Fear of Falling Funny, Too!

Blogger's Note: A friend recently wrote a blog post on the humor he finds in people falling down. It was not a mean-spirited piece, and inspired a lengthy comment from me. I enjoyed writing the comment enough that I decided to post it here. You can find his post at Future Priests of the Third Millenium.

I say without any ego that I rarely fall down. It is not due to natural grace in any typical sense of the notion, but rather a steadfast determination (born of years as a lesser wrestler) not to go down.

As a result, with me you see:

The Slip-Stop, in which every second or third step results in loss of footing with one foot and quick regaining with the other, like a dance with no rhythm.

The Windmill-Stomp, in which I miss a step, catch a toe, or otherwise find myself falling rapidly forward and windmilling both arms while throwing my size 13s out in front of me in grim determination to stay vertical.

The Finger-Tipper, in which my gyrations bring me close enough to falling that the fingertips of one hand are all that stands between me and utter sprawl.

The Corkscrew, in which I wind up vertical but off-center, facing some other direction that the one from which I started, and with various parts strewn about me.*

All of these can be immensely entertaining to watch, as well, judging from the response of frequent audience members such as my wife and children. And they are increasingly painful -- the Windmill Stomp and Corkscrew, in particular, tend to result in pulled muscles in my neck, back and hamstrings.

I do actually hit the ground every so often. Generally it's a Slip-Stop transformed into a reverse Windmill Stomp -- much more difficult to execute backwards, especially with a Slip-Stop already underway.

When this happens, I generally pretend to make snow angels while I search the sky for my lost wind ...
*Like a NASCAR crash, shedding parts dissipates much of the energy your body might otherwise absorb on impact ...

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