Inspiration is proving a fickle friend, or, perhaps, I’m expecting too much from this friendship. After a desperate rummage through the old brain pan for this week’s post, I was left with nothing, staring at the blank screen with absolutely no ideas in sight. Unfortunately, I seem to be starting more and more blog posts this way, but, I don’t want to “throw in the towel” just yet. Instead, I must constantly remind myself that there will be days when I do not feel particularly passionate about the post I write; the important thing is to keep on writing.
When inspiration takes a vacation, I try to focus on lighter topics that I can discuss with a certain level of expertise. Such topics are few and far between as I am not an expert in anything particularly useful. However, if you’d like information on social awkwardness, useless 1980’s pop and movie trivia, how to avoid your neighbors, and the joys of “hermitting,” I’m your girl. Today, I am concentrating on one other topic with which I am painfully (literally) familiar – clumsiness. (I know, it took forever, but we finally got there!)
I’ve spent many a night cringing with embarrassment over my latest clumsy incident, but today, I want to consider the positives of clumsiness. Yes, it’s true, you can find positives if you look really, really hard or are somewhat delusional.
If you’ve ever tripped over your own feet or some phantom obstacle that seems to be blocking only your path of travel, misjudged a curb, or slid down the stairs then it’s time to stop the cringe and embrace your clumsiness for without you the world would be a much duller place! For your consideration, here are three ways in which we, the clumsy and accident prone, make the world a bit brighter.
A Visual Reminder of What Not to Do
My clumsy and accident prone nature has taught me many valuable, often painful, lessons. I like to think that these many lessons have also served as a walking/tripping/stumbling Public Service Announcement on how to handle the perils of everyday life.
Had I never slipped on a random section of hallway flooring at work, the classroom full of high school students who witnessed my fall would have no idea how dangerous that particular section of flooring could be. Who knows how many unnecessary face-meets-floor incidents I prevented by sliding into a nearly complete split, despite having limited flexibility, right in front of their precious, oh-so-understanding faces?
Like most clumsy folk, my repertoire is not limited to tripping or slipping mishaps. Oh, no. Cooking utensils, hair styling implements, lint rollers (take note – very painful to remove from your hair), pants with turn-ups, and even extra long beaded necklaces have all proven potentially life-threatening. The photos above, for example, were taken after I demonstrated that one should always remember to use oven mitts when removing the lid from a boiling pan of rice in order to avoid very unpleasant steam burns.
My “health and safety” cautionary tales go on and on, which is not uncommon among the community of the clumsy or accident prone. Instead of despairing; however, we should instead consider the valuable service we provide others by sacrificing our own self-confidence and physical comfort. Our unfortunate mishaps, though they may be painful and humiliating, help keep our friends, family, and even total strangers safe. The next time our clumsiness rears its ugly head, we should proudly remember the crucial service we are providing and perhaps conclude our clumsy episode with a dramatic “you’re welcome.”
We Make Others Feel Better About Themselves
It probably goes without saying that everyone who witnesses the clumsy in action almost instantly feels better about themselves. While you’re dusting yourself off and regaining your composure, you can almost hear the thoughts of those around you:
“Whew, thank goodness I didn’t stumble down the stairs in front of my classmate.”
“I am so glad I can exit my car gracefully rather than being impaired by my clothing.”
“At least I didn’t have to explain repeatedly to my coworkers that the huge hickey-like mark on my neck is NOT a love-bite but is, in fact, a curling iron burn.”
Just think of the joy and relief we are spreading! Sure, it’s not fun for us, but it’s best not to be too selfish in these matters. We should try to accept this awesome responsibility with dignity and grace. (Let’s be honest, for most of us this is probably the only opportunity for grace to make an appearance in our lives.)
We Bring Laughter to an Otherwise Dull World
Although it doesn’t feel great at the time, remember how much humor our awkward moments of accidental, self-inflicted pain and awkwardness bring to our family, friends, and even total strangers. These individuals amble through their bleak, gray days until one of our unexpected physical bumblings imparts a ray of sunshine. Always remember – they’re not laughing AT you, they’re laughing WITH you and, obviously, only doing so after they’ve made sure you haven’t actually done yourself a serious mischief.
The time has definitely come for us, the clumsy and the accident prone, to embrace the lot we’ve been given. It’s time to reject the humiliation and accept that the seeming disconnect between our brains and our bodies is actually serving a greater purpose.
It has fallen (no pun intended) upon us to warn others of the dangers that are lurking in the most mundane of places, to provide an extra boost of confidence to the ever-present witnesses to our humiliation, and to inject a bit of sunshine into this world through our unintentional buffoonery. Let’s all try to remember this the next time we trip over the carpet, fall off a curb, grab the ONE potato that’s holding up the entire pile, or slip on a banana peel while walking down a crowded city street (yes, I HAVE actually done that).