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September 25, 2014 / bekbekbekah

She Who Falls A Lot

One of the statements you’ll hear a lot of people say about the advantages of being short is that short people’s center of gravity is lower to the earth, so they have better balance than the average bear. I’m not here to try to discredit that statement, but I am here to say that it doesn’t hold true for me in particular. Here is a very tiny sampling of the many ways Bekah Brown stuggles with balance and being normal.

One of my friends at church made a comment about her kids always falling out of their seats in class and wondering if it was intentional or if they were just that uncoordinated. I answered her musings with an example from my middle school years. I’m quite fine with having reached my full height of 5’0″ in the 8th grade, but the problems associated with being so short are that if I sit in a normal sized chair – and sit in it properly – my feet are going to dangle. If I try really hard I can get my toes to touch the ground, but that puts a lot of stress on my body and I don’t like it. When I was in middle school, my English class had assigned seating, and for whatever reason, the seat I was assigned to was the devil incarnate. I went to a private Christian school my whole life, and at that time there weren’t really any funds for purchasing new desks or desks that were made for left-handed kids. Most desks have a textured plastic chair and a metal rack underneath where you can put your books, but the desk I was given had a really smooth glossy finish, and the metal rack underneath had been removed. The seat was also tilted down on the left side (ie, the open side). That may sound like a minor annoyance to you guys, but let’s just look at all the problems here: I’m a short person and can’t touch the ground properly, there’s also no metal rack for me to hook my feet on in lieue of touching the ground. I’m left handed so I have to turn my body more toward the bar on the right of the desk for me to have enough space for my books and to write comfortably, but the seat is tilted down on the side I have to lean toward. Texturing on the chair usually provides some sort of friction or traction for the person sitting in the chair, but this chair was like polished ice and created a near-frictionless environment for the person sitting in the chair. So many times I would be focusing on my work or really lost in whatever we had been assigned to read that day, and before I knew it I would be airborn or on my butt on the floor trying to figure out what happened. I tried getting to class early and switching desks around so that I wouldn’t fall out so often, but every time I moved the desk someone else would move it back by the next day because NO ONE LIKED THAT DESK. My classmates just got used to it happening and by the end of the first semester me falling on the ground was just business as usual and the class could go on without any interruption due to my sudden relocation.

A couple summers after I graduated from college Krista and I were working at the same company, and my family was going through some pretty rough circumstances, so I ended up semi-living with Krista and her brother in their townhouse. I went for a run one night so I geared up, grabbed my phone with my right hand, took Krista’s keychain pepperspray with my left hand, and set off. I was running down Wilcrest with the intention of turning around at Memorial and going back to the house. Things were going great, I was feeling good about life, and I was managing to keep my pace steady despite having not run consistently for two years at that point. As I neared Memorial I started to lose my momentum, but I forced myself to keep going because that’s the only proper way to get back into the routine of things. The sidewalks  are kind of weird in that neighborhood, and at some point the sidewalk on the left side of the street (the side I was running on) just ends and you have to either cross the street or run through the sides of people’s yards. I chose the yards because it is only like that for 5 or 6 blocks, and Memorial was only 3 blocks ahead of me. I was managing the height differences between the yards and the streets pretty well until the very last curb before Memorial. The yard was the same height as the others, but there were tree roots sitting on top of the dirt that I didn’t see right away. I made it up onto the curb successfully, but I didn’t lift my right foot up quite high enough to clear the roots and as I began to fall my options were very clearly laid out for me: 1) catch yourself with your right hand; smash your iPhone; 2) catch yourself with your left hand; potentially pepper spray yourself; 3) just bite it. I chose option 3 and just straight up BIT IT on the tree roots. I paused for a second to make sure nothing was badly injured and stood up to dust myself off and finish the last part of the block. I was chuckling to myself that I was glad it was night time and probably no one had seen me, but then I looked up and saw that I had fallen directly underneath a street light, and that the light at Memorial was red so there was a huge line of cars on Wilcrest that had a perfect view of my fall. I wasn’t too embarrassed by that though, until I looked down and saw that the shirt I had worn was my bright green shirt that has, “I LOVE TURTLES” hand-painted on the front of it. So not only had the people at the light witnessed someone falling, but they witnessed a person wearing a bright green I LOVE TURTLES shirt totally bite it while being spotlighted in a very public place. All I could do at that point was laugh really hard and carry on with my run.

