I'm accident prone. Most of my family's stories about me focus on my more bizarre childhood injuries. That time I took out a garden gnome playing Superman on a $5 plywood skateboard (earning a fat lip), fell off a jungle gym (four stitches), or was run over by the neighbor's kid on his bicycle (oodles of stitches).
My coordination did not improve with age. By high school, I had fallen off a horse that was standing still, caught pneumonia in May, and gotten lost in my own house. As an adult, I once received a concussion from falling off a barstool. (This isn't as pathetic as it sounds. A waiter knocked into my chair, sending me sprawling onto a marble floor.)
But my most-embarrassing accident ever was in my college bowling class. What? It was for a P.E. credit. Chips and beer were not distributed, instead, we learned the art of overhand vs. underhand throws, picking up spares, the 7-10 split, and so on. Three-step, four-step, and five-step approaches were rehearsed, debated, and scrutinized. This was a serious, no-chumps-no-lumps bowling experience. There were grades.
The various approaches proved to be my undoing. One day, I mixed a three-step with a four-step, creating a nifty Riverdance effect. I'm sure it was lovely to look at, until I put my foot squarely onto the slippery part of the lane. I began to lose my footing. Then my footing was lost entirely. I slid down the lane, while the ball headed straight for my seat (a reversal of the usual procedure). Somehow, I managed to skid down the lane on my stomach, feet-first, which allowed me to watch helplessly as my 7-pound hot pink ball hurtled towards my astonished classmates.
Once the shock and riotous laughter had subsided, my classmates formed a sort of human chain to pull me to safety. I'd acquired a good bit of distance, a beautiful arc, and a couple of top-secret bruises.
Needless to say, bowling scares me to death. I can live in drug-addled or heavily mined nations, but I can't go bowling without a few breathing exercises and a pep talk.
But I've finally found a solution: duckpin bowling. Duckpin involves teeny-tiny pins and bocce-esque balls on normal-sized lanes. Tim and I went on Saturday. I finally see what I've been missing by ignoring Maryland for the last 31 years. I spent the evening trying mightily to hurt myself. I wore a long, flowy scarf to see if it would get caught in anything. Nope. I placed a tentative toe onto the lane, but no slippage. I even tried to drop a ball or two on my foot while Tim was looking the other way, but that didn't even hurt enough to faze me.
People of the world, I can duckpin bowl!