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Front Page » May 29, 2012 » Opinion » The knockin' the noggin propensity
Published 689 days ago

The knockin' the noggin propensity


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By Richard Shaw Sun Advocate Publisher

I was sitting on the ground in our orchard rubbing the back of my head when my wife found me.

"What are you doing sitting on the ground?" she asked.

"The leaves here looked more comfortable than in other parts of the yard," I said sarcastically. "I backed into that branch, hit my head and it knocked me down."

"Are you okay?" she asked looking at me as if it was just another piece of a long journey she has been going through for over 30 years, which it was.

"Yeah," I said as I stood up. "You know me. If it is in the way I will fall over it or bump into it."

I then ripped the branch that had thumped my gord from the tree.

"You didn't need to do that," she said scoldingly. "Let me look at your head."

"No," I said in an irritating voice because I was, after all, irritated. I may have just ripped the branch from an apple tree, but that didn't make me feel any better.

She shook her head.

"You need to stop doing this," she said obviously worrying that one day I would bang my skull on something and cause real damage. "You need to be more careful."

"I backed into this one," I said. "I don't have eyes in the back of my head!"

She knew now was not the time to discuss it. I was still hurting, and safety conversations do not go well with the recent pain of a stupid action when one is talking to me. She walked back to the house.

It was nothing new. If I had a nickel for everytime I have been a klutz in my life, well, let's just say I would have a lot more money than I do now. It is almost a daily thing for me and always has been.

When I was a kid, I was the one that dropped the fly ball that came right to me in right field. I was the one that got tripped and fell on my face when playing jump rope with the girls. I was the one that when the football came right to me it smacked me in the head instead of landing in my arms.

It only got worse in my teenage years. I constantly ran into things, fell over things, stubbed my toes on things, bumped my knees on things, well you get the picture.

I was so uncoordinated that when teams were chosen for anything, anything at all, I was amongst the last picked.

It wasn't like I was one of the smart nerd kids either. I was not that bright, nor was I coordinated. Bad, bad, combination.

As adulthood came I was able to avoid a lot of the sports things that embarrassed me in school, so that helped. Basketball was the only thing I was ever good at when it came to sports. For some reason the movement of that sport kept me from being too accident prone. Yet I was a real fouler. In the case of this sport, I provided pain instead of getting it because of my poor coordination. Still I was able to survive playing in pickup games and county recreation leagues until I was 29 when I hurt my knee going in for a layup and was knocked down (or I fell down) going through a guy who was 6'9" and weighed about 300 pounds. That was basically the end of my basketball career, except for pickup games with 10-year-old kids in the neighborhood.

I also used to run. That didn't work out too well either. It always seemed like things were in my way. I'd trip over rough edges in sidewalks or slip on some gravel. Once I even ran over a dog with my running shoes. He sprinted away after the encounter; I laid there with a cut on my butt.

Consequently I have accepted my lot in life as an uncoordinated, accident prone, mishap tending guy full of mischance, misfortune, misadventure and disaster.

All those hits, scrapes, bumps, bangs and thumps over time have made it so my ankles ache, my knees are bad and my back hurts daily. As for my head, if I went bald I would have to wear a toupee because shaving it would not be an option the way my skull probably looks.

Besides I would just probably cut myself doing it.

But all those incidents over the years has also given me a bit of an ability to predict when things will go bad. If I see something that might injure me in anyway I have convinced myself it will happen. If I am working on a car with the hood up and the wind is blowing, I put a board in to brace it up. If a bale of hay is standing alone on the top of a stack I am taking bales off of, I move it. If a hammer is laying on the work bench and I am pounding on something at the other end, I move the hammer envisioning it dancing along the workbench then falling on my toe. The list of the things I do to prevent potential (and often not so potential) accidents is endless.

Often I get this eerie feeling about things falling on me, hitting me, bumping me and striking me. I spend a lot of time doing this. Probably most of the time the potential for disaster is far less than I anticipate, but it has become a habit.

We all have our demons. Mine comes from deep inside passed on from a little boy who couldn't run the bases without tripping, couldn't land on mats when tumbling and as for high jumping, ended up with the bar almost impaling him every time he lept and then failed.

No wonder sports like pole vaulting were out of the question.

Still, even today, the unforseen, like backing into an apple tree branch still tends to stalk me.

After falling up the stairs the other night as I put the cats away in the basement (my wife says she has never seen anyone that can fall up stairs other than me) I asked her why the heck she married me, an uncoordinated dolt.

"You were a little better than nothing," she said, smiling as she looked at my shin where I had bashed it against a step.

I'm glad she did. She is the one that has put up with the groans over my miscues, mishaps and maniacal tirades over what happened.

And then she patches up the damage, both the physical and mental, with love.

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