If any of the following incidents serve as foreshadowing, I might be in for an unfortunate, untimely demise. I’d rather die when I’m around 90, from a battle of wits gone awry, but it’s out of my hands.
Here are a few reasons why I could probably die in a mortifying way.
The bounce house incident. My sister and I were fully grown and her daughter was around six. Our neighborhood was having a party in the park, complete with hot dogs, sno-cones and bounce houses, so we invited Jeni and Libby to come out for it. I can’t even remember if my niece wanted any part of the big bounce house—but Jeni and I sure did—so I tossed Libby up in it and we trailed behind.
After getting her footing, she started to really enjoy it—jumping wildly and giggling heartily. I thought I’d crank up our good times by showing her some cool flips I had in my arsenal. My sister bounded off to the side, giving me ample room to impress. Once I got the tricks out of my system, I hopped off to the side to join Jeni and give Libby more room. On my final hop over, the bounce house shifted on its axis a bit, and instead of landing next to her, I slipped into the side seam (imagine a 1970s water-bed and the part between the “bladder” and the side frame.)
We were laughing really hard as I tried repeatedly to leap, catapult and fling my way out; but then Jeni realized that—based on the size of the blow up and the amount of strength I lost from laughing—I wasn’t going to be able to dig myself out of the crevice of death. She reached down to pull me out, but this caused a full tilt, and she quickly joined me, head first, in the valley of doom.
Now the “super fun” bounce house was 75% on its side and kids started tumbling towards us—not intentionally—and an unfortunate 10:00 news story flashed through my mind of solemn newscasters reporting injuries to several small children and two 30-somethings in a Disney Princess Bounce House.
Somehow, we acted quickly and propelled our way out, with Libby in tow. Little Doodlebop seemed unfazed, but Jeni and I were emotional wrecks on the inside. We race-walked up to Jocelyn across the park—wild-eyed and out of breath. She looked at us suspiciously before tossing some Cheetos in her mouth and saying, “I told you they’re built for kids.”
The escalator incident. Before I begin, two factions of people exist. People who think this story is funny and people who actually love me the way love was intended. I’ll go ahead and tell you that it’s a “true colors” kind of story and I remember each person who laughed before making sure I was okay.
I’d flown back home from a trip up North. I retrieved my luggage and headed to the down escalator to catch a tram to my car. It was one of those escalators with the see-through cover over it … like a tube. The genius traveler 10 steps below me had his big rolling suitcase IN FRONT of him (rookie) and when he got to the bottom, the bag didn’t make it over the lip—and it caused him to fall backwards. He was down, but of course the escalator kept moving. Since the exit was blocked by a body and luggage, the next man behind him fell backwards also. Within one second, several people in front of me had fallen and were trapped among moving metal and several tangled bags—while the sharp teeth of the escalator continued on its merry way.
It was a small pile-up and I was going to be next in the heap. I could have turned and run up the escalator to escape that outcome, but it was packed with people and bags. I stepped backwards, trying to gain even a step before I joined the mess, but an escalator full of people facing forward, going down, and trying to step UP and BACKWARDS on a relentless DOWN-MOVING escalator was causing complete mayhem. As soon as I could, I literally jumped over the four fallen men in front of me to get away from those incessant steel steps.
Women with children, still coming down and seeing the chaos, but unable to stop it or escape it, were screaming. It was awful—so scary. I was at the bottom at this point, and looking up, but also scared of what I was going to see in the melee (I was imagining fingers and hair getting stuck in the rotating linked steps.) Someone was finally able to hit the emergency stop button and people peeled themselves up and away. Bags were everywhere; kids were crying.
I headed to the (wrong) tram really shaken up and hurting, but not sure what was injured. I had blood all over the side of my jeans, by my knee, and my palms were bleeding like I’d fallen on gravel. Once I got home and surveyed the damage, I had grotesque bruises where the steel teeth of the steps had scraped down my thighs and calves. I also had some awesome bruises on my lower back and upper butt. I mean, these bruises were colossal. I felt like I’d been beat up.
Side Note: I’m actually glad Instagram wasn’t around then, because I’d surely have my bruised ass on the internet—there is not one doubt in my mind.
The bug-killing incident. Last summer, we had quite a wasp/yellow jacket/hornet issue. By some people’s estimation, we didn’t actually have a situation, but because I see all of them as flying grim reapers, I took to Amazon for an answer to the nuisance. Enter The Executioner.
With the acquisition of The Executioner, I became a lean, mean anything-flying-with-a-stinger-killing-machine. For those of you new to this wonderment, the “strings” of the racket are actually wires with an electrical current running through them. A mobile bug zapper.
Side Note: I’m a major nature and animal lover (think more owls and bobcats, and less cat litter and dog hair) … and I really do go out of my way to take bugs outside and generally relocate all unwanted critters, as opposed to ending them. Just a couple of weeks ago, a huge tarantula stopped by unannounced. We were sitting by the pool when he let himself in the yard. We went the extra mile to gently coax him into the pool net and I ran a 1/4 mile to introduce him to a more fitting oasis, where he could mingle with his own kind. But, I’m telling you, when it comes to aggressive things with stingers (wasps, scorpions, etc.) … they’ve got to go. I don’t mess around with that crew. In fact, I’ve considered displaying their dead, ratfink body on a stake in the yard, with a sign that reads, “Anyone who thinks this was a good guy is NEXT.”
Back to the point. I’d had a fair amount of luck with The Executioner connecting with random stinging insects—not an elite performance, but nothing to be ashamed of. Enter the Cicada Killer. They’re like a honey badger with wings. They sound like a helicopter and THEY HAVE THE WORD KILLER IN THEIR NAME. Have you seen them?
Have you been dive bombed by one for absolutely no reason? Well, I was tired of it. One evening, I decided it was time to show the little jerk what happens to evil trespassers. I heard him coming around (how could I not?) and I grabbed The Executioner and positioned my thumb over the on button. I walked out onto a wider span of grass and said, “You wanna go, son? Let’s do this” as I spun the murder racket in my hand like Roger Federer. I stopped just short of pounding my chest to signify the size of my heart.
In he zoomed, all hateful and aggressive, like my clothes were made out of cicadas. I was in a good crouched position with my racket poised, so I swung hard and, shockingly, made good contact on the first try. Down he went. I bounced like a boxer, saying, “Yeah, Punk—what now, Homie?!”
What I did not account for was his wherewithal.
He had been zapped square on his despicable face with electricity and he got up. HE GOT UP. I hoped he’d be stunned and clumsy, but he was reinvigorated and irate. He came at me so hard that I almost zapped myself with The Executioner. I was swinging and tripping and ducking and swatting like a lunatic who’d lost control of every limb.
Fortunately, the Cicada Killer ended it by flying away; otherwise, I’m almost certain it would have ended poorly for me. Feel free to Google “cicada killer stings” to see what torment befalls a sting victim.
The entire brawl probably lasted all of 25 seconds, but you’d be surprised how many times your life can flash before your eyes in only a few seconds.
After the trauma of nearly nuking myself with my Amazon purchase, I headed back to the patio and was ill-prepared for what I saw—Jocelyn, virtually immobile as she fought for a breath in between noiseless convulsing laughter.
All I saw was the headline, “Woman underestimates tenacity of giant predator wasp; turns weapon on self. Expected to plead guilty to personal assault and battery.” But apparently Jocelyn saw the best comedy show of her life—from the front row.
I’m doing my best to live a long and productive life—to die with dignity and without a headline. But it sure is hard when there are predators to eliminate and bounce houses to capsize.