Last week I had a New Year's revelation. Yeah, I know it's supposed to be a resolution, but I've never had much luck with those and besides, it's not like you get to choose your light bulb moments. They're notorious for bursting into your head without warning. Like at one-twenty-three last Monday morning when I attempted to roll over in bed and every muscle in my body screamed loud enough to wake my husband. And that was when it hit me.
Falling down is bad.
It seems obvious in retrospect. For some reason it was a lot less so when I was standing in the rental shop at the ski slope telling the guy behind the counter, "Yep, a snowboard. Definitely."
Snowboarding looks so cool, like surfing a frozen wave. Swish, swish, swish. Reality is more like swish, slip, slam! Repeat every ten to fifteen yards for the length of the slope. Insert other S words as needed.
Have you ever stepped onto an icy sidewalk, felt both feet fly up in the air and crashed onto the back of your head? Congratulations. You've completed lesson number one in snowboarding. For lesson number two, sit on your living room floor, tie both feet to a plank and attempt to stand up while a friend jerks the board out from under you. Are we having fun yet?
I actually improved a lot over the course of the day, assuming success equals being able to stay upright long enough to work up serious momentum before crashing. And I've recovered faster than I expected, given my inability to fully extend my spine the next morning. A week later all but the biggest bruises have faded and I can turn my head past forty-five degrees in either direction. I can hold a coffee cup again, too, although it'll be a few more days before my thumb stops paining me too much to open my car door.
The only body part still giving me real grief is my left quadriceps muscle, and that was an aggravation of a prior injury. Other people get tennis elbow. Golfer's wrist. Rub their knee and mutter about how it must be gonna snow because their old football scar is acting up. Meanwhile, I am nursing a persistent case of Poop Scooper's Thigh.
What can I say? I clean the barn very aggressively. When the pitchfork stuck in a particularly tough pile of manure I reared back and stomped on it with my right foot, so hard one of the metal tines snapped off, the fork slipped, and I did a passable imitation of cheerleader splits, complete with the high-pitched scream and flailing arms. Now every time I do anything strenuous it gets tight and sore and I gimp around pretending I tripped over the dog because even that's less embarrassing than slipping in the…stuff.
But at least that was an accident. The snowboarding I did on purpose. And kept doing, even after the thirty-fourth time I went splat! Hopefully a couple of weeks of bursting into tears every time I climb stairs will be enough to convince me that falling down is to be avoided at all costs. If I should get another wild hair, my husband is prepared to take the advice of one of the ski patrollers.
"If she even mentions it, nail her shoes to the living room floor," he advised. "Then walk by every minute or so and knock her over. It's just like snowboarding without buying a lift ticket."
The way I do it, that's about right.
**Yes, there is video, but only of my first run. I did get better. Honest. Especially after I figured out I had the bindings backward for a right-footed person. Watch the upper left corner as the video starts, you'll see me make my grand entrance.