Monday, May 28, 2007

The Only Patch of Ice in the Entire Parking Lot

My father has a singular talent. If there's only one of something, he can find it, but only if he's not looking for it. Like the only dead end on a circular island road. Like the only cop for two hundred miles at the precise moment you need the cops to be not looking. Like the only banana peel next to a mud puddle in the entire Humber Valley. (Actually that last one was me, I'll tell you about it tomorrow.)

So one winter James and I went shopping with my dad. He needed to stop at Radio Shack to pick up some part for one of his bizarre projects. He told us to wait in the car.

What you need to know is that it was cold, but there was no snow. It hadn't snowed or rained in days. The ground was completely dry. There should have been no ice. If anyone but my father had been walking across the parking lot at that moment, there wouldn't have been any ice. My father's presence bent the laws of probability and the possibility of ice suddenly became fact.

He trundled towards the store, his mind on the item he was looking for. He didn't know there was ice until he'd already stepped on it.

If you've ever seen a drunken Ukrainian folk dancer imitating traditional Russian dancing while on a cruise ship in the North Sea during a terrible storm, you have some idea of what my father looked like at that moment.

Both legs went airborne. Both arms windmilled in opposite directions. He twisted, he turned, he flew into the air with all the grace of a cow thrown by a transport truck impact. He had time to yell, which made us look up and see his danse macabre, which culminated in a tremendous face-plant right there in the middle of the Radio Shack parking lot.

He lay there for a moment while we laughed at his expense. We knew he was fine when he said, "Whoa crap!" and started brushing bits of ashphalt off his cheeks. So of course, we laughed harder.

But as I've said before, Karma is one mean-spirited bitch.

To be continued...
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