Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Fear of Falling

I had a fall this morning. I saw no reason for it. I always trod the outdoor stairs carefully. They were wet but not slick. After picking myself up I tested the footing and there was no reason for my slipping.

Falls are memorable because adults don’t fall all that often, and it’s quite a scene when it happens. I don’t count falling in slash as a fall. While working with piles of branches it’s hard not to fall.

I clearly remember most falls in my life. There was a fall from my ascent into a tree fort. I fell from a high bank above the Lewis and Clark River, into the water. I fell into the ocean when a horse I was riding at full speed on the beach moved quickly to one side to avoid a wave. I kept going forward through the air. Another time I was riding bare back and a car drove by hitting a pot hole and spooked the horse. I landed on my back and heard snapping in my spine and in my neck. I thought I would be paralyzed. I was actually surprised when I could actually wiggle my toes.

Every fall leaves me with some sort of injury; usually my back, once my ankle but the fall this morning really messed up my left knee and it wasn’t involved as far as I remember.

When you think of it, we really don't fall that often, so that is why it comes as a shock to us when we do. Consider all the trips and stumbles we have. For bipeds we are extremely stable on our feet. If you have a four legged animal I'll bet you've seen them fall more often than you have fallen.

I know I have many falls ahead of me as I age. I can see how older people have a real fear of falling. I’m starting to develop a healthy fear of it myself.

I had an elderly friend tell me once that there is no problem with falling, but rather it's the sudden stop on the ground that makes life difficult. I can see there will be a day when a cane will come in handy.


Blogger Hahn at Home said...

I like it when people (like me, for example) trip walking down the street and then look back as though something caused them to trip just in case anyone's watching and might think they were just damned clumsy.

6:26 AM  
Blogger Auntie said...

I think that's hilarious too. Sometimes they even "kick" the stupid thing that tripped them.

Of course I took a spill the other day during a wedding rehearsal, so I am "one of them...."

Guy, I liked the space sex post better. WE need more like that.

6:30 AM  
Blogger Jaggy said...

Walking is actually a rather unnatural thing in nature. As humans, when we walk, every step is simply falling and then catching ourselves.

That's why you fall when you trip over something: no other step to stop the fall.

7:26 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

I feel your pain - not in the knee but my back. My worst fall came when I tripped over the dog. Big dog - big fall. I literally left the ground in order to avoid landing on him. And ended up causing further damage to my back.
I am absolutely terrified of slipping on the ice in the winter. Yet another reason to welcome spring.
(Hope your knee heals quickly and well.)

7:50 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

Recently I fell down my stairs, real steep small steps, even with small feet it's hard to avoid a fall. My favorite though is the fall I took down the Astoria post office steps, I was in new heals on a work errand and lost my footing grabbed the railing and because I had built up so much momentum trying to stop myself from falling that it only swung me around, I landed on my ass with my legs sprawled and paperwork strewn everywhere, It was hilarious. Lucky for me the only witness was the lady raking the courthouse lawn.

9:17 AM  
Blogger weese said...

I haven't put much thought into this - I suppose I don't fall much... and yet I also remember all the times I have.
I don't like it when people laugh at someone who has fallen.
I don't understand what people find humous about falls and such.

9:48 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Lori, animals do it, too. I’ve seen cats stumble and then shift into doing something that looks like they intentionally slipped to be cool.

Auntie, If you want more like that you should re-open your blog and write stuff like that.

Jaggy, it beats slithering.

Beth, want some crampons for your birthday?

Denise, Ouch, those are stone. I couldn’t imagine going around in heals. How do you women do it?

Weese, You are so right, most people won’t even laugh at a bad dancer in public, though that shit is funny, but they will laugh at someone potentially becoming critically injured.

By the way, Syd wrote me asking if she should send me a walker to keep me safe. (Bitch!)

11:08 AM  
Blogger Crowbar said...

I couldn't even get past the first sentence of this post. For those of us who witnessed those tragic moments on the morning of September 11th, that photograph is unbearable. Only in the context of paying tribute to those who lost their lives should that image ever be shown.

12:30 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

So I should have used a pen and ink of someone jumping out of a window on Wall Street Black Friday? Someone slipping on a banana peel? It is about falling. This photo evokes a fear of falling in me.

1:01 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

I have to say, I agree with crowbar.

For what it's worth, I feel the same way about many images of violent death and sufferring that have since become iconic.

It's so easy to forget that this is a picture of a person, a real human being with thoughts, friends, loves and hopes, and he probably spent what must have seemed like a very long time thinking about his inevitable, violent, painful death.

And now he's blogfodder, emotionally equivalent to "someone slipping on a bannana peel."

Our society already trivializes violence and death in so many ways, why be a part of that?

In fact, that image isn't even a very good representation of fear of falling at all -- Presumably, the people who jumped did so because the prospect of falling hundreds of feet to certain death was preferable to some other more terrifying fate. For me it is the thought of facing that horror, not the falling itself, that makes this such a disturbing image.

1:35 PM  
Blogger Hahn at Home said...

This appears to me to be a photoshopped graphic where a guy was placed into such a position.

I have a fear of falling now too - from high places, but it's age and a sense of my mortality. The image reminded me of our greater human frailty and fears, not 911 or generalized despair or death.

Jeez, you guys, why add to the over political correctness over something that isn't even about 9/11?

6:33 AM  
Blogger Crowbar said...

I've noticed over the past six or seven years that the further removed from the East coast someone is, the less the impact of the September 11th attacks seems to be. A few years ago while visiting with friends in Denver one of them actually had the audacity to make a joke about the World Trade Center.

That being said, the photo has not been altered. There are many more like it that were taken that day. Scores of people fell or jumped to their deaths on that terrible morning. The sound made by their bodies hitting the roof of the Trade Center lobby haunts those who have heard it to this day.

After the planes struck, people were suffocating and burning on those upper floors, and were choosing to jump to a certain death to escape their pain. When you're burning to death, fear of falling has a very low priority.

The photograph isn't about falling or despair, it's about escape... escape from pain... unbearable pain and terror.

343 Never Forget

5:56 PM  
Blogger Hahn at Home said...

It was indeed a terrible tragedy and no one has denied the horror of 9/11. This is not what this is about - it's a fear of falling.

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom, you're being an ass. Please take the picture down.

10:59 AM  

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