Thursday, November 03, 2005


Number of the Day

The number of the day is 4 (four/cuatro). This is not Sesame Street with a lame spanish lesson thrown in. This is the number of pieces that my mother's proximal humerus is currently in. Let me tell you about the women on the Irish side of the family...

We are fallers. When I say we fall down, I don't mean we faint or get woozy or slip from time to time. I mean we go to ground in spectacular fashion. I was on vacation in Cancun and we were staying at the Ritz Carlton. We arrived back from a dreamy day of scuba diving and touring Mayan ruins in our cute little rented jeep. The valet opened my door and I stepped out. Despite the fact that I was windburned, covered with sand, and wearing a cute little pair of board shorts, I still felt elegant enough to waltz towards the doors among the older, better dressed clientele. Next thing I knew, I was on the ground in a tangle of backpack, flipflops, and a torn beach towel. The valet froze. The fancy clientele froze. Everyone made half a step towards me - no one sure quite what to do. My boyfriend at the time turned around to see where I was and started laughing. I jumped up, unscathed, saying "i'm ok" a little too loudly and skulked inside. Several shots of tequila later, I also saw the humor.

Another time, my mother was hosting a dinner party. She is a tad bit OCD about the cleaning thing (a gene that unfortunately skipped a generation) and was loading dishes from the first course into the dishwasher. The phone rang. The phone was located on the other side of the open dishwasher door. Forgetting the old physics maxim that two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time, she went for the phone. A resounding crash, some loud "I'm ok's", and a trip by the entire guest list to the ER to assure the good doctors that this was not a case of domestic violence but merely the laws of gravity, they returned home to finish dessert. We may fall like lead balloons, but we are nothing if not excellent hostesses.

Today, she was walking into a building carrying some files when she tripped. Did she let go of the files? Of course not, they might scatter and make a mess. Organization won. Her left shoulder lost. She is having surgery next week.

All is well, and I'm sure she'll come out of this just fine. There is just something that makes you feel helpless when you are a surgeon on the West Coast and your mother is a patient on the East Coast. That being said, physical comedy runs in our genes. Chevy Chase, eat your heart out.

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