Uncle Bob had been talking about a recent tumble he took and I began to think about the numerous falls I had experienced over the years and my impression that the tendency to do so runs in our family on my dad’s side as I had seen my father unintentionally sit into a heap of snow along my driveway and my sister took a nasty fall down a staircase in their home in Illinois several years ago.
My uncle said that a good way to fend off the grim reaper is by getting rid of all throw rugs in the house. I thought of the time that as I entered the house from the garage, slipped on the throw rug and I tore my right rotator cuff. The pain was so bad I had to sit down to determine if anything was broken and an MRI later confirmed the tear.
Throw rugs are a favorite accessory of mine and I have several throughout the house, but I certainly am more careful stepping on or around them now and I try to anchor them under the piece of furniture they are front of. They brighten a room, hide a worn spot in an aging floor covering or cover other flaws.
When I walked around business parks in California doing sales presentations I remember hurrying forward and looking backwards when a handful of fine gravel acted like a plate of ball bearings sending me forward so hard that the knee of my slacks was quite frayed and the skin on my knee was painfully skinned.
Getting older and out of shape did not stop me from taking the soccer ball my son received for a birthday and saying I’d show him how to use it. I knew very well as I played in high school during physical education classes. Never mind how many years earlier that had been, the principal hadn’t changed, had it? One good swift kick to the ball in our driveway took my feet out from under me and as I peeled myself up from the ground, that lesson was over.
After neatly tip toing through the icy patches in a parking lot at work, getting into the car and going on to my next stop and safely back into the car and finally home and up the porch, opened the front door, took a step to enter the front hallway and like a ton of bricks I landed on everything I had been carrying and none the worse for the crash, was mad as a wet hornet that I somehow fell again.
The amazing thing is probably that I have not broken a bone in any of my many sudden slaps with the ground or driveways. That is why my cousin Theresa is convinced that I am going to roll down the stairs to the basement and die from hitting the cement floor. She threatened to come here and nail the door to the basement shut. Hard to do my laundry that way.
Her other fear is that if I don’t go rolling down the stairs, I will miss-step while leaning to or fro in an effort to capture just the right view of some object I must get a picture of and will end up in some crevasse never to be seen again.
I don’t know if it is in the Horvath genes, or if it is the old folks shuffle, and while removing throw rugs would probably help, I’ve caught my shoe on the step going up into the kitchen from the family room, catapulting a plastic bowl of pistachio shells high into the air. I’m still not sure if I found them all yet – it’s a little like finding evergreen needles in the rug or behind the couch a year after you’ve thrown out the Christmas tree.
One time I stumbled on some fair sized rocks in a driveway and Theresa said if I fell on our first day in New Mexico, she’d kill me. A little harsh, but considering she nearly had a heart attack when I tripped on the upstairs flooring in a Deli while she went downstairs to get us some drinks (fruit juice only) I think we were in New York and it was the opening day at the Deli – the owner looked a little pale himself imagining law suits, I guess. I was quite bruised for a few weeks, but after some cold water and time we went on with our business and of course I am not one to sue because my feet catch on things.