clutz (g2)

We have been hitting on some pretty hefty topics, so I figured I would change the pace and share something a little lighter that would only be considered traumatic if I was still a teenager.

I am a clutz.

It has been a part of my general make-up my entire life. I don’t mean the run of the mill, occasional whack here and there. I mean the good-god-can’t-even-make-it-across-a-flat-surface kind of clutz.

My first realization came when I got my first 10-speed. The bike itself was probably a bit big for me yet as I think I was finishing elementary school. I was bound and determined to ride it like all the older kids in my neighborhood. Having a banana seat was for kids. Teens and adults all had the pelvis-crushing triangle seats from hell.

I was making pretty good progress and becoming a bit more confident with it when one of my socks somehow got caught up in the chain and pedals, I tried to pull my foot out, but apparently whatever movement I did caused my other sock to become ensnared on the other side. With both my feet being pulled down and around and curled, I ended up yanked off my seat and was essentially dragging my knees on the asphalt in order to stop.

I probably went a good 10-20 feet in this configuration until some kind soul in my neighborhood saw me and helped me untangle myself. Of course, my knees were a bloody mangle of asphalt and gore. My neighbor only had small bandaids but still managed to weave a pretty solid patchwork of a square to cover the heinous monstrosity my knees had become.

I walked my bike back home, sniffling along the way, convinced I would never be able to work a bike like a functioning human being my whole life. By the time I got around the block to my house, the bandages had long fallen off and the mess was running down my legs, into my shredded socks. I’m sure I was quite the sight.

As my mother was cleaning and bandaging my wounds, I was still wallowing in my miserable failure at being a big kid, a teen, the “pre-adult of awesomeness” when my mother suddenly said, “I’m sorry.” I looked at her and asked, “what for?” Considering I’d just done about the stupidest thing I had ever done (yet, I was still a kid), I could not understand why in the world she would be apologizing. I would have expected her to disown me for being such an incredible basket-case of a child. However, she said “You’re going to have an entire lifetime of this and it is all my fault.”

It took me a minute to understand what she was trying to say, then it sunk in. You know, I did seem to recall my own mother frequently incapable of basic motor skills and with at least some minor wound or bruise to show from the experience. I could see at least one at the very moment.

I think there was something sort of relieving at that moment to know that my grand exhibition in gracelessness was simply part of my genetic code and out of my control as I stopped sniffling and simply said, “ok.” At the time, I remember mentally running through a series of prior situations in which my movements were something akin to a drunken penguin in a ball pit. This was just one to add to the list.

I took a month or two off from bike riding to let the wounds, both mentally and physically, heal but eventually I managed to ride that damn bike. I cannot say I was exactly sad to see it go when it finally got old and worn, but I have to admit I felt a little badass when I finally conquered it.

I googled “clumsy ball pit” to see what wonders would arise and came up with this gem. I’m even a bit less graceful than Leonard 🙂


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