A curious expertise in falling down

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Let’s begin by saying that walking on ice is treacherous.

We know.

And before we go on, just for this editorial we will dispense with the royal ‘we’, because The Hub as an entity did not take a tumble last week on an ice-covered sidewalk. That was done solely, and somewhat embarrassingly, by its reporter.

So I will fess up. Yes, I slipped on ice, stumbled forward, and for a split second thought I was going to regain my lost balance, before plunging face-first towards the ground.

Anyone who has fallen knows it’s an extremely disorienting experience. You really – quite literally – don’t know which way is up.

Afterwards, you try to piece together what happened when gravity exerted its dominance.

As far as I can tell, my face actually touched the sidewalk (or the ice, more accurately). I believe that because my first reaction was to check if my nose was bleeding. It seems I just barely escaped rearranging my appearance.

I also believe that my camera bag, which I always carry over my right shoulder, broke some of my fall. I have deduced that because my left arm took the brunt of the impact.

Afterwards, I had almost no strength in my arm and could only lift it to the height of my shoulder with extreme effort and some pain. (At the time of this writing, it is starting to recover.)

Falling is not an enjoyable experience, and you never know how it will turn out.

While I may not be an expert in anything else, I do have a curious expertise in falling down.

At the risk of appearing to be a klutz, last week’s fall was not my first. I could probably come up with a Top 10 list of my all-time greatest tumbles, but I will mention just a few to establish my bona fides to talk about falling down.

I was once taking a photo of speed skaters and had to move backwards to get everyone in the frame. I ended up flat on my back on the ice of Fort Smith Centennial Arena.

Upon returning to Hay River from Grande Prairie, I was carrying some shopping bags into my apartment at night and tripped on the edge of a walkway, and plunged face-first into a flower bed.

I also have the unique skill of being able to fall while unconscious. Many years ago, I awoke one morning to find my face covered in blood. Upon investigation, I found a small pool of blood on the floor next to my bed. Apparently, I had fallen out of bed during the night, hit my nose on the floor, and gotten back into bed without waking up.

So I’m a world-class faller. I know what I’m talking about, even though I have not learned how to avoid doing it.

Surprisingly, I have never been seriously injured.

But I can say that falling down should definitely be avoided, especially on icy sidewalks created by a harsh northern winter.

So I offer my latest tumble as a cautionary tale to other residents of Hay River.

When it comes to falling, the best thing to do is don’t.

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