Life inside a Slapstick Routine

On my way to work on Monday, I shut a part of my body in the car door.

This happens often, actually. I’ve shut my fingers in there more than once, and when I had long hair, it would get caught in the door all the time. I wouldn’t notice this until I whipped my head around to try to execute a tricky merge. I’d merge alright, but I’d have to check later for bald spots.

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This kind of thing has decreased by 4,000% since I got a pixie cut. I recommend them for that reason alone.

But Monday’s door smash was not like that. It wasn’t a finger, or a foot, or a long sweater on its way to becoming a much shorter sweater. No, the part of me that got shut in the door on Monday was my head.

It didn’t feel great. I knocked my glasses off of my face and bent the frames so that now they slip off my nose if I look too far down.

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Which is a bummer, because that’s where all the best stuff is.

There’s a goose egg under my eyebrow that won’t shrink, and I spent the hour afterwards gaining a deep understanding of why Yosemite Sam walks around in a daze with birds chirping around his head whenever someone drops an anvil on him.

When I called my boyfriend later, he looked up concussions symptoms for me.

What He Asked and What I Answered

  1. “Does it hurt?” “Very much.”
  2. “Did you pass out?” “…How would I know?”
  3. “Are you feeling pressure?” “Constantly. Mostly from myself but also society, I guess.”
  4. “Are you fatigued?” “It’s 3pm on a Monday.”

Eventually we determined that I was fine, just bruised and cranky. This did not prevent me from dramatically telling him goodbye in case I didn’t wake up the next morning.

I woke up. I’m totally fine, except for some lingering confusion. Namely, about how I managed to shut my head — a body part I rank in my top five — in the car door.

I wish I could say this is the first time I’ve done such a thing, but unfortunately it’s not even a little rare. I’m a member of the species Klutz, genus NoHandEyeCoordination ToSpeakOf. Things like this are my lot in life.

Perhaps you’ve seen my people misrepresented in Hollywood films. Anne Hathaway trips endearingly down a staircase at work, papers flying everywhere, right into James Marsden’s handsome arms. Sandra Bullock runs headlong into traffic after an adorable mutt she doesn’t even like that is already safely across the street tilting his head at her like she’s crazy. And she is crazy — crazy for Hugh Grant, who has just tackled her out of the way of a honking semi. Anne looks at James. Sandra looks at Hugh. They fall deeply in love.

As my frequently bruised brethren know, this is not how being clumsy works in real life. Oh, we fall into things all the time. It’s not love, though. It’s usually a ditch or an elevator shaft. My inability to move my body smoothly has never landed me a man. Sometimes I accidentally spit while choking on my own tongue, and that has landed on a man. That’s sort of similar.


I’d spit on him any time.

Why do I walk around shutting my head in doors, slipping on supposedly slip-proof surfaces, and ramming my hands into any sharp pieces of metal within a two-foot radius? I’m not sure, but I have some theories.

Why I Am Like This

  1. At the moment of my birth, the universe said, “Hmm. Weird forehead vein? Jaw that won’t open quite right? Skin that burns instantly in the sun? That’s ok, but you know what would really be good? If she also couldn’t walk right or open or hold things.”
  2. I have a superpower! I am Captain Trips-a-Lot. Able to catch objects invisible to everyone else with my foot! Less steady than a wonky table everyone hates! Marvel at her might, and then help her up off the floor!
  3. My senses of balance and knowing-where-my-body-is-in-relation-to-itself-and-other-objects are underdeveloped. I probably came from the caveman family who wrote think pieces about mammoth hunting, rather than the ones doing the actual hunting. It’s a miracle we survived this long.
  4. I have no understanding of the laws of physics.
  5. I subscribe to the sort of magical thinking that assumes those laws do not apply to me.

Whatever it is, it makes me feel a little better to know there are people out there like me. You’ll know us by the way we’re often on the floor. By the wounds on our knuckles and the unexplainable bruises on our shins. By the fear in our eyes when confronted with anything fragile, heavy, hot, sharp, or remotely resembling a cliff.

If you’re not one of us, all we ask is that you turn a blind eye to our zany pratfalls and provide us with ice or band-aids when we need them.

If you are one of us, please feel free to join our club! We meet the third Wednesday of every month, helmets are complimentary, and all the corners in our clubhouse are padded.


P.S. If you’re into misrepresentation in Hollywood, here is a Life & Steph lecture about hotties vs. attractive people, and also Johnny Depp.


  1. actualconversationswithmyhusband

    I’m reconstructing this event in my mind and need to know: were you getting into or out of the car when this happened?

    No, I don’t know why this is so important to me. I mean, I am also a person who walks into things inexplicably and has slammed the door on parts of me/my ensemble many a time, so maybe I’m just hoping that if I can choreograph your mishap in my mind, I can avoid it myself. Ooh, you’re like my very own life-simulator! (This is not a paying position.)

  2. Todd Duffey

    I like that you go back and collect needed data to show experiential, listed proof of what it takes to be you! As for the bumps and bruises, though – make sure people don’t mistake you for a fight club promoter.

  3. Miriam Joy

    I have a complete lack of proprioception, which basically means my body has no real clue where my limbs are, resulting in a failure of hand-eye coordination. My fine motor skills (playing the violin, writing, fiddly craft projects) are excellent. My gross motor skills, on the other hand… well, let’s just say more than once I’ve gone to put a glass of water on a table and missed the table. I blame my hypermobility syndrome, because my body’s put together a bit too loosely and thus isn’t sending enough signals to my brain to tell me where my arms are and useful information like that. It’s like, you know when you’re in your awkward teenage growth spurt stage? I mean, mine wasn’t exactly a growth spurt, more of a slow growth trickle, but when you’re growing a fair amount and your body just has no idea what’s going on and suddenly clumsiness? Yeah, that’s me constantly. Sounds like you’re similar. Years of dancing have helped me get a slightly better sense of my legs and so on — my arms are just bit behind because some of those years were Irish dancing, and so they’ve had less experience.

  4. queent

    Enjoyed this post hahaha. Im one of you anyway! 😂 i also tend to lure public humiliation in addition to the clumsiness. Anyway Get better soon :D

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