Image by davidgsteadman

Do you ever picture me in your mind as a graceful, poised individual?  Please allow me to disabuse you of that notion.

A constellation of bruises typically dots my legs, battle scars from such heroic feats as emptying the garbage or watering the garden.

Although I’ve hit my head many times, my forehead has two main craters.  The first was the unfortunate result of an ill-fated dance move, performed in the stairwell of the dormitory where I lived when I was teaching at a boarding school.  In the midst of attempting to execute a herky – that classic cheerleading move beloved by our pal the Kitchen Witch – in celebration of having all of my charges safely tucked into their beds, I slipped on the apparently non-non-skid floor and banged my head on the lowest stair.  My right temple swelled to the point where it looked like I was smuggling a baseball underneath my skin.  The bad news is that I sustained this injury six weeks before my wedding; the good news is that, except for a significant dent that is still there today, I was not mistaken for a triceratops on my wedding day.

The next year I earned my second head dent at a Bruce Springsteen concert at an outdoor venue.  Thinking I would outsmart my fellow concert-goers and avoid enormous lines, I snuck to the bathroom at the end of the last song before the encore.  My plan went off without a hitch until my forehead collided with a drunken gentleman’s elbow while I was walking back to my seat.  I ended up spending that encore in the medical tent, assuring the paramedic that I didn’t have a concussion despite Baseball II that was swelling up as I spoke.

My klutziness isn’t limited to physical injury, mind you.

All of my writer’s notebooks are warped from the water and Diet Coke I have spilled on them.  Our oatmeal colored wall-to-wall carpeting is dotted with the vaguest traces of the coffee I have spilled on it too many times.  A CSI technician would have a field day trying to carbon date the different splatter patterns.

Indeed, much of my klutziness involves food products.  Last week I dribbled tomato sauce down a t-shirt I’d had since eighth grade, sent to me by my soon-to-be high school.  Later that day, foiled by a tricky wrapper, I managed to splatter an entire carton of Greek yogurt down another shirt (leading me to conclude that healthy eating is for the birds; after all, I have never been assaulted by a chocolate chip cookie).

Yup.  I am a klutz.  A big one.

Who is the klutz in your family?


25 responses to “Oops!

  1. Uh, ME. I’m hugely klutzy. Have broken an arm, a leg, several ribs, and a couple of toes. The toe was recent and it HURT. I broke it tripping as I ran up the stairs holding a laundry basket. Nice. I’m always bruised too! xox

  2. Carl cannot understand at all how a human being can be so clumsy as I am. “Can’t you just pay better attention?” he asked me once, in honest bewilderment. I gently explained that I DO pay attention, I just can’t help the clumsiness, and if he wanted to stay married to me he had better never ask me that again.

    I took figure skating lessons for years, and even though the worst of my injuries have come from the ice, I also credit it with the fact that I can walk through a room at all (usually) without crashing into anything along the way. I’ll take the sprained ankle and mild concussion(s) for the ability to walk a mostly straight line!

  3. Oh, the stairwell fall! I flinched! I’m clumsy too (despite being quite athletic…how does that work?) and food? Forget about it. If I eat it, I’ll spill it all over myself (usually if I’m about to go to a meeting or trying to make a decent impression).

  4. Oh, I am definitely the klutz in my family. The only place I’m free from harm is in a body of water.

  5. Let’s just say that the word “concussion” was probably spoken by my pediatrician, in that laconic nasal drone, as manny times as “low grade infection.”

  6. I got a good chuckle (sorry) when reading this. REALLY glad you are all in one piece, says the woman nursing the latest broken toe – the second this summer.

    Need I really provide details?

  7. Oh my god, I am laughibg so hard right now! I TOTALLY picture you poised and graceful. I am a huge klutz as is my 5 year old. My husband is always shaking his head. Seriously I am still laughing about the herky. This is awesome.

  8. I just had a good laugh. I never imagined you as a klutz but I think it’s simply charming . 🙂

  9. This pregnancy had killed any sort of cordination that I ever had. Especially when food is involved. I drop just about anything that I touch. You can see the evidence in the grease stains that now pepper most if my maternity shirts.

