By Amy McCollom
Remember the old “Pink Panther” movies with the bumbling, awkward inspector who was always causing disasters wherever he went? I just love those movies, and I think I understand why. That bumbling, awkward inspector reminds me of myself.
Ever since I was a kid, I have found myself in awkward predicaments. One time while on a fishing trip with my family, I smuggled a bag full of strange looking nuts I found under a tree, home to feed the squirrels that lived in our maple tree in the front yard. Little did I know, that the entire second grade was going on a nature walk to “collect leaves from different trees” the next day, and just so happened to walk down my street. When the teachers spied hundreds of strange nuts under our big maple tree, they were quite confused. And I was quiet as a mouse.
They were so intrigued, that they called a teacher from the high school to come help identify the tree, which he wasn’t sure, being it was bearing nuts. I was glad my parents were not home at the time, and also happy when they finally moved on to the next tree.
Not only do I find myself in awkward situations, I also fall victim to strange injuries. I don’t know if you would call me accident-prone, careless, or just a goofy-goober; but I think these are not your run of the mill accidents. I once cut the top of my knuckle off of my middle finger while trimming my child’s hair. I once impaled my hand with a porcupine quill, which I kept in my jewelry box, while reaching for a barrette. I tore ligaments in my thumb and was in a wrist splint for six weeks from walking my dog (he saw a squirrel and I had the leash laced over my thumb). I dislocated my shoulder doing Beginner Yoga With Jan on a YouTube video. I got a concussion while getting an X-ray of my knees (the lead apron fell and I bent over to pick it up and whacked my head on a metal bar in front of me and nearly passed out.)
I got a broken nose holding my baby (the little head banger.) I sustained a broken rib from being pregnant with twins. I swallowed my mouth guard in my sleep (I was dreaming I was eating carrot sticks) and had to have an upper GI scope. I twisted my elbow by getting my sleeve caught on a doorknob at my house (which happens to me a lot.) I got a freezer burn with blisters on my hand at the grocery store because I had to climb into the freezer to reach the ice cream I wanted to buy. A burden of being short.
Once I nearly choked to death on a crunch berry while eating Cap’n Crunch cereal shortly after moving to our house. When I couldn’t dislodge it after a couple of seconds, I was going to try and go outside before I passed out because I figured someone would see me lying in the yard and call 911. Fortunately, the act of getting up off of the couch helped to dislodge the cereal from my throat and saved my life. And most lately, I fell down a heat duct at my house. It was a 3 by 2 hole, and the metal grate was removed because my husband had been cleaning it, but the sweeper had become clogged with paper, so he was unclogging it and I didn’t notice the metal grate was missing until it was too late. Bruised but not broken, a little worse for the wear perhaps. I need to look down more often.
The older I get, the more careful I am going to have to be. I don’t bounce back quite as quickly as I used to. I have aches and pains that last a lot longer and I never know when the pain is just going to stay with me. My doctor and physical therapist told me that my bones are deteriorating and there is little they can do to stop it, and pain is unfortunately just part of the process. This body might fail, but my heavenly body can fly!
The last time we visited a cemetery, one of my kids said, “I wish they would put on there what each person died of.” Yeah, that might be good. It could be a lesson for the living on how to stay alive and healthy.
“Pete died from smoking. Don’t smoke.”
“Jane died from drinking tequila and fell while dancing on a table. Don’t drink tequila and dance on tables.”
“Here lies Joe. He died while riding his motorcycle across the Grand Canyon on a thin wire. Don’t do stupid stuff like Joe.”
Somehow, though, I think my tombstone might read:
“Amy The Great, while riding her tamed brown bear through the countryside, was struck in the head by a low-flying awkward raven, and she passed away quickly from a head injury. She never knew what hit her. The raven survived the impact, but was then eaten by the bear.”