I'm finally ready to tell you the full story of the thing that happened to me two years ago just behind my house.

I had just gotten home from work and I decided I needed to take Duncan for a quick walk to get his wiggles out because I had a busy evening ahead and wouldn't be able to play with him. We have a college just behind our house and we routinely take Duncan on walks through that college because the campus is beautiful and those kids keep me young (said in a smoker voice).

Well, because Duncan is The Most Energetic Creature Who Has Ever Lived, and because I was so full of frantic errand energy you might typically find in a minivan driving Draper mom in the late 90s, I decided to turn our walk into a run.

Thing is, I did not have running shoes or running clothes on. I had just come from the office. I was wearing black slacks, loafers, and a button-up shirt. I looked very hot and sexy, but, like, NBC drama sexy and not Sports Illustrated sexy.

But I decided my wardrobe was irrelevant. I had a minivan full of 8-year-olds heading to soccer and I needed to make it to the JOANN across town before it closed. So I, a man in his 35th year of what will hopefully be a very long life, began running in the outfit described above.

Duncan, my angel of a dog, did not care how I was dressed. Duncan doesn't possess the part of our human brains that is capable of logic or embarrassment in this area. The fact that he was a part of everything that then happened is absolutely not an indictment on him or dogs in general.

Duncan was just happy to be running. To be running with his sexy NBC drama father across the campus full of youths that make grown men feel young.

And so we ran. We ran up a road that led directly into a quad area where all the dorms are—where the youthiest of the youths dwell. Where hacky sacks are currency. Where STDs are air.

A large flock of teenage academics were playing shirtless volleyball. Dozens of blankets were scattered about the lawn where groups of 3 or 4 lay, sunglassed and sunscreened, listening to the music of the day and gabbing about celebs whose names I've never encountered.

And there I was, trouncing through the center of it all on a paved sidewalk, clockity clock went my black loafers, my angel of a dog galloping just ahead of me, a ball in his mouth that would never get thrown. I was so alive. So coked out on the thrill of urgency.

And then.

Who can say how or why it happened?

I, grown man of a certain age, grown man who has spent decades walking and running and learning how to use his grown man body.

That grown man. I. Suddenly, somehow, tripped on the concrete. The paved sidewalk. Amidst countless youths. The sunglassed shirtless ones.  

I fully and completely faceplanted my entire NBC drama sexy body onto the ground. So hard did I trip that one of my loafers flew off of my running foot and bounced into the grass, several feet away from me.

And look. Of course it's embarrassing to trip in front of many people. Especially sunglassed ones with STDs. But the trip was not the worst part of this.

The worst part? That would be the sound that erupted from the most inner part of my deflated being, so involuntary and horrifying that you might have thought I was undergoing a planned exorcism.

It sounded like a beached whale had an anvil dropped on its genitals in a funeral home. It wasn't a yell. It wasn't even a moan or groan. Whatever it was cannot be described unless we invent a new word. And I would propose we make that word "whewaaaa."

And that whewaaa literally lasted five seconds.

Do you know how long five seconds is? You probably don't. Stop for a moment and time five seconds. And imagine that you are whewaaaing for that entire time.

Do you understand how long that was to be making a sound like that?

On a sidewalk?

Amidst sunglassed youth?

Duncan, my dog, the one you heard about earlier in this story when I told you he doesn't have the mental capacity to contemplate embarrassment, suddenly and immediately developed that capacity.

This fall and the sound I made were so incredibly jolting that I advanced canine neurological evolution, single-handedly, 36 million years.

The fall was so big and the sound so loud that I drew the eyes of everyone. in. the. quad.

My spectacle interrupted dozens of conversations.

They stopped the volleyball game over this.

People literally gasped in unison like they were in the freaking Tabernacle Choir of Shock and they were performing at a Republican presidential inauguration.

It was at this point that my entire brain rebooted. It was involuntary. I would have preferred for it to go into hyperdrive like they say some people's do when they encounter an emergency.

But no. Just a full reboot. My brain even disregarded all of the popup warnings shouting that I was about to lose unsaved work and data. It just shut down. I swear to Whoopi I heard that sound in my head Windows makes when your computer starts up.

And so, fully unable to make any good conscious decisions, my instincts, which are not refined, required me to quickly stand up, turn around. TURN AROUND. and sprint.



Wearing only one shoe!

With blood on both hands and literal holes in my clothes!


Back in the direction I had come.

Sprint. My dog now with his tail between his legs and trying not to make eye contact with anyone.

And as I ran, a woman yelled, "you forgot your shoe!"

At this point my brain was almost done with the reboot, but it was still opening up automatic applications and brushing off the dust. So I turned back around to get my shoe, but then realized that I would rather not be there anymore than have these shoes continue to be a part of my life.

So after running back about four paces, I turned around again, and kept sprinting in the direction of my own house, leaving the countless youths to wonder why I, Grown Man wearing one shoe and bloodied from the massacre they had just witnessed, was seemingly sprinting to and fro at random and with no plan.

My feet clockity thumping along the paved sidewalk, down the road, and up the street to my goddamn house.

I literally had to wear those wrist casts for people with fibromyalgia for a week.

When my coworkers asked what had happened I told them I had carpel tunnel.

~It Just Gets Stranger