Everybody’s got some talent. Even those of us who feel woefully untalented can do something better than somebody else, whether it’s singing opera, designing a beautiful flowerbed or unloading the dishwasher in less than two minutes. For me, one thing has always come easy. I can confidently say I’m clumsier than almost all of you.
Just in case you’re doubting me, I’m going to take you on a trip down memory lane. (I am sure this is the summer vacation you’ve been dreaming of, so you’re welcome.) Let’s travel to Fouke, Ark., circa 1996, when I was the only kindergartner on a first-name basis with the school nurse. I’ll never forget you, Nancy!
I visited Nancy at least once a week, usually because I twisted my ankle and cut my knee. It was always the same knee. The first few times I did this, it wasn’t so bad. Nancy bandaged me up, told me to be careful and said she’d see me soon. That woman must have been clairvoyant. I should have asked her for lottery numbers.
Surprisingly, there was a miraculous week in October 1996 when I didn’t fall once. My knee was healing from previous falls, and I was so excited that it could keep healing. Walking past the playground with a friend, I joyfully said, “Wow, I haven’t fallen down once this week!” I think we all know what happened next.
My knee met the sidewalk, and I met with Nancy once more. By this point, everyone in my family had nicknamed me “Grace,” which didn’t upset me too much. I figured it was better than being called “Clumsy Loser” or “Falling Failure.” Anyway, I had already accepted my fate. I knew I’d probably keep taking tumbles, and I didn’t really care either way.
And so it was. Before graduating from high school, I suffered a broken nose, bruised sternum, several sprained ankles, a couple ATV accidents and countless falls. I remember injuring myself at least six different ways one summer, including an ER visit during our family trip to Florida. On that trip, I stupidly caught my foot under the hotel door, and the door caught all my toenails. Looking back, I’m not sure how my mom didn’t just kill me to cut down on medical bills.
Fast forward to today. You’d think I would have figured out how to avoid falling all the time by now, but don’t underestimate my lack of spatial awareness! I’m still the queen of falling up stairs and tripping over grass. Just this weekend, Gideon and I were walking home from downtown Eureka Springs when the sidewalk jumped out at me. I was startled at its audacity. My ankle twisted, and my knee landed on the uneven concrete.
A woman stopped her car next to us, asking if I needed help. We were almost done with our walk and I’m stubborn as an anti-vaxxer, so I thanked her and said I could take care of it on my own. When Gideon offered to help me bandage the wound 15 minutes later, I told him I appreciated his kindness.
“But I’m definitely more qualified to do this,” I said, Neosporin in hand. “It’s my talent!”
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Samantha Jones is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com.