Shaken, Not Stirred

Humorous Essays and Other Stuff

Gerald Andersen

Gerald Andersen
Califon, New Jersey, United States
January 06
"“When I have one martini, I feel bigger, wiser, taller. When I have a second, I feel superlative. When I have more, there's no holding me.” - William Faulkner "I grow old...I grow old. I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled." -T.S. Eliot


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JANUARY 12, 2013 7:54AM

Fall Down, Go Boom

Rate: 40 Flag
I don't like falling: it's always embarrassing, and usually hurts, and for me, just a few days past my 68th birthday, increasingly dangerous.

I try to avoid it by watching where I am going and being careful on ladders. However, sometimes old age and gravity convene to create an exciting episode in which I am the featured player.  

Kathie, my wife, and I had gone to the Nellie Hoffman House to go through some pictures for a brochure we were doing on the restoration of the building. The house is an early 19th century stone structure owned by the town, and we both are involved in the restoration: she on the management side, I on the labor. In fact, a friend and I have done most of the work of taking the place apart and putting it back together as it once was. 

We recently installed and finished wide plank floors to replace those that had been torn up in an earlier renovation. To protect them from muddy shoes, I had laid down a roll of roofing underlayment. I neglected to tear the paper off and remove the roll, thus sowing the seeds of my own near destruction.

 I was on my way across the floor to look in a cabinet for more pictures, walking(like a good boy) on the paper when I stepped on the roll.

Whenever I start to fall I am always convinced that I can right the ship by flapping my arms and doing my best imitation of the scarecrow in Wizard of Oz, or in this case, a log rolling competitor in one of those reality shows about Alaska. When I realize this is futile, I just sort of give up and go with the flow. I heard Kathie say: " What are you DOING?", but I didn't have time to reassure her by saying: "I am falling toward this very hard,  and well finished, I must say, floor, but don't worry I am optimistic that it won't hurt too much and the damage will be manageable. Let me get back to you, I will have more information in a split second." 

I won't say my life flashed before my eyes, but in my slow motion descent, I recall wondering if I would be able to get wire wheels and white walls on my walker.

I hit the floor with a thunderous crash like one of the giant trees laid low by hurricane Sandy and landed squarely on my right hip. "Don't move!," my wife shouted. I knew from her tone she was just seconds away from calling the emergency squad and soon I would be surrounded  by semi-trained, volunteer medics, strapped to a board, and hauled past a gawking crowd to the ambulance. "There goes Andersen, poor old thing."

I bounced up. "It's cool, I'm fine. Just shaken up a little." I said as Roman candles of pain skyrocketed through my body.

As I sit writing this with an ice pack on my hip, all seems to be well. I went to the gym and actually made it through my workout without sobbing.

I am making the best of it and being positive about the experience. I examined the purple, pink and red bruise on the right side of my  pale, white buttocks and actually thought it looked like a spectacular sunset over the Arctic snow cap.

"Hey, Kath, will you freshen up my martini. It's a little hard getting out of this chair."

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fall, old age, humor, hip, injury

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Gerald, you bounce! Seriously, I'm glad it wasn't more serious. Lots of lotion on the bruise, okay? It brings out the colors. :)

I'm really glad you & OS are functional.
gerald I am just like you.. If there is something I will find it to fall over. Now it's my first winter in 14 years and I am petrified on ice and snow. If you hear a large thud its me..:)
some of my finest trips are to the floor
Hope you´re doing better and recovering well, nothing broken´s the important thing, I think.
Now, maybe they'll finally let you move from labor to management. Mend soon.
Somewhere in the background, I hear Tweety Bird laughing....!

Sooooo........ now you and Mr. Newton can discuss gravity from ....... shall we say..... an insider's point of view! Let us hope that you don't need to have a discussion with Hippocrates as well......

