In every situation in life, there's always a way to make a tit of yourself
Well, that’s a very intriguing title isn’t it? I know. But please calm yourselves dears, don’t get too overexcited because this one requires a small amount of explaining so bear with me.
Over the course of my 20 years on this dear planet I would hope that I have managed to achieve, when its required, to cultivate a calm, collected air of everything being under complete control. A hope which many of the people who know me may find incredibly amusing, because, left to my own devices, I am really quite a clumsy person. And I have a sneaking suspicion that I am far from being the only ‘closeted clumsy’around.
I’m sure I’m not the only person who seems to spend a worryingly high proportion of their time tripping, slipping, stubbing, bumping, grazing, dropping, tearing, breaking, falling, and otherwise walking into things, walking off things, and accidentally walking through things. And yes, I do have the scars and the embarassing stories to prove it (including one about cracking my head open by running into a bridge, and another involving running backwards into someone off Coronation Street while my friend tried to attach a clothes peg to my nose – though I refuse to take sole responsibility for that one.)
But the reason I am telling you all of this (there is a reason, don’t despair) is because I have a theory, and it goes a little something like this: clumsiness, far from being an unfortunate affliction of the long-limbed or absent-minded, is actually exactly the way the universe intended things to be. You may be feeling slightly puzzled at this point, you may even be considering finding me some sort of psychiatric help, but stay with me a little longer and all will become clear.
To prove my unorthodox theory I am turning to my trusty old friend, the English language; that bastion of sense and logic who is never strange or confusing.
1. Daybreak. This rather begs the question of what exactly it is that day breaks – its leg? Its wrist? Its grandmother’s priceless Ming dynasty vase? Whatever the answer to this question might be I think it’s fairly safe to say that any form of breakage is a pretty bad way to begin each morning. But day is not alone in its repeated cycle of clumsy destruction. No, the sea is at it too. The inhabitants of desert islands and exotic holiday destinations seem happy to sit around and watch the waves breaking on the shore, apparently unconcerned that they are witnessing the ocean falling apart before their very eyes.
2. Just when we have finished cleaning up the mess that the breaking dawn has made everywhere, what happens? Night falls. It remains unclear whether night is falling off something, falling into something, or falling out of something. But one thing is certain, at the end of every day, night falls. You’d think he’d learn to look where he was going and watch his step really wouldn’t you? Maybe he falls through the gaping fissure in whatever it was that day broke. In that case, you see, all of this cosmic clumisness is vital to our very existence, because if day didn’t break then night wouldn’t fall and then where would we be? Once again, night is not alone in lacking sure-footedness. Silence also falls, but no-one ever hears it scream.
3. Time. Time gets up to all sorts of strange things, some of them more risky than others. During moments of intense enjoyment (such as when reading this blog, for instance) it has been well documented that time flies. Which is fine, as long as it has a nice soft place to land. Sometimes time drags, probably when it’s injured itself in a hasty crash-landing. Sometimes time runs, and we must all hope, for the sake of the world as we know it, that it does not run with scissors. And sometimes, when we are really very unlucky, time runs out. When this happens there is only one thing to do, and that is to pray that this phrase is not immediately followed by “into oncoming traffic”.
4. Temperature and Wind. Never embark on a meteorological game of catch with these two, because temperature and wind both have a nasty habit of dropping. Dropping what, I’m not entirely sure. However, I can say with quite considerable confidence that, as far as Edinburgh is concerned, the temperature is a bit of a butter-fingers, and the wind has a very strong grip.
So there you have it, if you listen to the Brits and our wonderfully bonkers little language (and the BBC World Service would suggest that occasionally some people do actually listen to us) then you’ll find that the proof is everywhere. Next time you take a nose-dive off the curb, or stack it over a patch of uneven concrete, hold your head up high as you limp away, proud in the knowledge that you are simply doing your bit for the great cosmological project of clumsiness.