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When God was handing out athletic grace, I was on the other line. And while I’m well aware of my strengths — including an imagination as active as any star athlete’s workout — when it comes to moving through life, let’s just say I’m kind of like Lucy in a Marx Brothers movie.

There was the time I was getting out of the car on the passenger side. Not difficult. Doesn’t even require special training. But in my case, my foot got entangled in the strap of my purse, which was on the car floor. As a result, when I opened the door, I rolled head over heels onto the sidewalk. Ta-da! Thank you very much.

Then there was the afternoon B. was teaching me how to throw a ball — and catch it in my new mitt — like a guy. Not like a girl. His advice, “Keep your eye on the ball until it’s in your glove,” was helpful. Yup, I kept my eye on the ball from the moment it left his hand, as it arced into the sky, as it headed directly for my mitt — and then as it hit me square on the head. While I got the “eye on the ball” part right, my “move your mitt to catch the ball” skills were still suspect.

And the supposed-to-be-romantic dinner. While telling a story (with hand gestures, of course) I managed to sweep my glass over, spilling iced tea all over B.’s shirt. Twice. Within ten minutes. (The second time was just after the waiter had refilled my glass.)

Lastly, the horseback riding debacle.  After a lifetime of being afraid of horses, I finally agreed to try riding a few years ago, while we were in Canada. The horse the cowboys picked for me wasn’t the old nag B. promised it would be. No, this was the Horse from Hell. Really big. Really in charge. And really not happy with me. He refused to respond to my rein commands (probably because I didn’t know what I was doing) and proceeded to moonwalk whenever he felt like it. And there was I saying, “No! No!” (as if Satanic Slew were a dog), and trying to convince myself during the entire ride that I wasn’t going to die. (In yet another of Her little jokes, God saw to it that B., who was totally comfortable riding, was given a horse that looked like it was ready for the corral in the sky — go figure.) But finish the ride I did.

You’ve gotta give it to me — I’ve got a lot of heart. I pick myself up and keep going, on to the next misadventure. Like a combination of Lucy and Harpo. And with a huge capacity to laugh at myself (and, apparently, to give others reason to laugh at me too).

Honk, honk.

© 2012 Claudia Grossman

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