review of three especially spastic moments in my life
May 16, 2007
We all have spastic moments, right? I mean, even Abraham Lincoln must have had some nasty spaz attacks here and there. Maybe when he was brushing his teeth the day he gave the Gettysburg Address, his hand slipped as he went to start brushing, and he jabbed the toothbrush into his eye, and as he tried to get the toothpaste out of his eye because it was stinging so bad, he stuck his other finger in his nose, and got a bloody nose, and, well, you know how it goes. Even four score and seven years ago. Same as it ever was.
Well it’s like that for me. But more so. I, well, I, er, I’m kind of a spaz. I spaz a lot. As I walk around the office, which is a bit of a rabbit warren, I’m constantly cutting corners too short and smashing my shoulder on the wall, or misjudging the width of a doorway and running right into the door jam, or even missing my mouth with a cup of water and pouring the water all over myself.
Yes, I’m that guy.
Let’s review a couple of the best moments.
The Bike Spaz
Most people who have ridden bikes for a while are either using, or are familiar with the oddly named clipless pedals. While de rigeur for any serious cyclist, these little contraptions are essentially ski boot bindings for your bike. Many things can impact how easy they are to get in and out of, but the most important of these factors is simply familiarity. Practice.
Right after I bought my first mountain bike, I also bought clipless pedals. Kim wandered onto the front porch to watch me try them out. I hopped onto my bike, clicked in, rode up to the porch, and fell right over into the bushes. Still trapped in my pedals, I thrashed around trying to free myself, oblivious to the sharp thorns on the bushes, scratching the hell out of my face, arms, and legs. Finally defeated, I stopped thrashing, and asked Kim to help me get out of my pedals. Unfortunately, she was so embarrassed that I did this in our front yard on a busy street, she had gone back inside and locked the door.
[For a video example of how clipless pedals can quickly turn from a rider’s best friend to his worst enemy, watch this, er, clip. The mayhem is at the 3:30 mark. Poor Tom doesn’t get released from the pedal until the 4:00 mark.]
The Falling Down Stairs, Run Into the Door Trick
When I was growing up in Minneapolis, we remodeled and turned the garage into another family room, and an office for my dad, and put a new garage on the front. No, we didn’t leave the garage doors in place as walls. That would be cool though. I’ve seen it done—it makes moving furniture easy.
Anyway. We had a back staircase that used to be the stairs from the garage to the basement, with a small landing at the bottom, and a very heavy door leading into the rec room in our basement. When I was about 2 years old, I toddled to the back of the garage and dropped straight off the edge, and plummeted to the bottom of the stairs. Not down the actual stairs, but straight to the bottom. Think stairs with no railing. Probably not up to code. But this isn’t the spaz moment I’m going for. I mean, jeez, I was only 2.
When we remodeled, we carpeted the stairs and landing but left the heavy door. Once, in my teenage years, I was fleeing from my older brother, undoubtedly because I had done something particularly egregious to his sock drawer or re-ordered his 8 track tape collection, or something, and I was heading down those back stairs a bit faster than was safe. I slipped about halfway down, but not backward, but rather, forwards. With both arms outstretched to save myself, I flew the bottom 4 or 5 stairs, landed on my feet, but lurching out of control forward, and toward the heavy door, which was open and swung away from me.
Did I mention the outstretched hands thing? My left outstretched hand inserted itself directly into the gap between door and door jam. But with my palms facing outwards. My body continued flying past the door, and was abruptly caught by my by now bending completely backwards left hand, the fingernails of which were touching the top of my forearm. Eww. As my forward momentum arrested itself, my left shoulder, acting as a fulcrum, spun me hard to the left. Where, unfortunately, there was a very heavy door waiting for me. My face smashed into the door, breaking my nose and showering me and the door with blood.
That’s how my brother found me moments later. Deeming my punishment sufficient, he simply chortled and left me there. Which I appreciated.
Holden’s Rube Goldberg Trap
A few years ago, when I still lived in Pleasant Grove, UT, Kim left town for a weekend, leaving me with the 3 kids. In those days, we had the master bedroom and two other bedrooms upstairs, and another bedroom in the basement. Holden, who was about 5 years old at the time, slept in the room across the hall from me.
I have trouble getting to sleep when Kim’s out of town, and so I was up late reading, but I finally managed to nod off around 1:00 am. And, I’m not positive this is relevant to the story, but maybe it is, but anyway, in those days too, I often slept in my birthday suit. There, I said it.
So on this night, Holden started making noise about 2:00 am. I woke up, and stumbled across the hall toward his room to see what the matter was, still very groggy, since I’d only just fallen asleep an hour before.
I crept across his floor toward his bed, but he was silent, so I figured nothing was wrong. I reached down to pick up and replace his blanket which had fallen off his bed.
Whoops. I reached down too far and smashed my forehead on the corner of his desk, which was next to his bed. I grabbed my head with both hands and took a step back, right onto a stack of slick comic books. The comic books acted a bit like ball bearings, shooting my leg forward, and my shin right into the drawer. I wish the drawer would have stopped my leg, but it only slowed it down, so as my foot slid under the desk, my shin scraped, from ankle to knee, along the bottom edge of the drawer, peeling off all of the skin on the front of my leg, until my ungainly knobby kneecap stopped its progress.
I shouted a couple of very naughty words and jumped back, only to slip again on the now scattered comic books, and I fell hard on the floor. Which wouldn’t have been so bad if that portion of the floor weren’t strewn with jacks. You know. JACKS! As in little metal landmines that don’t blow up but do have about a million pointy ends. Which can end up actually EMBEDDED in your ASS if you fall hard on them. While you’re NAKED!
That one really sucked. I’m pretty sure that’s where Holden learned every sailor word in his vocabulary. I guess you gotta learn it somewhere. You know. For situations like this one.