As many of you know I am a bit....accident prone. I tend to fall off things and generally hurt myself like I have a grudge against me. I've always thought I was maybe just passive aggressive toward myself but lately I've come to suspect I may actually be stupid.
So the other day Lu and I were in the covered porch putting in a ceiling fan and a light fixture. No problem, right in my wheelhouse. The fan went in neat as can be and it was time for the light fixture. All was well until I had to make a critical decision; what part of my body to try and get between my more important bits and the concrete floor. Let me explain.
Take a look at this picture.
On the right we see a step ladder. On the left we see a wooden box set up on end so it's even less stable than one would otherwise suspect. Which one would you choose to stand on while working on a ceiling fixture? Of course the box. Right? Right?
See, I was actually doing the wrong thing and using that step ladder even though the box was right there. At one point I needed to get to a screw on the opposite side that I was working on. And that box was right there, looking all platformish and everything. I could have gotten down and moved the ladder but that would have meant walking down two steps and then lifting the ladder, that clearly weighs many hundreds of grams, moving it to a completely new location at least three feet from where it was and then going back up the two steps. And again, the box was right there doing absolutely nothing to assist in my endeavor to bring light to dark places. Talk about slacking. So I decided that the easiest, indeed the best, thing to do was to step from the ladder to the box. What could possibly go wrong?
As I put one foot on the box I noticed that it was actually a little wobbly. Not in that 'Weebils Wobble But They Don't Fall Down' way but rather in an alarming way if one possesses an ounce of common sense. Which I am happy to say I do not. Common Sense is not Manly after all and I am nothing if not a slave to social norms. Alarum notwithstanding.
One foot now firmly ensconced on the box I began to put more weight on it, preparatory to transferring the bulk of my...bulk onto it. I must admit that the box not only continued to show that it was less than pleased at the idea of trying to bear my weight but actually began to oscillate slightly, as if it were a very small horse being confronted by a very fat rider. I am almost certain I heard a disembodied voice saying "You have got to be kidding!"
Undeterred and trusting to my cat like reflexes honed over decades of drinking beer while watching the X Games, I continued the process of stepping onto The Box as I have since come to think of it. At one point I had most of my weight on The Box and was just beginning to lift my trailing foot for the final move that would see me triumphantly standing upright upon The Box and in position to get at that recalcitrant screw without having to get down and move the ladder when disaster struck. Totally and, I'd like to stress this point, without any warning at all except for the wild gyrations and aforementioned tiny horse bucking motions.
As I stepped fully onto it, The Box began to sway to and fro and then suddenly toppled and generally collapsed. As it did so I found myself suspended in the air, Wily Coyote like, and had time to consider mistakes made and my imminent demise. It's funny how time slows down when one has committed a buffoonery of that magnitude. One that is certainly going to be at the very least painful if not downright hazardous. There I was, hanging in the air with nothing below me except a whole lotta empty and facing sharp, hurty things on the nice hard concrete floor. If I'd had a sign saying "EGADS" I'd have had plenty of time to deploy it before disappearing in a small cloud of fear, regret and exclamation points. I even had time for a nice long contemplative interior monologue with myself. It involved me, my Common Sense and my Ego with my ID and Super Ego off to one side taking bets on the outcome.
Ego: Oh Man, I hope Lu isn't looking because this is really gonna make us look like goobers.
Common Sense (CP): I told you this was a bad idea!
Ego: Oh great. Now you show up. Where were you a minute ago when this disaster could have been avoided?
CS: Hey, I was busy. You try and pay attention to everything while this oaf works around electricity. I had better things to do what with the whole trying to keep us from being electrocuted thing and all. Besides, you know he doesn't like me and never listens to my words of wisdom. The putz.
Ego: Great. You saved us from having a bad hair day when we don't even have any hair and now we're about to make a nice fat hole in that concrete floor with our body. Nice work genius.
CS: You can criticize or you can join me in unconsciousness 'cause this is really gonna hurt.
Ego: Right. Off we go.
ID: Four to One he cries.
Super Ego: Five to One he cries and pees himself!
My subconscious voices having taken a powder it was now up to my still conscious self to deal with my impending doom. All the way down to the ground the only thing I could do was to wonder what my obituary was going to say.
Local bald man loses life in hilarious buffoonery. Wife confirmed to be mortified with embarrassment. "I always knew he'd go that way. What a Maroon." she is said to have remarked.
Finally, almost mercifully, I came crashing back down to earth. The world shuddered. I could see a mushroom cloud of dust rising to the heavens in a surprisingly body like shape and hear the sound of various objects I had taken with me on my meteoric descent striking the concrete around me. I lay there for a minute, contemplating the state of my body and wondering if my wife had witnessed the scene and if she was horrified. I needn't have worried. I heard a soft voice cut through the haze of distress and chagrin. "You Ok there Evel?" I am quite certain I heard a tinge of laughter.
See, Lu has learned, over a lifetime of watching me hurt myself in various incredible and humor inducing ways, to look for certain signs of real injury. Limbs misaligned, stuff sticking out where such isn't supposed to be and blood actively spurting from large, open wounds. Absent those things chances are high that I've suffered little more than bruises to both body and pride. Many is the time she's remarked, "Um, you know you're bleeding right?" Only to have me say "I am? Where?" Followed by a quick search for the offending bleeding body part and her pointing it out with raised eyebrows and an exasperated huff. Yeah, she doesn't even bat an eye any more. Except to giggle of course because what's a truly spectacular catastrophe without the attending laughter such engenders?
I lay on the ground for a few minutes, gratefully considering that I had yet again cheated the Grim Reaper and survived another madcap misadventure. I managed to roll myself over and regain my feet, there to check myself over and conform that the worst had indeed been avoided. Yep, all bits still attached and generally pointing in the correct direction. Various twinges and scrapes but it seemed that I would live to again tempt fate at some future date. Hopefully not too soon. Lu was standing near, offering a helping hand and striving heroically not to laugh out loud. And mostly failing. She did take me into the house, put me in my chair and deliver a handful of Tylenol. She even cooed at me the rest of the day and inquired as to my state of being several times. I of course maintained my manly facade and resisted all temptations to milk the situation for more sympathy than I was due. That limp was totally not faked, I swear. I only cried a little and never peed myself even once. I think my Super Ego is out five bucks so there's that.
So in spite of suffering yet another calamity that was totally not my fault I have learned a great and profound lesson from all this. Next time I get it right. Next time I listen to my Common Sense. Next time failure is not an option.
Next time I start from the box.
What could possibly go wrong?