Friday, November 6, 2009

Maybe It's an Inner Ear Thing

While searching my brain for funny things to say in this blog of mine, I think I hit gold.  How could I have forgotten my tried and true recipe for comedy success?  Embarrassing myself.  Perfect!

I also realized while searching through my vast supply of embarrassing moments that many of these tales of woe involve teaching.  And falling.  Seriously.

The very first embarrasing moment that involved me in the role of "Ms. Marcetti, college instructor" (aside from my very first day of teaching when I showed up so nervous and sweaty that I didn't raise my arms even once for fear of revealing huge wet armpit stains) took place after class while I was escorting two of my students downstairs to my office to answer their composition-related questions in the comfort of my office because ... I had an OFFICE.  That I could use.  For official office-related things, like help my students.

So, I was heading toward the stairwell, confidently juggling a pile of student papers, a large bag filled with more papers, a large travel mug of coffee, and clicking along in my "grown up" heels, all while chatting with two nice lady students.  I took my first step down, and my fantastic stilleto heel decided it would be much funnier if it landed in the cuff of my "fancy teaching pants" on my opposite leg instead of landing on the stair where it belonged.

What followed must have been something truly magnificent to behold.  Unfortunately, I was unable to witness it, as I was the one with one leg trapped in the pant leg of the other, hurtling headfirst toward the bottom of the stairs.

I fell all the way down the stairs, my coffee mug flying in the air with sweet drops of caffeniated warmth raining down on my head.  As for physical injuries, I came from the incident with only a seriously raw knee and a sore hand.  The psychological pain?  Oh, it was BAD.  Those poor girls did not know what to do.  The noises that came out of them were half shock and half laughter.  Then they rushed to me in concern.  One even said, "It's okay!  I fall all the time!"  The other said, "At least we know you're human!"

I laughed it off and we went to my office and questions were answered, but the uncomfortableness could not be removed from the air.  Oh, it was brutal.

So, you might think I would not be interested in repeat performances of this nature.  Well, you'd be wrong.

Not more than a few weeks later, I was standing at the front of the classroom (luckily, not the class of the two girls who watched me crash down a flight of stairs) talking animatedly, writing on the super-awesome electronic overhead that allows you to put a piece of paper on it and project images like those stupid old-fashioned ones that require everything to be copied on to clear plastic sheets (seriously, I had no idea what I was going to do when I started teaching at Baker and they didn't have these.  It was like going back to pioneer days or something!) when, all of a sudden, I realized I was in the process of doing something truly embarrassing and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

It started with my ankle -- for no reason whatsoever -- slowly collapsing.  It just decided not to hold me anymore.  Because I had not learned my lesson and was still wearing classy-lady stilletos, one heel slid on the floor beneath me, and I knew there was no saving me.  What followed might have made it into the Guiness Book of World Records for the slowest fall ever had it been caught on camera.  The fact that I was standing behind a cabinet that was waist-high must have made it even more comedic for my student audience.  I S-L-O-W-L-Y started falling, but not to the left or the right, but directly down, like I was squatting.  What seemed like a full five minutes later, I was on the ground.  The classroom was as silent as a tomb.

I quickly popped back up, laughing, and saying something like "Oh geez, that was strange!"  My students returned my attempts at laughing off my embarrassment with looks of total horror.  One girl even looked disgusted.  I can only imagine what they must have been thinking.

I made a snap decision and, popping my hands on my hips, said, "Note to self:  No more tequila for breakfast!"  24 of my 25 students started laughing hysterically and then relaxed, and their looks of concern for my mental health were replaced with looks that said "She is a funny lady."  One student kept her look of concern.  Well, 24 out for 25 ain't bad.

One of my peers helpfully suggested I see a doctor due to a possible problem with my inner ear.  I didn't have the heart to tell the poor dear that two falls in three weeks was actually a huge improvement for me.


  1. I laughed super hard the entire time I was reading that second story because I could totally picture what your face must have looked like.
    okay, I'm still laughing right now while I type this.
    you're the best.

  2. That is scary, you could have hurt yourself REALLY BAD.
    I am glad you only had mental injuries, that is bad enough!

  3. Joe - Yeah, I wasn't really able to think about that for a few days. The emotional trauma was too deep. It was a BRICK staircase with LINOLEUM on the landing. Yikes.


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