I Do All My Own Stunts

When I was not quite four years old, my parents bought one of those great swing sets that have two swings, a teter-totter, a slide, and a ladder. My parents decided that the ladder was “too dangerous” so it was put in the garage. On my own I decided to retrieve the ladder and place it on the side of the house, on the back patio. Long story short— I climbed up the ladder only to have it slide down the wall of the house with my wrists under a rung. Yes, I broke both of my arms. So much for protecting me from the ladder. This began a life-long series of pratt-falls.

The next significant crash was a fall down the basement stairs which broke my ankle. I suspect that in today’s world of reporting these kinds of injuries, my parents might have gotten a visit from Child Protective Services. My next crash of memory happened in 8th grade, when I was run over by an AV cart which half severed my Achilles.
I do remember the ice storms of Oklahoma which put me on the sidewalk more times than I can count.


My next fall of record happened during the Cleveland Browns vs. Broncos game that included “The Drive”. With the Rich Karlis kick for our win in overtime, I jumped up into the air in our family room. My toe caught the fireplace and I fell right through our glass coffee table. The only kids who were at home to witness the 10,000 pieces of safety glass on our floor, were Steph and Matt. After they saw no blood, Steph burst into laughter as I lay looking up through the frame of the table from the floor—Go Broncos.


My ‘all time best’ fall took place about 20 years ago when we lived at the top of Capitol Hill. I would often walk to work at South Broadway Christian Church, which was exactly two miles away. I was headed out the door and down the five flights of stairs to get to the street. Just before I got out the door I hear from upstairs “Honey could you carry that box out to my car in the garage”. That box contained a damaged and very expensive shadow box that MK had bought at the Cherry Creek Mall. I was frustrated for more reasons than I can enumerate. She was exchanging it and wove me into her scheme. I muttered and then took it to her car in the garage. As I was coming back in the the house through the kitchen I picked up a banana off the counter. I peeled it and shoved it in my mouth.

Then I hit the first landing I flung the peel into the street, about 30ft. below. As I stepped off the curb to the street, my right heel hit the peel and yes, it launched me onto Downing Street. I face planted well into the middle of the street. I looked south down the street to see a bus heading right at me. The irony of slipping on my own banana peel only to be run over by a bus stung. I got up and got back to the curb. The next question was “do I share this story”? It was too good not to tell on myself. My reward was this T-Shirt from my daughter Amy, which is featured here—I DO ALL MY OWN STUNTS.


My most recent crash was not of my own making. Last week I was coming out of the Men’s room after choir practice at FCC in Greeley. We had just installed new carpeting. The threshold cover had been accidentally left loose. My toe hit it and I went down like a ‘old growth’ tree. I hit the floor so hard that my Apple Watch wanted to call the Emergency Help line. In five minutes it asked again. “I see you are still on the ground, are you OK”? 12 days later I am healing and grateful that my worst fall was my first fall—some 69 years ago.
Onward and Upward, Mark

3 thoughts on “I Do All My Own Stunts

  1. On antibiotics for a persistent case of bronchitis, wearing new bifocals, and wearing the best-looking sweet little high-heeled mules, I once fell off the chancel steps in an unfamiliar sanctuary with a sloped floor. It was an evening community worship service to witness against the death penalty when Nebraska was close to passing a ban on the practice in the legislature. Big-wigs from city and state governments were in attendance. It was being covered by tv news. There I was doing an incredible arabesque off the chancel to gasps throughout the sanctuary and landing flat out like a belly-flop with no water. Knowing “the show must go on” I got up as gracefully as I could and continued to distribute the long gray paper chain made by church youth groups across the city. Once my liturgical partner and I safely delivered the chain I was holding when I took my flying leap, we returned to the chancel to repeat the process. Repeat the process I did. Only this time, as I sailed off the chancel face first I heard the bones breaking–four of them, in my right foot. It’s been years since that happened. The death penalty in Nebraska has been repealed and reinstated in the time that’s passed since that humiliating night. I don’t know what’s worse, the big ole ugly lump on top of my right foot, or the embarrassment that still turns my face red when I remember the second round of horrified gasps, and my ride out of the sanctuary in a wheel-chair. Oy!

    Liked by 1 person

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