It was just like a bad comedy. I stepped into the shower without first noting that there were no towels hanging up, or a bath mat laid down, either. It was such a dumb Man thing to do. I should have hung shelves badly and not asked for directions to complete the Idiot Sitcom Dad trifecta.
Instead, I opted for a different brand of idiocy. Rather than call out to my wife to grab me a towel from our linen closet, I chose to try and get it myself. Again, no bath mat, so I am completely soaking wet and trying to ford my way across the bathroom floor without anything between my dripping feet and the tiles.
I make it to the bathroom door, open it, and make a fumbling grab for the linen closet door, which is mere inches away. And then, one foot slips violently, doing a Rockette kick upward. The other one follows a split second later. For a moment I am completely off the ground, in mid-air, and am fully conscious of this. I feel like I’m outside of myself, observing it. Time stands still.
I’ve had an experience like this once before. On a trip to Action Park at age 12 or so, I rode the alpine slide and followed all the directions, and still found myself separated from my sled when I hit a bump just a bit too hard. I remember feeling suspended above the ground, seeing the sled on the grass next to the track, and consciously thinking “Huh, that’s weird,” before I crashed down to the concrete below me, shoulder first.
While I’m mid-air above the tiles, I think, “I’m going to be one of those idiots who kills themselves slipping in the bathroom.” For this nanosecond, I’m 1000 percent sure I will come crashing down and break my neck, leaving a wet, naked, dumb corpse for my family to find later. I’m going to be a Darwin Award winner.
I come crashing down to the floor and somehow I fall side first. It hurts like hell, but is nothing near fatal. I let out a series of loud laugh-cries, these weird stuttering chuckles that draw my wife’s attention. (Well, that and the noise of my fat ass plummeting to the floor.) She yells “What happened?” several times, but my voice is too choked with pain-laughter to respond.
Finally, I spit out “I slipped” between guffaws. Then, a “fuck!” that is chopped up by so many gasps it gives the obscenity 13 syllables. A split second ago, I was convinced I had a date with the Grim Reaper. Now, I only have a sore hip, stinging pain in my knees, and the burn of my own stupidity. I was also given a depressing reminder that you don’t get to choose how and by what manner you will meet your fate. (Unless you go for suicide, which is not really my cup of tea.) My own experiences with death in the last decade taught me that pretty much every death is undignified and unfair, and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. This, however, would have been a shade more undignified than most, I think.
Not many people come so close to death and live to tell the tale. I am one of the very few who has been given a vision of my own mortality. And it was fucking ridiculous.