Fall In The Family

It seems as if I suffer from genetic imbalance. In other words, I come from a long line of people who tend to fall down at the wrong time and do damage to themselves. The earliest recollection that has any significance is the time Dad started things rolling. It was in the late 1970’s and my older sister had moved to her first house in Skokie. It was wintertime and a bitter cold had turned snow into icy patches on the sidewalk. Dad was now in his fifties and maybe a little too confident about his gait. Before he could make it to the front door, he slipped and proceeded to break his left arm to such an extent that a surgeon placed a metal rod in his arm. One could see its very obvious outline under the skin. He kept the rod in him for years out of fear- not of the bones falling apart inside but of the pain in having it removed. However, it finally got to a point about twenty years later when another surgeon removed it because it was causing a hole in his skin by the elbow and he was leaking in more than one place, if you know what I mean.

It was Ma’s turn next and she made Dad look like an amateur. She and I had gone to visit another sister on the East Coast. Ma was in a hurry to go between rooms at a banquet hall where they just recently waxed the floor. She was wearing high heels which she hardly wore anymore. You guessed it. She went flying as she fell and ended up not only tearing her shoulder but also breaking a hip to boot. She stayed on the East Coast for a couple of months at a rehab place after a doctor had repaired her hip. He did little for her shoulder other than pat her on the back and wish her well.

When she finally came home, her regular physician sent her to a bone specialist who took one look at her shoulder and told her that it never mended properly and decided it needed to be ripped up and rebuilt.

Last year, my kid brother visited and stayed with Ma. One night he fell asleep on the couch in the living room and didn’t realize where he was when he woke up. So he promptly fell off the couch with a big thud and painfully cracked two ribs.

My turn came last summer when the sister from the East Coast came in to visit and decided that we should go over to our oldest sister’s newer house in Skokie on a late Saturday night to watch a movie on her big screen television. It had rained heavily that day and the sidewalk had large puddles. I didn’t want to step in them, so I decided to cut across her front lawn. My sister, instead, did the sidewalk route. As I was walking under a low tree branch on the lawn, we all of a sudden heard a rustling noise. My sister yelled, “bats!” and scared the dickens out of me. I immediately started running. In my haste to get away from the alleged flying mammals, I tried to run as quickly as possible up the one raised step leading to the long walkway for the front door. The timing was bad, my calves buckled and I tripped going up the step, doing a triple Lindy somersault and flew into the bushes landing on a bunch of thorns.

My sister started screaming because she thought I was terribly injured but I was yelling, “get me out of here!” I told her to pull my arm but I guess she remembered all the times our Uncle Henry used to ask us to pull his finger. I told her to get our sister’s husband, you know- the Doctor- to come outside and help me up. He reluctantly came out but refused to touch me in case I was hurt- it’s part of the Hippocratic Oath to not touch anyone until the lawyer has seen them. Finally, my older sister did help yank me up. We went inside the house and I milked the situation for all it was worth. I was bruised- both physically and emotionally but hardly seriously hurt.

Last week, the East Coast sister emails that when she was putting oil into her constantly leaking beater of a car, the hood fell down on top of her head causing a heavy duty bloody gash. My brother, not wanting her to get the last word in, emails that as he was moving a portable closet in the kids room, the top part came loose and fell down on his head almost knocking him out. Then, as he tried to carry a heavy part of that closet out of the room he stepped on another piece which propelled him forward into the wall bruising a shin. At which point, he yelled out a few choice words that I taught him long ago and his kids were rolling on the floor from laughter. Finally, as he was taking the broken pieces of closet to the garbage bin outside, he didn’t realize that there were protruding nails on the slats and managed to rip his nice new Nautica button down shirt.

That will teach him to come out of the closet.

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