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"Keep Your Face Back!"
posted December 5, 2007 @9:33a
 
As I took a big gulp from my freshly-poured glass of Pepsi, I could hear a lady in the background talking about her son. I wasn't intentionally eavesdropping, and since I was only using the corner of one of my ears, I wasn't paying much attention to the details of her conversation. But then, with my head slightly tipped back, supporting a nearly empty glass and melted ice on my lips, I heard a sentence. I heard a sentence that seemed to echo in the vast, empty cavern that is my brain.

"Yeah... when he was little, I used to follow him around the house. I'd make sure he didn't know I was behind him, then I'd push him down."

It had to echo a few times before I could comprehend exactly what she'd said: "push him down... push him down... push him down..."

Once I realized the gravity of her statement, I couldn't just let it go. I decided to turn around and addressed the lady directly. "Mom?? You used to push me down? To the ground? ...Mom?"

It was Christmas Day last year, and she was sharing the story with my aunt.

You see, I wasn't born with what I like to call "da common sense skills." Normal everyday activities which one would assume should just come naturally or be some sort of instinctual reaction didn't happen with me. So... you know how whenever you trip over something, or lose your balance in some way, you put your hands in front of you, so as to keep from just slamming down to the ground?

I didn't do that.

Whenever I stumbled, I would descend to ground stiffly, arms to my side, as a tree in the forest, being sawed down by a lumberjack. But instead of "timber!" being yelled, I can remember thinking, as I approached the ground, "keep your face back! keep your face back! don't let the ground hit you in your face!"

Falling was a pretty scary event.

"Mom?? You used to push me down? To the ground? Really??"

She answered, "oh yeah! All the time. Of course, I'd make sure you fell into a couch or bed or something. It would always be into something soft..."

I do have vague memories of different family members tossing me onto a bed, in order to educate me in the art of catching myself. Over and over, throw after throw, I'd bounce directly on my face. But, until last Christmas, I didn't realize that Mom had spent so much time and effort helping me to learn something that I'd need the rest of my life.

Unfortunately, my skull was thick, and I didn't pick up the skill quickly enough. Not so long after my hand-catching classes began, I had a bicycle accident on the street and landed on my face. It knocked two teeth out, broke my chest and bruised my heart.

Since that time, my common sense level hasn't improved that much. I know I still do stupid stuff, and sometimes I end up hurting myself. And sometimes, my stupidness even ends up hurting people I care about. But there is some good news.

I don't fall directly on my face anymore.

Next time, I'll pay closer attention to my mama.

 
 


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