Funny what YOU SAY flashed before your eyes - but what REALLY flashed? Glad your fingers still work to write this! R
Frankly I'm getting an uncomfortable Barthian centaurish image and ought carefully move along--somedays it's best to holster that nail gun. Hmmm lemon drop martins and flip-flops.
Try skipping next time. I think you're walking days are over!:-)
Isn't it funny how we fall in slow motion! I have a cracked rib from falling and hitting a metal door at work and then to add insult to injury I fell when I hit a patch of mud the other day and just sat there while the dog, muddy paws and all made a mess of me...I get it and hey be careful out there and work the bruise to your best advantage :)
No fall, go boom, it hurts!!! :D

There is a safe way to fall, and fortunately you seem to have figured it out in real time. :)
This will sound shallow, but at least your "evidence" is where the sun don't shine. The last time I fell, I face planted it on a flight of cement stairs next to my office building and ended up with twin shiners and a trip to the emergency room. Small comfort, I'm sure, but I wanted you to feel better.
My mother did something like that the other day though I'm not clear on where she landed. No bruises, though, and no pain.

She celebrated her 89th birthday recently and I'm more and more believing she is a freak of nature.
So you're over the speed limit. I'd bet you had a few spectacular stylish falls like this when you were a kid too. Clumsy is inbred, you can't outrun it (believe me, I've tried).

Love the comments. Chuck, you hoot, good to see ya.
I'm so glad you're okay - and left with an apparently beautiful bruise, to boot! As someone who also falls down a lot (general klutziness and sinus/inner ear issues), I LOVED the comparison with Scarecrow in "The Wizard of Oz"!
Heal well and watch your step. We watch ours as well.
I am familiar with the motivation you expressed in bouncing up from such a fall-hope you are feeling better now.
Where's the photo? I can't remember the last time I fell...what were we talking about?
After watching what my husband went through when he fell (often) I know the hopeless feeling while watching. I also know the feeling of falling, glad you are only bruised in ego and body.
This was a hurtful sort of way. I' ten days shy of 61. Leaving the grocery store last night, suddenly aware I should be careful in the parking lot and walking slower in search of ice patches, Florida flashed before my eyes. Damn...and so it begins.
Gerald, second time today you have "cracked me up". so glad it's happy hour at Gerald's place. Please stay seated. You look fab in purple.
Too bad you're not filled with stuffin' like the Scarecrow; it wouldn't have hurt when you fell! I don't know what's more impressive - that you're rehabbing an old house or that you "bounce up" after falling down hard. Glad all you suffered was a picturesque bruise.
Undoubtedly, falling is the one thing us oldies try to avoid. Seems like nowadays even a stubbed toe is matter of painful concern. Glad you are OK.
Oh no! I don't want you to fall. Really enjoyed this. Congrats on the editors pick.
i'll have more information in a split second.

i really liked that.

glad you are okay, gerald.
Love the title of your post. I slipped on a water spill in a grocery store a couple of years ago and ripped my hamstring. Wish I'd known about the martini cure....
Falling is a hazard of age which comes too soon for many of us. I took a nasty one in my late 30's and broke a shoulder (right) and hip (yes, conveniently, left), so I could practice while I'm young. Stay upright.
My left upper arm is sore as hell this morning from...I thought of you yesterday the instant I landed on it on the snow-covered ground after I tripped over a garden hose while trying to brush snow off the satellite dish so I could get my Internet service back. Fortunately the ground wasn't frozen and the snow and leaf accumulation softened the fall. I was more embarrassed than anything, and I think the squirrels are still chattering about it. I did get the service back, tho.
So why didn't you touch on 64? Thats an equally famous date? Congrats anyways.
........(¯`v´¯) (¯`v´¯)
............... *•.¸.•* ♥⋆★•❥ Thanx & Smiles (ツ) & ♥ L☼√Ξ ☼ ♥
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At an age close to yours, I just had my first falling accident where I broke two ribs. I'd never broken a bone in my body before. It is humbling, but by the same taken allows me to appreciate that I've been able to avoid such accidents until now. I think it's a feeling I need to get used too.
[r] gerald, you are a fabulous writer. thanks for the ride ... and the fall. take care of they precious self! best, libby
oops typo... THY precious self!!!
ForeverMom is 69 and is famous for her many falls. Last week she fell off a kitchen chair while holding a sharp knife. Luckily, with so much practice, she avoided anything except being shaken up. We really have to keep an eye on her!
-FatRocco and StillFeralRusty
@Matt Paust - every fall, get out your ladder and (without falling off, please!) go up to your satellite dish and coat it with Pam or similar cooking spray. This makes the snow slide off.