My life of unintentional slapstick comedy

Aaron J. Brown

Aaron J. Brown is an Iron Range blogger, author, radio producer and columnist for the Hibbing Daily Tribune.

When I was 5, I tripped off the “motor skills” balance beam at kindergarten roundup like a sack of turds.

My life took a certain direction from that point. Books, not basketball. College, not CrossFit. The question became not if, but when I would expose myself as a near constant threat to anything breakable, myself included.

That day has come.

Despite my lack of coordination, I’ve not lacked for hustle. I like to work fast, drive fast, get things done. So on one particular day I had to mow our not-so-small stretch of country lawn in a hurry before bringing one of my sons to a sleepover. More than three hours of sweaty go-time later, it was done. Time to hit the shower.

Near the end of the shower cycle, I was about to hang the hand-held spray nozzle back on the wall. As I pivoted to do so, my feet caught the soapy water at the base of the tub. I then had one of those moments where 1.8 seconds requires an entire newspaper column to describe.

My feet started firing like pistons trying to stay on the ground. With each flailing motion, I only lost more balance. I reached for something to grab, but because I was falling the only thing I could get was the shower curtain.

To an observer, it would have appeared that in this split second I decided to burst through the shower curtain like a brawler through the window of the corner tavern. I landed with a thud on the bath mat, making a sound not unlike one heard during a bar fight.

To quote my wife, I “Chris Farley’ed it.”

In which your intrepid local blogger “Chris Farleys” his way through a shower curtain.

In the process I became wrapped up in the curtain like a caterpillar in a cocoon. For another moment it would have appeared that a giant doobie was contorting itself on the bathroom floor. Extracting myself from the curtain felt like trying to climb uphill on a Slip ’N’ Slide.

Meantime, the shower nozzle — untethered from its holder, was outside the tub, spraying water around the bathroom like a demon-possessed snake. It took all of half a second for the floor of the bathroom to become just as slippery as the tub I fell out of.

I bet you think I’m done with the story now, don’t you? HA! NO I AM NOT!

The shower rod came down from the wall with me and the curtain. In its swift descent the rod hit the toilet tank with considerable force. Just as I’m trying to wrestle my way back to the faucet controls, I see that there is water leaking out of the bottom of the toilet tank near one of the bolts. YOU LIKE WATER? HAVE SOME MORE!

All of this occurred about eight minutes before the boys and I were supposed to leave the house to meet my wife in town. Keep in mind, this shower was almost done — like the partner in a cop movie, just two weeks from retirement.

Meantime, the boys listened from the other room in detached silence, like the bourgeoisie regarding the cannon fire approaching Paris.

I managed to empty the toilet tank pretty quickly, turning off the water. I mopped up the shower water with all the towels in the bathroom, followed by all the towels in the closet. This included the normally untouchable *white towels*, a source of friction later that day.

It took us a day to figure out the extent of the damage to the toilet. But thanks to the help of our pals at Iron Range Plumbing, we have flushed this episode behind us. Meanwhile, those guys got another story to add to their long collection of “crazy things people do that make us money.”

Yes, it could have been much worse. I could have hit my head or broken something. Forty years from now I’d be shopping for hips or a coffin. But young and virile as I am, I’m allowed to simply acknowledge that balance has never come easy to this clumsy oaf. When Craig the plumber asked if I wanted to order a toilet with special grab bars, I did consider it.

Aaron J. Brown is an author and college instructor from northern Minnesota’s Iron Range. He writes the blog and hosts the Great Northern Radio Show on Northern Community Radio. This piece first appeared in the Sunday, July 30, 2017 edition of the Hibbing Daily Tribune.


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