Sunday, June 28, 2020

Spectacles on the porch

Around 1:30 p.m., yesterday.
SURVIVAL OF THE KLUTZIEST: My cool daughter with her dusty old man

Our front porch.

I was sitting cross-legged (my left knee over my right) in a wooden Muskoka chair that my son Michel built in high-school shop class. I was wearing jeans, sandals and my second favourite hoodie; it says NEVADA across the front.

I like when people ask me why I have NEVADA on my shirt because I can casually tell them that I picked it up in 2016 in the Reno airport. My daughter Ria and I had spent the week at that bacchanalian arts festival in the Black Rock Desert called Burning Man and the clothes I had afterwards were too dusty to wear on board a plane. So I bought the cool blue Nevada hoodie. (My very favourite hoodie says McLuhan.)

But back to my porch.

REMEMBER THIS? My sister Charlene and
my brother Alex both of whom I think
love me, call me Captain Klutz
The same Acer laptop that I’m using now was balanced on top of my left thigh. On the six-inch-wide armrest of the chair sat an opaque blue dinner plate holding a hockey-puck-size piece of steak, and a mashed-up baked potato covered in sour cream. We’d had a barbeque the night before and I’d actually gone to bed looking forward to this great lunch of leftovers.

The sun was shining, I was checking Facebook and I decided I needed a glass of home-made ice tea. There was some in the fridge.

I started uncrossing my legs. What I didn’t realize, until it was far too late, was that somehow, en route from the hole in the side of my computer to the wall plug, my laptop power cord had somehow found its way under the strap of my left Birkenstock.

So an almost imperceptibly tiny shift of my left foot was enough to send the Acer flying. Worse, I instinctively tried to ameliorate the situation and my right elbow went down on to the edge of the blue dinner plate, catapulting the meat, potatoes, sour cream and fork up into the air like the French guys’ cows in Monty Python’s In Search of The Holy Grail

Of course this happened in less than a second.

Things got worse.

For whatever reason, I still tried to stand but tripped because the computer cord remained stuck in my shoe so I fell to the right, landing first on that little ridge in the door frame and then completely on to my side and for at least a quarter of a second my right baby finger took the full load of 180-pound me.

Pretty sure I said a swear.

Oh yeah. Almost forgot. My glasses.
IS THERE A KLUTZ GENE?  I can't remember the why of this weird episode;
 but I sure remember the who

At some point, as one’s eyeglasses always do, mine flew off of my face and slid — lenses up —clear across the porch, underscoring the entire klutzy spectacle.

“You,” they seemed to be saying, “don’t look so cool right now.”

Here’s something eerie: That very same day my super sophisticated Burning-Man-going daughter Ria got laser-eye surgery. It cost a few thousand bucks. I later told her it’s worth every penny if it means that never again would she — clearly an inheritor of the Carter klutz gene —suffer that dehumanizing soul-destroying cool-killing and humiliating sensation that you only ever experience when your glasses fly off because you did something klutzy. Yup. Every last penny. But I digress.

The porch action came to a stop. 

First thing I did? I glanced around, hoping nobody saw me.

The blue plate was upside down but intact, the steak but not the potatoes was salvageable, many objects including the door and my cool Nevada hoodie were splattered with sour cream but  — and I couldn’t be telling you this story if the outcome were otherwise — the Acer computer’s fine.  

My right baby finger still hurts though, especially when I type question marks, “P,” quotation marks and apostrophes so I’ll stop now.


  1. Hilarious and yet sadly familiar. My own klutzy episodes are legendary. Glad to meet another member of the club! How ‘bout those hazing rituals?

  2. Hahahaha Thanks for the kind words. We should have meetings. I'll stand up and say "Hi, my name is Peter and I'm a OUCH! I just bit the inside of my cheek I hate when that happens"