Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Friday, January 30, 2004

And great was the fall thereof.

Dr. Smith’s detailing of his antigravity experiments just reminded me of my own attempt at cheating Earth’s pull.

The exact date was Wednesday, October 2, 1996, at our old house in Irondale. I remember the date because I am looking at the account of it I wrote for the stupid newsletter I used to send to all the people who had quit The Bad Place where I used to work. Here goes...

[insert dreamy music and hold your head into an aquarium so everything looks all watery and dreamy-like]

After a quick breakfast with my daughter Ashley, we bundled our things together to head downstairs for the truck. I thought how nice it was to be leaving the house early for once.

Ashley thought little kid thoughts.

I opened the door to the basement stairs, and Ashley stepped down. It was a cloudy, dark morning, and the basement was a lightless chasm. So, Ashley turned on the lights. With the way now sufficiently illuminated to keep me from falling headlong down the stairs, I stepped down and reached back to close the door. As my heel narrowly missed the front edge of the second step, I began my headlong fall down the steps. Oh, I had slipped on the carpeted steps before, and had even missed an entire step, but this was a new and entirely unpleasant thing.

I felt my upper torso sail forward, then WHHHUMMMP!OOOF! my shoulder hit the stairs, my feet neatly arced over my head then WHHHHUUUMMMMP!OOF! the cycle repeated itself for two more times WHHHUMMMP!OOF!, WHHHUUUUMMMP!OOF! until I lay in a mushy heap on the bottom landing, my tumble brought to an end by the concrete block basement wall. I looked around from my new vantage point, realizing thankfully that I could still see, and ever-so-slowly sat up.

Ashley was transfixed in terror at the top of the stairs, and in my most confident Daddy voice I told her, “Don’t worry, stuntmen do this all the time.” Reba had leapt out of bed at the first WHHUUUMMMP! and came running to the door to make sure Ashley was okay. I told her that Ashley was fine, just a little scared.

I collected my papers and my Thermos and got my lunch bag out from underneath my rather sore butt. I stood and found that I had not broken my neck, back, legs, or any other bony protuberance. My shirt was not torn, my pants were still in their unsoiled polyester glory.

I had survived.

I looked around, noticing the two wood 2x4 studs that I had installed several months earlier to close off one side of the landing--they were now ripped from their nailings and shoved almost out of the opening. The momentum of a multi-hundred-pound oaf rolling downhill will do that, I suppose. Ouch, I thought. That must have hurt. I heard Jonathan and Rebecca crying upstairs because of the bad loud noise someone had made. And lest you think ill of her, Reba did ask about my health, and I assured her that I was okay. “Stuntmen do this all the time.” I told Ashley that we needed to go, or we would be late.

I remember thinking on the way down the steps that it seemed to be taking an awfully long time to get to the bottom, and that it sure was loud, and that I couldn’t stop falling, and that it sure was a lot of hurt. But as I walked gingerly out to the truck, I couldn’t help but think what a great story this was going to make.

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