“What happened to your ankle?” asked my neighbor when he saw the orthopedic boot on my right foot.
“I tripped while I was in Pamplona running with the bulls,” I told him.
He raised his eyebrows. “Really?”
“No. Not really,” I admitted. “I was actually climbing Machu Picchu and I fell over a llama.”
“Seriously?” he said. I nodded. Heck, I’d already been called a klutz. Why not a liar, too?
In truth, I had not been running with the bulls or falling over llamas. I had simply been walking when I turned my foot in a crack in the pavement. Then I turned it again and again over several months until, eventually, it was fractured. Ultimately, I ended up in a walking boot, which, of course, called a lot of attention to the fact that I had an injury. And naturally, when people see you injured, they want to know how it happened. Since the actual story wasn’t very dramatic, I felt compelled to come up with something more interesting.
“I fell while I was heli-skiing in the Chilean Andes,” I told another person.
“Wow! I didn’t know you ski,” she said.
“I don’t,” I said. “That’s why I fell.”
And then there was this friend:
“What happened to your ankle?” she asked.
“I was caving in Transylvania and I tripped on a stalactite,” I replied.
“Don’t those hang from the ceiling of a cave?” she asked.
“Um. Yes,” I said. “I was ceiling walking. It’s a new sport.”
Sadly, I have a long history of injuring myself in stupid ways. Anyone who knows me knows I’m not the most graceful person on the planet to start with. When I was a kid, I once sprained my ankle standing still. I’m not exactly sure how that happened, but as I recall, I think I told everyone that I lost my balance while the planet was rotating.
Not surprisingly, I felt it was kind of embarrassing to trip on air, and so this time around I decided to come up with a good story. People were used to me embellishing stories anyway. So, what difference would it make if I said I hurt my ankle flipping a ninja in a mixed martial arts competition? Or getting slapped in the foot by a dorsal fin while tagging humpback whales? Or being chased by a dingo while bagging rattlesnakes in the Outback?
Were all of these explanations a little over the top? Probably not if I was Bear Grylss. But for a suburban mom whose idea of adventure is traveling without a back-up roll of toilet paper, I could see why some people might find my excuses a little implausible.
Still, I, for one, found the whole thing immensely entertaining and coming up with crazy explanations was a good way to pass the time while I was in physical therapy.
But then one day I was in the supermarket and as I turned a corner to go up another aisle, I slipped on a broken egg on the floor, slid into a display of soup cans and had one fly off the shelf and conk me on the head. Fortunately my ankle was OK. But there was a knot on my forehead the size of Texas.
That night when my husband got home, he saw the bump on my forehead and shook his head.
“Oh jeez, honey. What happened now?”
“I slipped on a broken egg, slid across the floor and got whacked in the head by a flying can of tomato soup,” I explained.
He shook his head.
“Sorry, but you better come up with something else. No one is going to believe you.”
For more Lost in Suburbia, follow Tracy’s blog at lostinsuburbia.com.
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