“Gillespie County, Rescue One. What elevation is the patient at?”
“Understand 300 feet?”
“Negative, that’s three feet.”
That might have been the conversation between a rescue helicopter and dispatchers had a chopper actually been called to rescue some poor sot who’d fallen off Enchanted Rock.
I was the poor sot, and yes, I’d fallen off Enchanted Rock (but I could get up) – proving, once again, that I just might not be made for the outdoors.
I didn’t actually fall off Enchanted Rock. I fell before I even got to it. Walking toward the big granite rock with Wife, our three children and their friend Caleb, and Ralph, our family’s faithful dog, my ankle twisted and down I went, dropping Ralph’s leash in the process. Ralph just stood and looked at me.
Was it embarrassing? Naw, I’m kinda used to it.
Those of you in my dwindling fan base – I think I’m down to about 18 – might be wondering why I want to confess to being a klutz? Well, the new fad now is for people to write tell-on-me memoirs and brag about their failures. So this is confessions of a klutz.
I hopped to my feet and we continued our journey. Later I walked smack into a low-hanging tree branch, prompting a slight smile from Wife. “What’s funny about that?” I demanded to know.
I still wasn’t finished. As we continued our hike up, down and around Enchanted Rock, my ankle twisted again and I tap-danced my way across half the rock, bashing uncontrolled into Wife and nearly knocking her down.
And – oh wait, there’s this! You might remember my story of falling out of an inner tube on the raging Comal.
Many moons ago I was paddling a canoe in Austin. I don’t recall the body of water. I don’t think it was the Colorado River, but that’s not important.
I fell out of the canoe and into the water. Who knew you couldn’t stand up in those things?
Is it any surprise that Wife no longer allows me anywhere near water?
They (whoever “they” are) say confession is good for the soul. Now that I’ve confessed, I don’t feel good at all. “Wait! I’m getting the 200 bucks?” C.C. Fulton asked after I announced I’d finished my column. It had something to do with a bet.
But that’s not important now. I decided to ask my co-workers for input on being a klutz.
“Oh, I’m a super-klutz. I can help you with that,” Bulletin Brittany-of-all-trades Culverhouse offered. “I run into walls all the time. There was this one time that was really funny ...”
Brittany went on to explain how a closet door once smacked her in the face.
“I fell out of my desk chair yesterday,” Brittany continued. “Did nobody see that?”
Brittany also recounted a complicated scenario in which she locked her keys in her car not once, not twice, but thrice in the same day.
I asked Bulletin managing editor Gene Deason if he has ever been a klutz. Gene thought and thought. “I’m just trying to think ... I’ve never fallen out of a canoe, never lost my glasses ... I’ve never flown east to get from New York to Dallas ...”
What if I told you I tried parasailing once? You’re probably thinking, oh no, how long was your hospital stay ...
Actually that went quite well. It was back in my Air Force days, and I was selected to go through a school in surviving at sea. It was mostly for aircrew members who have to bail out of a sick plane, parachute into the ocean and wait for (hopeful) rescue.
I wasn’t an aircrew member, so wy was I selected? Long story, and that’s not important now. One lovely afternoon, there I was on a big boat in the Biscayne Bay near Homestead Air Force Base, Fla. I was attached to another boat via a tow rope. Behind me, a big parachute canopy billowed in the wind.
Whee! Next thing you knew, I was airborne, thousands and thousands of feet up in the air. After awhile, the nice people in the tow boat cut the motor and waved at me. Ah-hah, the secret signal to disconnect myself from the tow rope.
I had a nice, peaceful descent into the bay and tried to climb into the one-man life raft that must have been attached to me. It was just there – I don’t remember exactly where it came from. I tried to climb into the raft, but it had a big hole in it.
At least I didn’t fall out of it.
Steve Nash writes his column for the Brownwood Bulletin on Thursdays. He may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.