Have you gotten your annual ice-slip in yet? I got it over early.
When you slip on the ice and fall, it’s a remarkably fast event. If gravity worked on leaves the way it works on the human body, leaves would be slammed to the ground with violence, one after the other, and fall would be rather horrifying.
I did not make a gentle descent when I slipped on the ice. No one ever does. No one ever limped into the house, and upon being asked what happened, said, “I wafted.” There are no “waft and fall” lawyers. Gravity takes you down like a linebacker, and you wouldn’t mind seeing a yellow flag thrown for unnecessary roughness.
My first instinct, upon falling, was typical for men: “I’m fine. I am made of stone.” This is a reaction to the indignity, the loss of composure, the anger at being humiliated by an invisible force. It’s like finding out you were pickpocketed by the wind.
But was I fine? Roll call: no bright screaming pains in the limbs, no sense that my hip had been cracked like a china plate, no blood pooling under my head.
“Maybe I’m in shock,” I thought. What does that mean, exactly? The body gets flooded with emergency chemicals that let you escape peril, that’s how it works. Something in the brain smashes the glass and pulls the emergency signal, and your brain says, “OK, glands, it’s up to you to get this guy as high as possible so he can get away from the tiger even though one leg’s gone.”
It’s something the body reserves for very special moments, like fighting tigers, or, in my case, checking the mailbox by going out the back door and hiking around the house and through the gate because I didn’t want to go out the front door and activate the motion-sensor doorbell because it makes a sound that causes the dog to bark.
Full disclosure: The doorbell sound is stuck on the Halloween ghosts-moaning sound I chose in late October, and I can’t change it. I’ve tried resetting it to “ho-ho-ho” for the holidays, but it defaults back to moaning ghosts, so now I’m on my back on the patio waiting for the chemicals to drain away so I can tell if my spine was severed. Which would be awful if there were also tigers.
I got up, checked for the presence of tigers and then checked the mail. The mail-tiger situation was zero in both cases.
I did a quick reassessment: Not limping; not in pain. Good! I’ll have bruised glutes tomorrow, but since I don’t have a job as an exotic dancer, that’s not much of a problem.
I woke the next morn with no pain, except for my mouth, because I had managed to bite the inside of my cheek when I went down. I’m a-spittin’ blood and my hip’s not broken! Should be the state motto!
It does make you think of living in a place not periodically coated with dangerous substances — I mean, it can get hot in Arizona, but no one goes for a walk, stumbles and bursts into flames. But we will develop antigravity devices at some point. We’ll wear a belt with a motion sensor, and when it detects a fall, it will counteract brutal gravity, allowing us to waft.
But we’ll still slip and fall because we forgot to charge it and went out to walk the dog anyway, thinking, “I’ve got this. I’m a Minnesotan.”
Anyway, that was my annual fall. One every year. Glad I got it out of the way. It’s like a flu shot. Now I’m good.