From the Mother of all Klutzes…

As mentioned in my introductory post, I am quite the, erm…graceless individual. I don’t know if my brain doesn’t connect with my limbs properly, or if I am just so deep in smart, intellectual, and cerebral thought that I simply don’t pay attention to what I’m doing, but I tend to fall often. And by often, I mean that Cosmo Kramer is my spirit animal, or those cute pandas that fall all the time.

Grocers beware
Not as cute when I fall.

Actual footage of me washing my car:


This happens so much so that I have friends that think it fruitful to call me anytime they take a tumble, see someone do so, or see a viral video of such a thing. It’s hilarious. Really. I’m LOLing right now. 😐 As I was saying, I have a tendency to fall short of reaching my destination on both feet (Eh, eh? I’ll stop.) Anyway, here are my top five klutzy moments. Enjoy!

That time I cracked my elbow by falling in the school cafeteria…as the teacher. Insert facepalm here. I teach 11 and 12 year olds, so there’s kind of a fine line as to whether or not they think you’re “cool”, and it runs on a day to day basis. Generally, I feel I maintain a pretty good relationship with my kids, and I gave up being cool a long time ago due to my unabashed Star Wars obsession. This day however, any hope of my being hip flew out the window when a perfectly placed piece of ice connected with my converse tennis shoe.

I didn’t know what hit me. You know those moments when you know you’re going down, and you want to stop it, but you just can’t? This was one of those moments. It was like a train wreck. My leg slid from under me while my other one helplessly tried to grab traction on the wet floor. My eyes connected with hundreds of 6th graders, mouths agape, as a TEACHER went down hard on the ugly tile floor. My elbow hit first, then my sizeable hips (don’t worry, there’s some cushion in that area 😉) and my tea exploded everywhere. I heard some laughter, of course, but was touched to hear more cries of concern. This turned to confusion on my part when one of my students asked me if I was having a stroke.

I had a sling for about 6 weeks.

That day I decided to be fashionable and wear wedge sandals. Now, I can fall in flats, converse sneakers (as the above story will show you), boots, stilettos, barefoot, it does not matter. Why in my right mind I thought I could wear wedge heels, I don’t know, but they were really cute, and I had a new dress, so…? The day started out okay, I was young, 23ish and naïve. This was part of the problem. I’ve wizened since then, however this day, I felt invincible, and cute, and apparently I felt like I had strong ankles. Thing is, I do not have strong ankles. My ankles are weak, very weak. In fact I have come up with a term for my ankles: wankles (copyright Shelley Knowles, 2018). So, 23-year-old me and my wankles and cute dress show up to work where I worked on the second floor. Ugh.I was a little unsteady from the car to the building, but I thought, “Hey, new shoes? I’ll get used to them.” Walking up the stairs was a little tricky, but I made it. The first fall hit as soon as I reached the landing. BAM! Well, my wankles betrayed me, but at least nobody saw…so I thought. I composed myself, got my files together and proceeded to my office. One step, two steps, three steps, BAM! Okay…”Good morning Shawn, Shel, nice to see you. Yes, I’m fine, just new shoes, no worries.” By this point my knees and pride were bruised and I decided maybe barefoot was the way to go. I felt FABULOUS in that outfit though. There was a camera in the stairwell by the way. Lovely footage.

The night I was supposed to see Wicked on Broadway. My ex-husband and I were in NYC attending a wedding of a very close friend of ours and while in the city we decided we’d take in a show. You’ve got to see a show while in New York, right? It was our first night we had arrived and already my bag had been put on another flight so we had to deal with that, and then we were having to figure out where the blazes we were, etc. We took an Uber from the Roosevelt Hotel to the theater, but then found ourselves in the mother of all traffic jams. It was a Murphy’s Law type of day. The best (figuratively speaking) was yet to come once we bade our driver farewell and decided to hoof it to make the show on time.We were cutting it pretty close, with only about 15 minutes to spare, but we had the theater in our sights and tickets in hand. “Elphaba, here we come!!” I was thinking, and then I was on the ground thinking, “PAIN!!!! &#$*%&#$%* PAIN!!” Some of those thoughts may have come out of my mouth too. I apologize, New Yorkers. I knew not what I spoke. My wankles had struck again. My right ankle basically rolled under my foot and twisted taking me down with it. It was not my most graceful moment. You know how people get “discovered” on the streets of NYC for modeling and acting and what not? I could have been discovered for doing the perfect dramatic fall. I just don’t think there were any scouts out.

Basically like this

I have to say, the kindness of those New Yorkers around me is something I will never forget. I instantly had about 10-12 people around me, helping me up, getting me a place to sit, water to drink, calling an officer over to call an ambulance. Not one person laughed at me or made me feel stupid. The whole “Rude New Yorker” persona did not apply here. The kind man that heaved me up didn’t even drop his cigarette out of his mouth! His wife was so sweet and they both helped me hobble over to the chair that a little street vendor owner had set out for me. The man goes, “Sweetheart I don’t know what your plans were, but cancel em’, because we gotta call you a bus!” (Ambulance in New York speak).

“But I don’t want a bus!” I whined as my ankle swelled to the size of a grapefruit

“Yeah, ya do sweetie, that’s how we do things here. You get hurt, you get a bus!”

I got a bus. I went to Mt. Sinai West (or East?) Hospital, found out my ankle was broken and enjoyed the rest of my vacation on a rascal scooter! If you ever need cheap entertainment, go to a New York hospital at night. In case you’re wondering, no we didn’t make it to Wicked.

