I'm not the most graceful person. I drop things and trip over my own feet. I spill and splatter and crush. And, unfortunately, I do these things most often when I have an audience to entertain.
Take for example one of the most embarrassing -- and hilarious -- spills I've taken. During sophomore year of college, my girlfriends and I decided to pack up for a long weekend at the beach. We were anxious and frenetic, so ready to be off the hall and out in the world.
Little did we know then that the hotel we'd booked was dirt cheap for a reason (you know it's bad when you refuse to take your shoes off inside), that we'd meet a hooker named Bobby Jo who mixed up margaritas in a Pringles can and bragged about losing a tooth on the motorcycle ride down, that we'd wind up with Sammy-Haggar-of-South-Carolina and his buddies permanently camped outside our door, or that we'd meet a group of military guys who became great friends (or that one of those guys would marry one of our girls).
We just wanted to be away from campus, from Greensboro, from rules and responsibilities. We made the winding trek from our third-floor dorm rooms in Ragsdale Hall to the car and back, loading up suitcases and grocery bags (my suitcases in those days) while giddy with the impending freedom. On the last trip down, I volunteered to carry the last of the beer. I didn't drink beer, but I understood its importance in our plans for a wild weekend of abandon.
There I was, the least graceful person on Earth, in sandals with zero traction, carrying a six-pack of cheap bottled beer we scored from someone else because none of us was legal, hastily charging down three flights of dorm stairs and then one last flight of stone stairs from the dorm to the parking lot. Did I mention it had rained earlier? Can you guess what happened?
Yep. I navigated the inside stairs easily, but those stone stairs were slick and my sandals were no match. I didn't just trip, I slammed down those stairs. Half backwards, legs at all angles, knees down and then back up as I hit each and every step with a different part of my body. But you know what I didn't do? I didn't break a single one of those beer bottles.
No matter where I hit on those stairs, I made sure the hand with the beer in it stayed up and away. When I finally skidded to a stop at the bottom of the stairs, that arm remained firmly perpendicular to the ground. I slowly brought it down and gently rested the container on the ground as I mentally assessed whether I was alive or dead and if all my bones had remained intact.
That was when I heard the guffawing coming from all directions. I opened one eye and looked around. Sure enough, three girls at the top of the stairs, three girls in the parking lot, any number of people walking by, and my laid out at the bottom of the stairs covered in bumps and bruises. At that point, what can you do but get up, shake it off, and laugh with the best of them? I'm laughing right now, actually. It was pretty hilarious and I still have a dent in my shin from hitting those stairs.
One day I'll have to tell all about the time I fell at the club. But for now, I'll just thank the heavens that my bones are apparently made from rubber and my spirit is just as resilient.