Do you ever feel the world is watching when you stumble?

For those old enough to remember the early Saturday Night Live shows, the actor Chevy Chase would emulate then President Gerald Ford in his latest misstep, physically not politically. Ford was a very decent man who became president after Richard Nixon resigned. However, while he was a good athlete, playing football in college, he was also prone to clumsiness and would fall on on occasion. Of course, his falls were nothing like what Chase would portray.

Since I am just a tad shorter than 6’5″ I draw more attention when I misstep. Fortunately, many of my missteps are not witnessed or seen by only a few. I recall the time I was walking in a parking garage blinded by the setting sun. I walked right into a I-beam that was angled downward, with it catching me across the forehead. While I did not fall, I staggered backwards like I just took a punch from Muhammed Ali. That could have caused a concussion, but fortunately, it was just a big ouch.

One of my favorite Super Bowl commercials is of the Coke delivery man who puts all of his Cokes away in the store refrigerator and then is tempted by the Pepsi in the next door over. He looks both ways, then samples a Pepsi. To his surprise and ours, the entire shelf of Pepsi’s come crashing down on the Coke worker in his uniform. Oops.

I have shared many times about my double date to the community play. It was ‘Picnic” for those keeping score. After returning from intermission, I was drinking my plastic cup of wine and as I did, my date seemed to be moving forward in her chair. In actuality, one of my chair legs had scooted off the two feet high platform and I was going backwards. The entire audience heard this loud crash in the back as I lay across the now folded chair on the floor. Except for my pride, I was unhurt. But, it was funny. Fortunately, we dated again.

While I have seen this happen in commercials, it also happened to me, but not in such a dramatic fashion. In the grocery store produce sections, it is not uncommon for the store to stack rounded fruits or vegetables into a pyramid. The store hopes people pick one off the top. That is usually the case, but if you are getting more than one, sometimes you get more sloppy with your picking technique. I do, and on occasion, I have caused some spillage as a layer will come off. Mind you, I have not caused the entire pyramid to crumble as it does in the commercials, but I have drawn some attention, as I have to restore order to the structure.

Finally, this past spring, I shared that my wife and I went for a first beach trip as the pandemic was waning. (at least at the time). For some reason, I wore some shoes I don’t wear often, as they have a more slippery bottom than others. As we were leaving a restaurant, I paused to let the waitress come in with a tray from serving folks outside. As I paused, I could feel myself falling and said aloud “I am going down.” My wife and I chuckle at that phrase now, but fortunately, I caught myself on the door rails before I followed my prediction.

Stumbling in public. The best thing to advise others of my oafishness is try not to get hurt and laugh at yourself. If you laugh, the world laughs with you. If you cry, you cry alone. Someone famous said something like that.

35 thoughts on “Do you ever feel the world is watching when you stumble?

  1. The reaction to our own mishaps is crucial regarding the reaction of those who watched it. The best thing as a first-aid reaction definitely is to laugh. It makes you appear so human 😂btw. I have times when I collect such mishaps… lol. But even if I am laughing, the ones close to me (like my kids) may not have the same reaction 😂😂

  2. I remember when I took my motorcycle course a couple months back. The instructor was funny when telling us that mistakes will happen. He said, “you will drop your bike at some point, and don’t worry, it’ll be when everyone’s watching.” He was absolutely right haha.

    • Ang, so true. It reminds me of my first time skiing. I think the first skiing lesson should be to begin on the ground with the instructor showing you how to get up. Keith

      • Especially when you’re on the flats…which is exactly where beginners fall. It is practically impossible to get a large butt up off the snow on flat ground with skis attached! 🙄

      • Linda, my brother-in-law loved cross country skiing. To me, whether down hill or flat, you need to learn both when younger and bones heal faster. Keith

  3. I have more examples of personal missteps than I’d care to count. Fortunately, most of them didn’t result in major injury (at least not more than a skinned knee) and now I can look back and laugh. Your last paragraph reminds my of a meme I saw recently: To find out if you are old just fall down. If people laugh, you are young. If people rush to help you, you are old. Seems about right 🙂

  4. jThe blessing and the curse of height. I’m not a fan of slap stick but I can relate to falling.. which is an exercise in and of itself.. it’s literally something I try to teach.💖🤣

    • Cindy, I agree on not liking slapstick. I have never been a huge fan of the Three Stooges, eg. Tell me about this falling exercise. Is it an aerobic one? I know when I do my floor exercises, pushing myself back into a standing position is part of the routine. Keith

  5. Note to Readers: I almost had a stumble at my wedding, but caught myself before it was noticeable. We walked over to light the unity candle, but had a short step up. On the way back down, I missed the step but recovered. That was a fall avoided.

  6. Glad you were not hurt in any of your falls, for then I don’t feel bad about laughing. 🙂 Keep up the great attitude about it, may as well laugh at yourself, it makes life more fun!
    Wow on being 6’5! I can just imagine how I would feel walking beside you. LOL! I am 4’10!

    • Joy, thanks. 4’10”. Now, we would be a pair walking. I have dated two women that were 5′ or shorter. We made the odd couple on the dance floor. I went to a college reunion with one of my short girlfriends and my former classmates got quite the chuckle. Keith

  7. I laughed out loud about the iBeam. Although it must have hurt like heck.

    The classic letter carrier tumble involves a huge handful of carefully sorted letters gripped in a death vice in the left hand and an armful of newspapers and magazines piled on the same arm. I experienced many tumbles, sometimes with cause (deathly ice), sometimes tripping over my own feet with nothing visible to blame but myself. I always landed face down, with the mail still in order but my knees and elbows taking a beating. It was never a pretty sight and I always hoped no one happened to be watching.

  8. Note to Readers: I just recalled a time when people were indeed watching when I stumbled. Downtown, the trees planted on the sidewalks were protected by these slatted metal grates to let the sun and water through. One cold and icy day, I hit one of those grates with a dress shoe on and down I went. I got up and walked a few paces and down I went again. It had to be funny to those watching. I was unhurt and my suit survived without tears, but the ego was bruised until I started laughing.

  9. When in doubt blame something else.
    Late 19th century British essay writer and humourist Jerome K Jerome was fond of commenting on the malicious ways of furniture with their ‘cowardly’ attacks on his person, such as bare feet. He extending this to all manner of objects, methods of transport and so forth.

  10. Note to Readers: I have written before about my wife’s Aunt Mary, the oldest sister of her mother. Aunt Mary could be found plowing her large garden even into her nineties. Years before, my father-in-law got her a tractor. But, she never took it out of first gear. One day, he heard this bam, pause, bam, pause noise. He went outside and saw Aunt Mary crashing into the barn with the tractor, it repelled and crashed again and so on. As my father-in-law ran to turn it off, he heard Aunt Mary shouting at the tractor as if it were a mule. He heard “Hee. Haw. Whoa dammit.” He said he almost peed in his pants from laughing before he got the key out.

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