One of these days, Elphaba! One of these days!

That time at camp we were running around that bus. Every summer starting around 6th or 7th grade I had the opportunity to go to a really cool summer camp called Pine Springs near Ruidoso, New Mexico. The camp was in the mountains and was with a group from our church along with some other kids and lasted seven days in total. The camp is gorgeous and is still running. Being from Midland, TX this place was paradise to my adolescent mind. It got hot there, sure, but the nights were cool, and there were trees that nobody had to plant! Like, God himself planted those trees! There was green everywhere and ponds and MOUNTAINS! I loved going. We usually had a campfire every night and got to see the sky full of gorgeous stars, but it had been a rainy week and we hadn’t been so fortunate. Toward the end of the week, however, it had cleared up and it was looking like we were going to be in luck.

It was nothing like this, but I couldn’t pass up a banjo-playing-alien gif.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that I was a nerdy kid and would rather sit around in the air conditioner and read or draw the surroundings rather than, like, hike or do anything actually active, but these things were necessary as it was a part of the actual camp. I’ve come far, by the way. I love to hike now, and being outdoors is great. It’s like broccoli I guess, try it enough and you end up loving it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Back to the story. I was frolicking about with one of my friends, as you do when you are avoiding going into the gym, and we decided it would be fun to chase each other around a bus that was parked outside. We really were too old for this, we had just finished 7th grade, but what are you gonna do? So I was running around one side thinking my friend (who shall remain nameless, we’ll call her “T”) was running in the same direction. I was sorely mistaken.


My friend, Andra, told me it was the funniest thing she had ever seen, “like out of a movie or something!” when we collided. :-/ T’s head met my nose kind of like when two magnets snap together. All I felt was searing pain, and all I heard was laughter…everywhere. To make a long story short, I got a fun ride into town where I learned my nose was broken. My Dad immediately drove out to Ruidoso (a very sweet thing to do now that I think of it) to get me early from camp, and I didn’t get to go to that campfire. Also, if you’re wondering if there is such a thing as a nose cast, there most definitely is. I have destroyed all photographic evidence. Sorry Mom.

The time we decided to toilet paper a house…and I lied about it. My 7th grade year was an awkward time for me, but it was a busy time for me socially…kind of. I had worked my way into a group of 8th grade girls at church that I had wanted to be friends with for quite some time and toward the end of the school year it looked like I had FINALLY made it. I received an invite to an end of the school year lock in. I instantly poured my energy into preparing for the big night: clothes, sleeping bag, snacks, etc. This party was going to be off the hook (as off the hook as a party can be that is held at a church gym) and I was in! It was just like something out of one of my Babysitter’s Club books! I had arrived.

When the night finally came, I showed up duffel in tow ready to rock-n-roll. We had a blast. We snacked, watched movies, snacked, gossiped, snacked…you know, went wild. When it got dark outside, the evening’s main activity was put into motion. We were going wrapping and boy, oh boy was I stoked. This was the most illegal thing I had ever done and now that I think about it, starting with “Criminal Mischief” is a pretty big step from like, accidentally stealing lollipop or going a few miles over the speed limit. But I’m rambling…back to the story.


We loaded up on toilet paper, shaving cream and other various items I didn’t realize one needed in small time vandalism, and set out for our targets. We hit house after house delighting in our small torpedoes of annoyance, flying over trees, trailing from the branches like crude streamers. We were in such a frenzy of delight during one house that when an outdoor light flickered one we were caught for a moment like deer in the headlights. My fight or flight instincts kicked in and I took off in a flash. My awkward 12 year old feet didn’t quite work with my brain and I ran at kind of a gawky angle tripping over a sprinkler head while my other ankle landed directly into a hole in the ground. I could have gotten by with a twisted ankle, (wankle) or maybe a bad sprain, had not a friend landed on top of me in the hurried free-for-all. That’s when I heard, and felt, the small and painful, “snap!”. I think my howls were about to wake the neighborhood. All hope of maintaining any cool flew out the window.


I hobbled to the minivan getaway vehicle, and my friends, experts as they were, told me it was just a bad sprain and I would be fine. We went to Wal-Mart for more supplies. Yes, we had a chaperone. No, we’re not going there. In my 12 year old wisdom, I decided my friends were right, it probably was just a sprain. I stayed at the lock in until about 6 am when the pain was too much to bear and called my dad. When the x-rays came back at the orthopedic surgeon, I had fractures in my growth plate and wore a lovely cast from my toes to my thigh for 6 weeks.

“Shelley, didn’t you say you lied about this?” Oh yes. I didn’t want to get in trouble now, did I? My friends told their parents about wrapping houses, but I didn’t know that. I thought it was hush-hush and to keep it quiet. When my Dad, who taught all my same friends History, by the way, asked me how this horrible thing happened, I told him I was playing basketball. Naturally. This should have been his first clue. When my friends asked him in class if he would ever let me go wrapping again, that’s when I decided it was best to get my lies straight with my friends first. 😉

So, there ya have it. Don’t trust me with any trays of food, irreplaceable heirlooms or fragile bone china. I’m not your gal. These are just my top 5 mind you. I’ve not spoken of the one time I was a server at a country club or when I fell in the pool at a wedding.

4 thoughts on “From the Mother of all Klutzes…

  1. I have witnessed many a clumsy act as well as participated with you in these shenanigans! Thanks for making me laugh today friend!


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