing earplugs because of the snoring machine that is my husband (in other words, what happened next is not my fault.) I wandered sleepily into the bathroom and sat on the toilet, only to be knocked entirely off balance and have my bare ass plunging the depths of the icy cold toilet water. I frantically struggled to pull myself up, with the lights off, earplugs in, and drowsy from the sleeping pill. I couldn't quite grasp what was happening until Dan burst into the bathroom (quite dramatically, mind you, because my husband is something of a drama queen) and turned on the light. I looked down and saw water gushing out of the shattered toilet bowl and apparently creating a dazzling waterfall through the ceiling and into the kitchen below.
It was a proud moment, standing there with wet feet, pajama pants puddled at my ankles, and the entire family looking in to see what had happened, while Dan over-reacted and made a huge deal out of it.
(Silver lining: As far as I know there was nothing disgusting in the toilet. Also? As it turns out this entire incident could have been avoided if my jackass nephew had put the damn seat down.)
You all know the story about how I stabbed myself in the ass with a steak knife and almost bled to death, so there's no reason to repeat that one.
It doesn't surprise me anymore when a baby bird lands in my hair or I step in the one hole in the yard and break my ankle.
Nor does it surprise any one else.
I called my mother last night to let her know about an upcoming surgery I am having later this month.
I had a brief moment of self-pity and said, "How come this stuff only happens to me? You and my sister breezed right through getting your period, childbirth, and menopause. And then there's me. Debilitating cramps, endometriosis, long, difficult, almost fatal labors and deliveries, and now this."
Mother, chuckling: "Oh, honey... why on earth would you expect anything to be easy? It's YOU."
Silver lining: I'm never boring. And Pandas are my spirit animal.