In Praise of Klutzes
Almost since the day I first put on my big boy underwear, I knew I was a klutz. I remember stumbling and bumbling around a neighbor’s backyard when I was about five when I met a Doberman pinscher. That dog bit me like a chew toy. For years after that incident, I was afraid of dogs. I remember stumbling and falling on a driveway one afternoon trying to escape from a couple of Labrador retrievers. They weren’t trying to attack me—instead, they wanted to strike up a friendly doggy conversation. For some reason, lots of pooches instinctly like me. Maybe because I am an friendly ordinary guy or maybe because my body odor is like Chanel Number 5 to canines. I know my dog considers me to be a great friend—he is always delighted whenever I give him some scraps of food at dinnertime.
In Little League, I was probably the klutziest player on a team filled with klutzes. I constantly fell trying to catch fly balls. Eventually, my team’s manager, who later became my junior high school principal, put me on the bench so that I could be as inconspicuous as possible.
My klutziness only become more pronounced during my puberty and teen years. I was the nimrod who tipped over a dozen canoes at Boy Scout camp, drove cars on sidewalks and bike paths, broke countless beakers in my high school chemistry class, stumbled over parallel bars in gym class, and nearly fell on my face when I received my high school diploma. Like Janis Ian, I was the person whose name whose name was never called when choosing sides for basketball—or pretty much any other sport. My classmates immediately avoided me like a coronavirus superspreader whenever I put on my jock strap.
Not only was I a klutz when it came to repairing cars and appliances, I was klutzy when it came to computers. It was bad enoungh languages such as FORTRAN and Basic were as incomprehensible as Sumerian cuneiforms, but I had a hard time starting up any personal computer. Then there was the time in which I was working in archive in Illinois when I was mistyping data and the computer started malfunctioning. I turned off the computer in disgust while my boss let out a horrified scream. My boss had to get a high tech geek to fix the computer, and she was so incensed she didn’t talk to me for a couple of weeks.
And I still as klutzy as ever. Just the other day, my dog wanted to spend a beautiful day in the neighborhood; consequently, he bolted out of my house like a greyhound. People were cussing me out as I was falling over shrubs and fire hydrants. When I finally caught the dog at a nearby animal hospital, I started cussing him out. Then, I nearly ran into a nurse leaving the hospital who proceeded to cuss me out. Oh, well, some days are just made for cussing.
I am ecstatic I no longer have to feel embarrassed that I am not as graceful as gymnast Mary Lou Retton, have reflexes like a Philadelphia surgeon, and dance like Michael Jackson in his most memorable music videos. Coronavirus has made everyone a stumblebum. For me, that is good news.
Joe’s Maybe Memorable Quote of the Day
I may be a klutz but least I have a nimble mind.