He just... It's... I just want to hold him, y'know? And just tell him that it's all going to be okay. He's got a big happy life of kangarooing ahead of him. Right? Oh my God why did I pick this picture it's just making me sad...
I was herding a pack of models into a minivan in Hermosa Beach – like you do when you’re a production assistant – when one of them handed me a tube of lip gloss she’d borrowed from the unit production manager and asked if I could give it back to her. I said I would, turned, and saw the unit production manager in question hustling away, around a corner.
Now, the logical thing for me to do would’ve been to call out her name and get her to stop, but the problem was that I’d forgotten her name less than a second after she’d told me what it was, like I do with everyone I’ve ever met because I honestly don’t give two shits what your name is. My options were to either shout, “HEY LADY! YOU, WITH THE… FACE!”, thereby betraying the fact that I was an inconsiderate moron, or run after her, which would conceal the fact that I’d forgotten her name and help to burn off the complimentary pork sliders I’d eaten at the crew lunch.
So I started off running after the unit production manager, lip gloss clutched in hand, when all of a sudden I jammed my toe against something and I was stumbling, out of control, arms flailing, the hard concrete parking lot rushing up at me in slow motion.
Just once in my life, I’d like for something good to happen to me in slow motion. I don’t have any intensely detailed slow motion memories of getting checks in the mail or getting retweeted or finding out that Boise State lost because my brain only seems to want my life to go into The Matrix mode when it’ll be to elongate a terrible moment that I want to be over as quickly as possible – in this case, falling flat on my face in front of a vanload of models.
Classic Truman Capps moment.
I was never the kid with a raft of broken bones and scabby knees – not because I was blessed with any great amount of coordination or balance, but because I actively shied away from any activity I deemed likely to cause me pain in any way. My main bro Alexander would often show up to school with various half healed cuts or missing limbs that, it seemed, he hadn’t even noticed until somebody pointed them out to him, whereas if I got scratched by a rose bush on my way into somebody’s backyard that was pretty much a season ending injury, because that shit stings.
Needless to say, even with the benefit of slow motion my mind, untrained in split second feats of injury-preventing dexterity, floundered to think of a way to minimize damage to myself:
OH SHIT OH SHIT FALLING okay think Truman you’ve got the slow motion thing going on you can use that to your advantage OH SHIT GROUND GETTING CLOSER okay I’m falling I’m falling how do I keep from hitting the ground STOP FALLING no can’t stop falling FALL UPWARDS no can’t do that either GROUND GETTING CLOSER OH SHIT OH SHIT maybe I should put out my hands YEAH PUT YOUR HANDS OUT AND YOU CAN JUST SPRING LIGHTLY OFF THE GROUND LIKE A FUCKING GAZELLE YOU IDIOT okay cool yeah I’ll do that gazelle thing that sounds pretty cool GOD NO THAT WAS SARCASM YOU’RE GOING TO FUCK UP YOUR HANDS oh shit you’re right well here’s the ground!
I hit the ground with my right hand out, scraping the bejeezus out of my palm and spraining the bejeezus out of my wrist, then managed to bang my knee, shoulder, and chin as I hit the ground. Somewhere in the process I also managed to scrape the shit out of my left palm and jam my left thumb.
”MOOSEFUCKER!” I instinctively yelled – I’d seen a billboard with a moose on it on my way to work that morning and the image had lingered in my head until choosing this moment to make its debut, as though placed there by some divine power.
The unit production manager and several other PAs crowded around me as the models watched with the same bemused disinterest most women have for everything I do.
“Are you okay!? Do you need us to call an ambulance?” The unit production manager, ‘ol whatshername, gasped as she knelt over me.
I shook my head and handed her the lip gloss. “Cheyanne wanted me to give this to you. I’m fine. Hey, and this is super embarrassing, but what was your name again?”
Somewhere in the process of taking me back to the production office and getting me set up with bandages and antiseptic she told me her name again, which I promptly forgot again.
The problem with these injuries is that while they’re not especially serious, they’ve rendered me somehow more useless than I normally am. On my best day I can’t change a tire, throw a ball, hammer a nail, or drink milk, but with both hands missing a bunch of skin, one sprained wrist, and one severely jammed thumb, I actually had to ask somebody to help me seal a Ziplock bag. When you can do as few things as I can, it really hurts to have that number reduced so sharply, so quickly, in front of so many beautiful women.
The next day I was talking to my parents, phone pressed feebly to my face with the couple of functional fingers I had left, and I mentioned the injury in hopes of picking up some sympathy.
“So, wait,” Dad said, once I’d recounted what had happened. “When you fell, did you ninja roll?”
I sighed – my parents have been singing the praises of the ninja roll (tucking your arms and rolling into the fall to absorb the shock) for years, and I’d always been sort of ignoring them because I never planned on falling over again.
“No.” I muttered. “I didn’t ninja roll.”
“Well, see, there’s your problem,” Mom said. “You should’ve ninja rolled.”
“I know, okay? I know. Nobody is more aware of the benefits of the ninja roll right now than me.”
“At least you learned something.” Dad pointed out.
I think it was Kanye West who said, “That which does not kill me can only make me stronger,” and I guess I can see how that’s true, but I think the quote stops short of being accurate. Let’s try: “That which does not kill me can only make me stronger, after an intermittent period of being far weaker than before.”
Truman Capps wants all the haters to click here before they misinterpret comedy for me being a bigger idiot than usual.