Saturday, October 9, 2010

It's autumn, so why not fall?

One of the most embarrassing moments of my life happened when I was a senior and was late for English class. All of the other students had settled in and the teacher was taking roll when I stepped up into the portable classroom and caught my foot in the doorway. Not only did I tumble big-time, but my backpack flew over my shoulder and landed in front of me. The commotion caused everyone to turn around and burst out in laughter. I could only sheepishly smile as I made my way to the front of the classroom, second row, where I sat red-faced for all to see. Even my teacher -- my kind, sweet teacher -- could not help laughing at the tumble, which did not result in physical injury but certainly injured my pride. I didn't blame my classmates for laughing, as I would have done the same. The fact that the laughter continued on and off for about half an hour didn't help, but I deserved it. I heard the "have a nice trip? see you next fall" line about half a dozen times. So that stood alone as my most embarrassing tumble for about a quarter-century ... until this morning. My wife and I were enjoying a leisurely walk in our neighborhood when we passed by (ironically) the house of my former high school biology teacher, who was outside with two other people. We exchanged pleasantries as I turned my head with a smile, and suddenly my left foot caught a raised portion of sidewalk and I took a tumble worthy of my high school days. There were only four witnesses for this fall, not a whole classroom, but I was just as embarrassed. I bounded right up and kept walking as our neighbors asked if I was alright. I joked that I should sue the homeowner as my wife began suppressing her laughter while trying to look sympathetic. I bruised my left knee and scraped both palms, though the injuries were minor. I couldn't move on and turn the corner quickly enough. At least I could walk away from the scene of the tumble this time; no sitting at the front of class listening to the snickers.

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