Monday, February 4, 2013

Childhood Accidents

This post was inspired in a kind of roundabout way. Laura and I were chatting about childhood crushes and how we were both enchanted with Shaun Cassidy. (If you just said "Who?", please ignore me when I start sobbing quietly) I was too tall & fat  (and poor) to wear the bell bottom jeans emblazoned with Shaun's face, but I did have the bracelet. Laura had the jeans and was lamenting that they'd gotten torn when she tripped while running for a ride to school and she still had a scar on her knee from the fall.

This got me thinking about some of my more spectacular wipe-outs. I was never what you would call a graceful child. I wasn't even in graceful's neighborhood. My inability to walk in a straight line without tripping over my own feet (or air molcules, lines on the pavement, and pocket lint) comes from my equally klutzy mother. Here, in no particular order, are some of my greatest hits:

I still have a scar from a childhood merry-go-round incident. Yes, I managed to jack myself up on a carousel. It’s a talent. I was trying to jump on while the other kids on it were trying to slow it down/stop it. THEY knew I wasn't going to make it- I just wish I did. I wobbled on the edge, grabbed a rail, still fell halfway off and got dragged around the circle for 3 revolutions. The base of the carousel was concreted and of course that's what my knees scraped the whole way around. I also managed to fall off a see-saw in the same park when I was 6 feet in the air. No scars, but I saw stars for a week after landing on my head.

One of my better accidents was something out of a Tom & Jerry cartoon. I was about 12 and chasing one of the neighborhood brats through the woods behind our apartment complex. Now, I knew those woods like the back of my hand, but I was so mad and intent on committing mayhem that I forgot to pay attention to where I was going. Forgot to duck and ran right into a thick, low lying branch, chest first. My newly developing, somewhat painful chest, I might add. The friend that was following said I made this horrible “ooooof” sound, and then somehow managed to go OVER the branch headfirst and landing flat on my back. That was the last time I ran through the woods. Come to think of it, it may be the last time I ran, period.

Then there was the time my friend Jennifer and I were strolling through Roses Department/Discount Store in junior high. I stepped on something on the floor- we never found out exactly what it was- and sure enough, my feet went up, my head went down, and the resulting thud could be heard store-wide. Along with me screaming, "SHIT!"  (the standard accident call, based on the number of times my mom & I have screamed it)

I also tripped over my own feet while getting off the school bus in high school. (Yeah, lost any cool points I had that day) I had my walkman (forbidden at school) on, tumbled down the bus steps with my usual war-cry (see above) and landed at the feet of the assistant principal. He managed to keep a straight face while he helped me to my feet, ignored the walkman, and sent me on my way. I was about 6 feet away when I heard the muffled snort of laughter explode from him.

Bonus story: Poor Shawnte.

Shawnte was an on/off friend in junior & senior high school. She was a year behind me and lived a few buildings away in my complex. Poor girl was long limbed & almost painfully skinny, and the butt of a lot of jokes for her gangly appearance.

The apartment complex could never decide on an theme for the grounds, so they were constantly erecting and dismantling fences. The day in question, the fences were sort of down- there were stakes and ropes along the front border of the property to indicate where the next build should be. This is important.

The complex also could never decide where the school buses should pick us up. Some years it was at the front entrance of the complex, some years it was at the back. In retrospect, the back was a safer option- that entrance was in a residential area. The front entrance was on a busy street that fed into one of the busiest streets in Wilmington. That week, we were being picked up out front. It was busy, and in a rare moment of serendipity, the junior & senior high buses arrived at the same time.

Shawnte lived in a building at the end of the main drive into the complex. She'd missed the bus a lot that year and her mother was NOT happy about it. So when she stepped out of the building and saw BOTH buses at the end of the drive, she panicked and went into Road Runner mode, screaming "wait for me!" as she ran.

Most of us felt sorry for her (her mom had blasted her in front of most of us on more than one occasion) so we started calling to the driver to wait. He did, much the the consternation of the cars backing up in each direction, and they started leaning on their horns. Shawnte put her head down and ran even faster.

The problem? She wasn't aware of the 'fencing' the management had erected. And she was going so fast, with her head down, that she didn't see it. I was just about to get on my bus and had a clear view of what happened next:

Shawnte ran- well, attempted to run- through the rope. It didn't break, but it DID stretch and she got up to the third step onto the bus before it snapped back into place. Since it was at waist level on her, it flung her backward off the bus with her folded in half over it and launched her a good 20 feet backward. She landed flat on her back and didn't move.

*crickets* Everything stopped for a minute. Nobody was pounding on their horns, Nobody moved. Then, lord forgive us, everyone burst into laughter. I stopped laughing when I realized she hadn't moved and got off my bus to check on her. Jennifer got off their bus and came with me.  The bus drivers put the buses in park and joined us.  Luckily she wasn't seriously hurt, but it totally knocked the wind out of her. We got her up and onto the bus and life went on for another day...

No comments:

Post a Comment