The Adventures of a Klutz October 19 2013


Ok.  It's been out for a long time.  Yup.  I am a klutz.I was born that way.  It manifested itself very early on.  If there was anything in a room to trip over, my toe would find it.  If there was an icy patch on the sidewalk, I would be down for the count.  Learning to ride a bicycle was a long and bruising project, as was roller skating.

In the 9th grade during a basketball drill, I tripped over my feet, fell down face first, and broke my two front top teeth.  Ever seen yourself with out teeth?  That's when I cried.  The school nurse suggested I avoid soup for lunch, called my mom, and said it was really a minor thing. Then I talked to my mother.  She heard the lisp, called the dentist, and next thing I knew I was in the chair.  My dentist was very young, and had the nicest blue eyes...

The process was very long and involved because the objective was to save the roots of the teeth and crown them.  Such adventures with those temporaries!  Running down the hockey field, chasing the ball, oops! Out fall the temps.  Off to the dentist for a new set. French class, and saying "du" resulted in the teeth flying across the room.  Home Economics.  Stirring peach jam. I asked for the timer.  Plop. Into the bubbling peaches. Hello Dentist.  Band was a nightmare.

And then there was the horror of all horrors: I had to take the teeth out for swim practice.  No one ever saw me smile at the Brandywine YMCA pool.Just so you know, my front teeth are housed in lovely permanent crowns.

But even those were not totally safe.  Five years ago, starting a trail walk with my sister and my yellow lab puppy, she said something funny, I bent over, doubled up in laughter, just as the puppy bounded up to share the joke.  Bam!  His skull impacted my front tooth, and out it popped, landing under a car.  My sister became very pale as I retrieved it and wanted to continue the walk.  She insisted on driving me to...the dentist, who was still very attractive...Enough about my teeth, and on to even more fun adventures.  How many times would I be given an orchestral bow, only to get halfway up and realize my long black dress was caught under the chair?

Or the time I tripped over something and landed into a dishwasher.  It is now part of family lore: "Hey!  Remember the time Joanie fell into the dishwasher!?"

At least I can be entertaining.

So here I am at age 61 and still a klutz.  I had real proof of this two weeks ago as we were debarking from the Stenna Line Ferry in Harwich, UK.  The gangway was very long, and down hill.  I was being helped along by my 48.3 lb suitcase (a whole story in itself).  Did I see the wet patch on the plastic coated floor?  Nope.  My left heel went out from under me, and wham!  I impacted the floor, landing with all my weight on my right elbow.  (Today the bruise is a greenish yellow.)  So I am lying on my back, and as I look up, 6 or so cyclists, dressed in their best spandex, helmets and biking shoes, looking very concerned indeed, said in their charming British accents, "Are you quite alright?"  My thoughts?  1. do my fingers work? And 2. How can I make this moment last?

This personal history has resulted in my  policy to never walk anywhere with my flute out of the case.

Here's why: It was a concert that involved six of us: a soprano, tenor, yours truly, an oboist, cellist and an organist.The venue was a church with a marvelous marble floor.  We were walking out to the applause to start the concert, and I realized the soprano was moving too slowly for the rest of us to make it onstage while the applause lasted.  I pulled out to pass the soprano.  Oops!  My leather sole slid on the smooth marble and there was a gasp as I stumbled and got myself into an upright position.  Lesson learned:  long dress + high heels +14 Karat flute = potential disaster.

So if there is a klutz in your life, enjoy it! Life will never be dull, and you will always have someone who looks even sillier than you!