My dad has had some embarrassing falls and I don’t even want to talk about it because I still get the chill of humiliation by simple proxy. He holds our good family name, he can’t be falling around all over town! He’s a luxury homebuilder in our community, a leader, a man with dignity and respect. And when he falls in public like Chris Farley in a Saturday Night Live skit, yes, I laugh because it’s impossible not to, but I’m also humiliated!
A few years ago, he was checking on one of his homes when he stepped on a nail barely sticking out of a 2×4. It got stuck in the heel of his boot and caused him to literally dive head first into a huge pile of styrofoam. A drywall crew was eating lunch nearby and witnessed the whole thing. Few of them spoke English, but their shouts of concern and empathetic embarrassment was universal. The boss of the crew spoke up, “Oh, Mister Lind! Are you okay? Oh my my my, that looked bad.” Who among us can command respect after tripping and falling into a huge pile of styrofoam?
Another time he was touring a house with a buyer and their real estate agent. As they made their way down the stairs, Dad’s front shoe slid to the next step. He was unable to correct it without making a fuss, so he made the unspeakable calculation to just go with it, as he ever so slowly did the splits. To make matters worse, he kept sliding, his back leg straight behind him, but no one was brave enough to call attention to it. “So, how many bedrooms are on the lower level?” the buyer asked, now looking down at my dad as he white knuckled the hand rail. “Two,” Dad replied, still sliding, thumping every time he hit a new step, “but one of them would make the perfect office space.”
When I was in my early twenties, my family got together at a local park. We had a picnic spread in a large, cemented gazebo area and my dad bought a pogo stick for the grandkids to have something fun to do. The older kids tried it out, but couldn’t get the hang of it. “Here, I’ll show you,” he said, popping a chip in his mouth before getting on. “I used to pogo all over town when I was a kid.” I sat back and watched my dad bounce, impressed by how easily it came back to him. But over time, I noticed his bounces were getting higher and higher and instead of remaining in one place, he started to bounce around in a large circle, getting precariously close to some of the smaller, more vulnerable grandchildren. His expression went from playful, to concerned, to terrified. It didn’t take long for his bounces to become life threatening. “Dad,” I shouted over the rhythmic squeaking of the pogo stick, “shouldn’t you be wearing a helmet?” But he wasn’t listening, his predicament demanded focus. Then my sister, growing increasingly agitated called out, “Dad, can you stop? This is dangerous!” And at that, he took two huge bounces, covering at least 4 feet at each bounce, before launching himself over a couple picnic tables. He landed out of sight as the entire family gasped in unison, running around the tables like a school of fish. Oh Lord, please don’t let him break a hip, I thought. My brother belted out, “Dad, are you dead?” We weren’t sure where his body was exactly, so when he popped up and said “Ta Da!” he startled us, making us gasp and lean back. “Well, is anything broken?” Mom hissed. He was in his 50s! Absolutely ridiculous.
But that’s the weird thing— nothing ever breaks on this man. While his homes or buildings are under construction, he’s fallen through holes straight from the top floor to the basement. He’s fallen off the bed of trucks, down flights of stairs and flies off pogo sticks. He gets a nasty bruise and a bit of a limp, but that’s it. Say what you want about Boomers— they’re tough as nails.
This is an excerpt from Anna’s second book, release announcement coming soon. To make sure you don’t miss it, sign up for Anna’s list here.