Do you ever feel like you’re an unwitting pawn in your own demise? I do. Today alone, I fell down the stairs, smashed my hand in the door, and stubbed my toe getting into the bathtub causing me to fall in face-first. And it wasn’t even Wednesday. I’m not sure who has the voodoo doll in my likeness, but she was feeling particularly devilish today.
All these misfortunes got me to thinking about the Darwin Awards. For those of you who haven’t heard of these awards, they are given to people who, in the spirit of natural selection, have removed themselves from the species in ridiculous or amusing ways. For example, a man accidentally drinks gasoline instead of beer. Noticing his mistake, he promptly spits out the gasoline all over himself and his clothes. Feeling relieved that he successfully expelled the poisonous (and flammable) liquid without swallowing, he celebrates by lighting a cigarette. Boom. Lesson learned for the rest of the species.
As I was hurtling ass-first toward the my three year old at the bottom of the stairs I thought to myself “what a stupid way to die”. 30 years of walking under my belt, I tripped on my sock, and down I went. My very fuzzy, alpaca wool socks tried to kill me. There’s no honor in a death by sock. What would they say at my funeral? “Well, at least her feet were warm”? No, that simply wouldn’t do.
But I didn’t die. I may wish I had when I wake up stiff tomorrow, but I think I’ll pull through. So anyway, I was thinking about the Darwin Awards and wondering to myself, how many stupid almost-deaths do we get before we bite the big one? How many times did Gasoline Guy cheat death before it blew up in his face? Are morons like cats? Do we get nine lives? And if so, how many have I used up so far.
So I thought I’d count (in no particular order):
1. Tripped over my thick socks and fell down the stairs- We’ve already talked about this one. Luckily, my three year old had the good sense to hold on to the railing so when I smacked into him to break my fall he held on. Must be his father’s genes.
2. I have, on several occasions, shut my head in the tailgate of our car- It’s one of those lift gates that has the button you push to close it automatically. Usually this wouldn’t be a problem because you pretty much have to be standing up straight outside the car to reach it. However, if you press the button, then notice something shiny inside the truck of the car that you simply MUST have, and decide to race the gate Indiana Jones style to get it, you can actually get your head stuck in the trunk. Thankfully, Mazda built in an idiot-proof mechanism which, in the event that it shuts on your head will cause the door to open again.
3. I have inhaled chili powder- This is not a good idea. Not only does it burn for about 45 minutes, then render your sense of smell useless for the next week, but it causes a violent sneezing fit. Frantic sneezing and gas burners are not a good combination. Unfortunately, because my sense of smell was wrecked, it took me far too long to realize that my hair had actually lit on fire. Just a little bit.
4. I have travelled by myself with two small children- Ok, this probably doesn’t actually count as a near-death experience, but it was still pretty stupid.
5. I once drove while under the influence of NyQuil- Not intentionally. I was feeling under the weather, and since this was before I had children, I had taken some NyQuil in the middle of the day, popped in a movie, and tried to fall asleep. However, two hours and an entire movie later, I still wasn’t sleepy. The NyQuil must have been old or ineffective, I thought. So, I decided to drive to the video store to rent another movie. This was back in the dark ages before Netflix and Amazon Instant Video. About half way through the new releases aisle of the video store, the NyQuil kicked in. Hard. The floor looked like it was moving. My legs felt like sandbags. Unless I wanted to sleep in the store, I had to get home. I had no one to call, so I just got in the car, rolled down the window, turned up the music to keep myself awake and hoped I didn’t get pulled over, or crash. I don’t remember most of the drive, but I made it home safely. Somehow.
6. I once drank about 500mg of caffeine in 30 seconds- I thought I was downing an herbal energy boosting drink, but it turned out to be one of those hard core trucker pick-me-up drinks that was about half an espresso shot shy of pure crank. I was literally vibrating for hours. Then I was very sick.
7. My son once stabbed me in the eye with the sharp corner of a tube of toothpaste- There I was, in the middle of Walmart, half blind, trying to chase down my tantruming 18 month old and wondering how I’m going to get to the ER.
8. I once jammed a toothbrush down my throat while making a bed- You mean you don’t make your beds while brushing your teeth? How inefficient of you. Well, one piece of advice: If you decide to make the bed while brushing your teeth, don’t hold the toothbrush in your mouth while you lean over to shove a very heavy mattress back toward the headboard. The mattress will inevitably absorb your weight, bounce back at you, thus ramming the toothbrush down the back of your throat. This might have been my finest Darwin Award moment to date.
So, there you have it. I have nearly embarrassed my next of kin 8 times in my life. If stupid people are anything like cats, I had better be very careful from now on. No more naked cooking, roof walking, fish tank climbing, or ice running for me. But just in case you don’t hear from me for a few weeks, I’d appreciate your vote toward my very own Darwin Award.