Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My Fall from Grace

I’ve always been a pretty coordinated guy.1 Of course, even the most coordinated among us — elite athletes or competitive dancers, for example — will falter if you watch them for long enough. Especially if they spot you peering in through their windows.

Despite my alleged coordination, I’m probably more likely to stumble than, say, any of you reading this sentence. The difference is in how I handle myself when such an event occurs. This is because I am what made-up agility experts call a “graceful klutz.”

What does it mean to be a graceful klutz? I’m glad you asked, hypothetical person! In mixed metaphorical terms, it means that if buildings start crumbling around me, I right the ship. Ignoring that last sentence completely, it really comes down to three major factors:
  1. I have quick hands. If an object slips from my grasp, or I accidentally knock it off a table or counter, more often than not I catch it before it hits the floor. (Notable exception: The Great Chili Explosion of 2006)
  2. I have quick feet. When I trip, I quickly regain my balance, sometimes doing a pirouette or series of backflips in the process. (The Great Plummet doesn’t count; it had nothing to do with clumsiness and everything to do with poor judgment and duplicitous moss.)
  3. I defy physics. On three separate occasions in my mid-20s, I was a little too over-zealous with the front brake on my mountain bike. In each instance my bike flipped end over end and I was thrown over the handlebars, yet I landed squarely on my feet every time, like a gymnast or an unbuttered cat.
So, why am I telling you all this? Because this past weekend, all my grace went out the window.2 Stepping over doggie gates, I repeatedly sent them crashing to the floor. Reaching for and/or stacking poker chips, I repeatedly sent them crashing to the floor. A few times my arm flailed against a glass of water and/or liquor, which would have gone crashing to the floor if other people hadn’t caught it in time. But the coup de grâce came Friday night, after eating some take-out Indian food.

Cleaning up after the meal, I confidently stacked the four half-full take-out containers in one hand, and held a couple plates and all the used silverware in the other. As I carefully stepped over our sleeping white-and-tan mutt Sonya, the top container started to slide off, and... well, you can probably imagine what happened next.

But thankfully, you don’t have to, since I’m about to tell you the whole thing.

I moved my other hand — the one holding the dishes and silverware — to try to catch the sliding container, at which point the silverware decided that sliding looked like fun and wanted in on the action. The two containers that hit the floor may not have popped open, but it hardly mattered, since they were followed in their descent by the serving spoons. Sonya’s face and front paws got spattered with bright orange sauce from the Tikka Masala, some of the redder Baingan Bharta, and bits of spinach from the Saag Paneer. I did my best to wipe her clean, but those colors — especially the Tikka Masala’s orange — are quite potent, and apparently dogs don’t like it when you stand over them and rub heartily at their face.

I don’t know if my weekend of gracelessness was simply a fluke, or if my title is indeed going to be shortened to “klutz” from now on. All I know is that for a couple days, our dog smelled less like a dog and more like an Indian buffet. Poor Sonya Masala.

Two days later, while eating leftovers, I somehow ended up with Saag on my shoulder.

1 We’re talking motor controls here, not fashion sense. I have no qualms about wearing white after Labor Day. Or socks with sandals. Or chains and a mask.
2 We’re talking about a figurative window here, though the way things were going, I wouldn’t have been surprised either way.


  1. he he...shoulder Saag.

    As a member of klutz royalty, let me be the first to welcome you to our esteemed, if not be-slinged kingdom.

  2. I stand beside Scott and welcome you home.

    The Great Chili Explosion crossed into the anti-physics league. Chili simply should not land like that, on its feet like an unbuttered cat.