Five Things You Think About While Falling

Now that my injuries have completely healed, I suppose I can now tell the embarrassing story about how I recently tripped and fell. It happened almost a month ago, and, as with most embarrassing things I developed a good cover-story. When people asked me why my right arm contained a huge gash, I said that I tripped while running. That by technicality was true in the following fashion.

A. I was running.
B. I tripped.

But any expert on lying will tell you that’s not all that’s required for truth. Lying by omitting details is still lying. That’s why in courts they swear you in by requesting you tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”

So here’s the whole truth. I tripped while running…

…to help my fiancee get parked. I was not running on a track, I was running on a sidewalk. It was the final day for me at my job, and the staff was throwing me a going away party. My fiancee was invited, so I was directing her to the guest parking lot. The sidewalk was uneven, so my feet clipped one of the raised sections and down I went.

Now, I’m a really tall guy. 6 foot 7 inches, to be exact. The laws of physics state that the longer something is in the air, the faster it goes until it reaches terminal velocity. Because I’m so tall and completely lost my footing, I had a lot more time to fall before I hit the ground than, say, my 5 foot 4 inch fiancee.

And in that time I had the opportunity to think about several things. The whole thing played out in slow motion, and I could form several coherent thoughts. For example:

1. “Oh look, I’m falling.”

Remember in Frozen when Olaf says, “Oh look, I’ve been impaled”? Yeah, that was me. Big grin and all.

2. “Hmm, maybe I can regain my footing and play it off like a minor trip.”

Obviously your first thought is going to be retaining your dignity. I mean, she is your fiancee and all, you don’t want to seem like a bumbling goof who trips all the time. Therefore, you actively resist tripping in order to save yourself. The problem is that it’s like fighting riptides or quicksand. The more you struggle, the worse trouble you’re in for.

3. “Nope, my feet aren’t anywhere near there intended positions.”

Then you realize that there’s nothing besides divine intervention that will save you from this fall. This was the most helpless I felt during the fall, so it was here I held my breath and took the plunge.

4. “You know this seems like it’s going to be pretty bad. I might actually get hurt doing this.”

It’s at this point where you remember tripping experiences of the past. Tripping has always been embarrassing, but it’s never resulted in significant injury. At least, not until now. I came to the realization that this one would likely result in some pain and blood and stuff. Really, the newness of it all kind of intrigued me.

5. “I should definitely collapse my arms under me to avoid breaking my neck.”

I actually remember myself making the decision of what I wanted to impact the ground to cause the least amount of injury. I settled on my arms, so I thrust them out to break my fall.

Ow. That’s really the only word that properly expressed how I felt at that time.

And then there they were. Deep lacerations on both my knees, both my arms, and both my hands. I’ve healed up quite nicely, but I have a new respect for falls. I mean, I used to not see them as a threat, but I now understand how they could be deadly to, say, a person in their seventies.

So there you have it. The whole truth about my recent fall. Tell me your tripping stories in the comments.


  1. I had a bathtub injury. It was a result of my OCD disorder and trying to make sure that all the blinds in the bay by the bathtub were all aligned. I jumped over the tub in socks, slipped and had a serious head injury (which explains tons about my ramblings on my blog). Anyway, the bathroom looked like The Shining. I had 45 stitches in my forehead. My bottom lip was sewn back together and the doctors at Princeton Medical Center seriously told me somebody “up there” was watching over me because I should have broken my neck. It gets better. Two weeks after the accident, I noticed that the valance in my living room didn’t look even. I got a ladder out of the garage to fix it. Yup! I fell off the ladder. What goes through my mind when I fall? Two words “Oh shit”


  2. It was only while I was a kid and playing around that I have tripped over stuff. But then I was a kid so I’ll keep that as an excuse. Trust me, you ain’t so bad… or at least I hope not. I have a friend who manages to trip over air. The number of times she would say ‘oh I tripped here or I bumped there or I fell here and I fell there’… I mean she manages to injure herself even without falling or bumping into things. Go figure! We’ve even nicknamed her Trippy. Thankfully, none of her falls are serious. Thankfully.


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