    • I wonder if there is any scientific study about increased clumsiness during pregnancy. I know that my own klutziness reached new heights during all three of mine. Nice to know I’m not alone. 🙂

  10. Er, you’re worse than a klutz, you’re accident prone! Those huge bumps look really scary and I hope you’ll never get more of them.

    I’m the queen of klutz at my house and it looks like I passed on the gene to my oldest. I drop everything, breaking glasses, plates, cups. I spill things all the time.

    Recently I was kneeling down in front of my open fridge to get something from the bottom shelf. When I got up, my pants belt caught the middle door shelf and yanked it off the fridge, sending all of its contents on the tile floor. I broke several glass jars, including blackberry preserves and pickles. Mmmm, what a combination. I so wanted to take a photo of my klutzy moment but my kids were around and I wanted to keep up the glass.

    Now, I have to admit I can make art of my klutzy accidents. I even blogged on one of them I’m really proud of: http://perfectingmotherhood.wordpress.com/2010/08/15/how-to-make-yogurt-bunny-klutzy-moment/

  11. Funny post, Kristen! My son will, without fail, dump a glass of whatever he’s drinking on the floor. Last night it was lemonade. Then he’ll always clean it up badly so we stick as we walk. Ho hum. Yet, if we put him on a mountainside for some hiking, his nickname is the billy goat. He can fly up the mountain and down without looking at where he’s walking and run while he’s doing it!

  12. I, as well, am a klutz. I am the clumsiest person I know. In fact, I have two massive black bruises (one on each leg) as we speak, and no idea how I acquired them (because I run into that many things)! I am also the human napkin. It’s amazing that I’ve not maimed others.

  13. My middle son is the world biggest klutz, only to be followed by his father. Joshua, the youngest is closing in to second place. I cannot imagine that their coordination is that bad, even if they are the offspring of two totally uncoordinated people. I don’t even feel graceful walking. How is that even possible?

    Thanks for the laugh this morning!

  14. I’m totally the clumsy one. I think one of the worst side effects of pregnancy was increased clumsiness. I was afraid to leave the couch! I’ve sprained and fractured just about every part of my body, my knees tell tales of all the falls, and my right pinky toe toenail never grew back right after stubbing it on a concrete divider while crossing the street in flip flops.

    • All of these comments are starting to make me wonder if the population at large is in fact more klutzy than I’d realized. Or maybe klutzy people are just drawn to blogging. Perhaps we feel safer around computers than in the outdoors where injury can befall us at any time. 🙂

  15. There is a reason my nickname is Klutzy Cathy. Seriously. I’ve had six concussions (I blame my poor memory on this fact), I’ve broken multiple bones multiple times along with an assortment of stitches and the like. No lie – when I was in 5th grade I went to the emergency room so frequently they knew me by name. Sad but true.

  16. Me. I’m the klutz who keeps cutting the tip of my finger off.

  17. At home, I eat spaghetti with a bib. I don’t know why they don’t give out bibs in restaurants. Enough said about that.

    I also recommend you get a coffee colored rug.

    Those goose bumps you got sound scary–as if you were on a blood thinner. Your blood tests are normal, I hope!

  18. I am the klutz. Spilled milk, water and other stains often appear on my shirt and the sad thing is that I don’t know how they get there sometimes. My clumsiness is something that provides for a good chuckle (for others!). Love the light-hearted post.

  19. Liz from your New Haven life

    Kristen, I follow your blog whenever I can–and, being the relatively technologically unconnected person that I am, yours is actually the *only* blog that I follow–but this post compelled me actually to comment (even more than your stories of teaching, Mets, and other things that conjure up memories of when you lived ten minutes away). I had completely forgotten your Bruce Springsteen story, but it reminded me with very full force that there is nothing even close to a Kristen stand-in (stunt double?) in my local life anymore, and that is a darn shame! I hope you are doing well and I love “eavesdropping” on your life and family.

    • Liz! So great to “see” you here. And I’m glad you can testify to my Springsteen concert-induced goose egg and black eye that I sported during finals week at school lest anyone think I’m exaggerating.

      Thank you for chiming in and for your kind words. Husband and I were just thinking of you and our shared viewing of the “Wallace & Gromit” movie when we introduced “The Wrong Trousers” to the boys last week.

      Hope all is well with you and yours.


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