I am so accident prone that I don’t even get embarrassed anymore. I am actually sort of glad that my slight misfortunes give someone something to be amused at. If you can’t laugh at yourself, you deserve to be laughed at. At my last National Guard annual training, I was running around like crazy trying to finish up a bunch of tasks, so I could tackle the next ones one my list. I ran into the personnel tent and gave my first sergeant some pertinent information that I thought he might need. I ran out of the tent, and caught my foot. I had forgotten that the tents have a three inch lip on the bottom of the doors. Normal people wouldn’t be fazed by this, but my roughly three inch inseam makes these sorts of obstacles more important to be aware of. I fell. I fell hard. I don’t do anything half-ass, and this situation was not an exception. I fell in slow motion, arms flailing. I would have gone face first into the desert petro-calcic aridisol, but something caught me. I was carrying a M249 machine gun. I guess I am not as good with controlling it as the Punisher, because it caught me before I fell. I hit my own nose with my own butt stock. I hit the ground and tried to quickly get up hoping no one would see me. I am never that lucky.
I looked up and saw SSG Leprochaun (name changed to protect his identity and keep people from trying to steal his pot o gold). He wasn’t the only person to see, but he was the least likely to let me live it down. All I could do was exclaim, “Dang, you were here to see that.” Then I had to fill my gushing nose with wadded up toilet paper. This wasn’t Charmin either. This was government issued TP, otherwise known as single ply sandpaper. It is even worse in your nose than if used on your butt. Since coming back from Iraq, there is one item I will never skimp on and that is toilet paper. Nice TP is like a quilt on your butthole.
I have a legacy of clumsiness. When I was a toddler, I fell out of my family’s potato truck. Yes, my family not only owned, but regularly drove around a potato truck. We actually moved to Idaho in that truck, and the pictures are hilarious. My mom was six months pregnant with my little sisters (twins) and Helene and I were three when we moved. The pictures are in black and white, and we looked just like the Beverly Hillbillies. There was a rocking chair strapped to the top of the truck and everything. It took three days to get from Western Oregon to Southeastern Idaho. My mom wouldn’t let my dad pay for any hotel rooms; we couldn’t afford it. Helene and I slept in the truck on my mum’s tummy, while my dad and our Saint Bernard Beatrice slept under the truck. One night it rained and unfortunately for my father, he had parked in the lowest spot in the parking lot.
Back to the original story…my father, Helene, and I were riding in the truck. I fell asleep and was leaning against the door. I guess the door latch must have been broken, because the door flew open and out I went. My dad caught Helene before she followed me out. I tumbled out of the truck onto the gravel road. I don’t really remember this part, but the image in my head when I think about it is pretty funny. I see this little toe headed girl basically bouncing and spinning headfirst continually down the road. I am sure it wasn’t like this and probably wasn’t as funny to watch. The truck was going about 40 MPH. The part I do remember is sitting on this awesome chair (it was orangle plush) with a big old blanket at someone’s house. I had survived just fine if you ignored the blood and scratches on my face. For some reason, I never really get hurt if I hit face first. This is the first memory I have.
It seems fitting that the first thing I remember is biffing it. I thought that big feet were supposed to make a good platform, but I think mine have just made me more of a clown. A super hot clown, but a clown nonetheless. My dad was privy to another big face plant a couple years back. Right after my divorce, my dad took me up to his cabin so that I could relax for a few weeks. It was a pleasant drive up. We picked up snacks at the gas station and just talked. He reassured me that I would be better of without Ben because of the different motivation levels we possess. His concern was sweet and softened my heart. Then, he had a request. He wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to become a lesbian. I let him know that I like men. He just wanted to make sure.
I thought it was entertaining that my dad was concerned about this. First, I don’t know why anyone cares about anyone else’s sexual preferences, and second, I am obviously heterosexual. Ok, well, I know I am straight. I am kind of a chick magnet, but I can’t help that. Women love me! I told my mom that people often mistake me for a lesbian and she asked me what a lesbian looks like. My reply: Obviously just like me.
We made it to that darling little mountain town. It was my first trip to the cabin, and I have never forgotten that place. I still visit regularly. Elk City is a beautiful town that has unfortunately been forgotten by the rest of the world. Any one who actually steps foot into the town could never fall into forgetfulness. I have never been anywhere so peaceful, yet so colorful and alive.
All of the color, and probably the craziness of divorce, pushed me to try things I had never done. I had never ridden a four wheeler; I had always thought enjoying all terrain vehicle meant you were siding with environmental degradation. I actually had fun. My dad and I rode along, and I was beginning to get more adventurous. Ok, ok…I was going slower than a ten year old, but I was having fun. I can’t help it if I am careful. I decided to speed up. I needed to live life! We encountered some bumps. The scaredy cat in me hit the breaks…. Well, I flipped the ATV…three times…and I guess when you crash, you are supposed to let go, not hold on for dear life…that would have prevented it from landing on me. Let me tell you, 4-wheelers are heavy. I remember looking to the left and right next to my head was a stump. Instead of landing on that knobby stump and spraying brain fragments all over the Morel mushrooms growing in its decayed flesh, my head had landed in a pillowy growth of purple wild flowers.
I heard my dad yelling to see if I was ok. He helped me lift the four wheeler off of me and I jumped up. I was fine. The only real trouble was pulling the four wheeler up the steep incline I had tumbled down. We attached the wench on the other vehicle and pulled in out in the only way my father and I would ever do it: entirely unsafely. We then pushed it to the side and rode the one back into town. The best part about being the one to get hurt was that while he went and recovered the ATV, I sat at the local bar and had a cold Amber Bach (ok, it may have been a couple more than one). I relished my luck in really having only a few scratches. I am glad I was drinking, because my intoxication kept me from noticing that my legs had rapidly begun to swell. I have never seen such an awesome design of blue and purple swelling. I should have had a tattoo done to match the natural design of my fall. That could have been a painful night, but by 5 pm, alcohol made it so that I wouldn't have felt it if a car had run me over. It is not that I would ever advocate the use of alcohol to anyone, but, hey, it's have always worked for me!