Friday, October 22, 2010

I wish so badly this had happened to's too good of a story not to share. I had lunch with a friend yesterday who told me about a rather painful encounter she had with the zipper on her sweatshirt.  As she was pulling it over her head, some how the zipper "handle" got stuck in her nose... and actually gave her a bloody nose.  We had a good laugh and both agreed that it sounded like something that usually happens to me.  You know, weird acts of randomness that are either completely embarrassing or somewhat painful.  As usual, this brought a rather poignant event from my past right up to the front.  
The Christmas Tree Story.

When I was in college, part of my teaching practicum was to student teach in a preschool.  I loved every minute of it - fanciful far off stories about how the tooth fairy came to be, lots of unsolicited hugs, unconditional admiration, speech impediments that made each story just that more entertaining, and of course... field trips.

The class I taught was made up of three year olds only - so we didn't get to go on a lot of "long" field trips, but the one we made several times was just to the other side of the church basement where the church hosted an Adult Day Care Center.  This program consisted of helping mentally challenged adults enjoy some time outside of their primary residence and give their care-takers a rest.  The preschool and the Adult Day Care Center partnered up on a number of occasions to do crafts or sing songs, etc.  It was a very lovely partnership and was quite rewarding to all who were involved.

Holiday time was drawing closer and the preschool kids were all set for a day of crafts with their Adult Buddies.  At exactly 10:00 am, I  proudly marched my line of three year olds down the church hallway, through the Fellowship Hall, and straight to the Activity Room.  They were quiet and obedient, and for some reason I thought this had everything to do with me, so I was feeling full of pride and confidence in my new found leadership.  The Activity Room was filled with Christmas decorations complete with a beautifully adorned Christmas tree. The adults had been assisted to their tables with their materials and were ready to start the project.  I would love to tell you what the project was, but for reasons you will understand in a moment, I have no memory of what our charge was that day.

Trying to look and feel important, I was dutifully tucking each and every little three year old into their designated spot and waiting for our next directions.  This is when the story becomes a little sketchy.  As I was pushing a child up closer to the table, I stepped back and somehow, my heel stuck on the shiny tile which then began as a just little trip, but led to an unfortunate series of lurches and hand flailing of trying to steady myself on - yes - the Christmas tree that was directly behind me.  As we all know, decorative trees are not meant to "catch" anyone - let alone a college age student decked out in a full dress complete with tights and a pair of Mary Janes.  In addition to this, a card table was set up just to the right of the Christmas tree and happened to be laid out with all the crafts the adults had painstakingly made in probably a year's time.  So as I was trying to pull myself as gracefully as possible out of the Christmas tree, I quickly grabbed the side of the card table... which... as you can probably guess was in no position to steady me either.  
The would-be Christmas present crafts each of the adults had presumably made for their hard-working family members, were now flying through the air and crashing down one by one on to that before mentioned shiny tile.

As quickly as possible, I tried to pick myself up, straighten out my dress and survey the damage.  My fair skin is reddened easily with embarrassment, so I'm sure I looked like a frantic tomato head as I was trying to save and restore each ceramic ornament or origami star.  When I finally surfaced from the rescue mission,  I was greeted with an eerily quiet room full of wide open eyes and gaping mouths.  I haven't done a lot of stand-up comedy in my life, but I am here to tell you - one of the toughest audiences you'll ever meet after performing tremendous feats of comedy - is that which is made up of three-year-olds and extremely confused adults.

The saddest part of the story is that the other teachers I was working with, missed the whole thing.  They all heard a noise and wondered what all the ruckus was, but didn't see any of it.  This was only a month into my practicum, so I didn't know them well - and every time I tried to tell the story, I couldn't stop laughing.  I think they just felt sorry for me.  Little did they know, that I come from a long line of trippers - this wasn't the first time I'd broken up the party with a fall - but it was certainly the most memorable. 

So there it is.  Happy Friday!

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