A couple summers after the I LOVE TURTLES ordeal, I found myself feeling congratulatory because I hadn’t done anything incredibly embarrassing in a public setting in a while. And apart from not doing anything embarrassing in public, I hadn’t done anything all that weird by myself either. I was cleaning my dad’s church one weekend and decided I wanted to get a burrito from Chipotle,  so I finished up my work and headed to the nearest location. The nearest location happens to be on Fry Road and I-10 and it’s in a little building with 3 full-glass front stores all together. Because of my shortness and the fact that I drive a full-size truck and my baseboards hit me right above my knees, my Pops made some step bars and installed them on my truck for me to help with getting in and out of my truck. Even with the step bars though, when I have the option I like to park next to a curb because it just makes life so much easier for me. I was presented with such an option when I got to Chipotle, and took it. I parked, ordered my burrito and ate it, topped off my drink, and went back to my truck.  When I was walking back to my truck I stepped up with my right foot onto the curb, but I wasn’t paying attention very well to my foot placement because however I placed my right foot, it wasn’t able to carry my weight properly once I stepped with my left foot and before I knew it I was doing a crazy spin-fall onto the grassy portion of the curb. I didn’t have time to think about what I was doing during the fall, but when the fall was complete, I saw that I had ended up on my back, my left hand holding my Chipotle cup in the air and completely unspilled in victorious defiance of gravity, and that all the occupants of the Jimmy John’s I parked by were now on alert and ready to spring through the door to my aid. I sat up and waved to let them know I was ok, and then three random people from the parking lot all approached me very cautiously to ask me if I was ok and if I needed help. I stood up and assured them I was ok, performed to proper footwork for stepping onto the curb, got into my truck and drove off.

Last year I was in a program at my office called Young Guns, and for the first time ever the president of our company suggested that he have a grilling party at his house so he could meet with us. Our group was a really big group though, so in order to receive an invitation to it you had to have attended a certain percentage of the YG information sessions. I managed to receive an invitation, as did 40 or so other fellow Young Guns, and my heart was crazy happy. First off, I love Steve Knowles. I love him. He’s so great, and he’s willing to do just about anything if it means people will laugh, and he doesn’t come off as high minded or snobbish, even though he has the title and the means to act that way. Secondly, I loved my time with Young Guns, and I was always meeting new people in the company and making friends. I was one of the first people to arrive at the party, so I was helping out however I could with the setup of everything. When I was done helping a lot more people had arrived so I started making my rounds and chatting people up. I played corn hole, I played the ladder toss game, I ate some fajitas, I sat down and listened to Steve’s wife Vicky tell us the story of how she met Steve, etc. I noticed a table of a bunch of guys that were all being very exclusive and preoccuppied with their own conversation so I decided to crash it. I grabbed a spare chair and set it by the table which was close to a small bed of rocks in front of the Knowles’s large breakfast area window. I very smoothly interjected myself into their conversation by saying something like, “Hey guys, I’m here to crash this conversation,” or something like that and I introduced myself to them and asked them their names, etc. They asked me what my position was with Mustang and when I told them I was a videographer; they thought it was cool and asked me what kind of videos I produced. Steve was standing pretty close to the table and I said, “Oh you know.. the normal stuff.. Training sessions.. safety reminders.. Def Leppard parodies for our anniversary parties..” which made Steve smile because he played Joe Elliot in the spoof, and he joined the conversation at that point. Then someone mentioned how hard it was to get things posted on our company’s splash page because you have to go through so many different people to make sure everyone’s approved it. That is the same process that I have to go through too, and I wanted to let them know they weren’t alone in their frustrations. I said, “I know man! There are a lot of steps. It took me almost two weeks to get a link set up for people to access the Hurricane Safety page I created for the department, and I’m HSE!” and on the part of “I’m HSE!” I threw my hands in the air like, “What’re you gonna do?” but that action shifted the weight of my chair, which I hadn’t realized was half on the bed of rocks and half on the pavement. I startled myself because of the shift so I dropped my arms really quickly and the guys at the table laughed because of the sudden change in my countenance and Steve got a chuckle from it too. We thought everything was over, but then both of the chair’s back legs started sinking into the soft ground under the rocks which threw me backwards quite suddenly. I screamed out, “Why is this happening?!” and lunged forward at Steve who had put his hand out to keep my from falling through the breakfast area window, and the entire table lost it at that point. The commotion we caused caught everyone’s attention so we had to tell the story over again for the people who’d missed it, and suddenly my name went from Bekah Brown to HSE, and whenever I see that group of guys in one of Mustang’s buildings we look at each other, throw our hands in the air, and yell, “I’m HSE!”

One Comment

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  1. allthoughtswork / Sep 25 2014 2:28 pm

    I never fall, I elegantly autumn.

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