How to fall over

26 Feb

After Madonna’s Brits tumble last night, falling over has shot to the top of the news agenda. It has never been more important to fall over well. As a perennial faller-over-er (less so since my back was fixed, but still an issue thanks to my numb lower leg), I have some tips for anyone finding themselves in that position (flat).

1) Be indiscriminate. I am just as capable of falling over and doing hospital-requiring damage on a flat surface (Tarmac) as I am on a sloping surface (stairs). I can look at this in one of two ways: I am fair in my falling; or every location presents equal danger. The view I take depends on how recently I have fallen.

2) Distract from the fall by returning to the previous upright state with alacrity. Madonna modelled this perfectly last night, springing up with a nonchalant ‘nothing to see here’ approach which exemplified this rule. Even after years of falling as an adult, I can still admire such an approach and salute it. An example to all of us for whom vertical is difficult.

3) During the fall, plan a trick so eye-catching that the fall becomes secondary to what is achieved as a result. Difficult, but master-able. In an era now past, I could fall down a flight of stairs and not spill a drop from my wine glass. That used to elicit gasps of astonishment and effectively distract from the fact that stairway top to bottom was undertaken in the blink of an eye not the usual progress of seconds.

4) Try not to become addicted to exercise that requires a lot of staying-upright. I have failed resoundingly on this one with my year-old walking fetish but there is no denying that since starting walking regularly I have found more kerbs with my trailing right foot than ever before. While this is simply because I encounter more of the pesky pavement-breakers than I did previously – and have no intention of quitting walking for macrame – it has increased the instance of a slight or significant stumble exponentially (especially with my dodgy knee).

5) Consider your clothing. I won’t even go there with heels, other than to say I love them, I wear them, I’m an adult, I accept the risks. Here I mean actual clothing. Trailing pieces are right out (in retrospect I shudder at the potential for calamity presented by my wedding dress, but hey ho, it, I, and our guests are all still here). But – as poor Madonna found last night – apparently straightforward elements of a garment all have a part to play. I particularly watch my sleeves; these catch on door frames throughout the house, jerking me violently backwards (my mantra – why walk unless it’s purposeful? – applies even in the home) and sending me floor-wards in one seamless movement.

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