Thursday, May 17, 2007

Walk and Chew Bubble Gum

I was a lucky kid. (If you don't get the inherent sarcasm in this phrase, you have NOT been paying attention.)

Anyway, being military meant going to schools (Every two years. Seriously, who else has 3 elementary schools? Raise your hand. Yup, which branch were you in?) in different countries and states. Other countries were a treat because you got to experience the same classes in different ways. For instance, in Italy, our PE class included gymnastics and ballet. Yay for the girls - and in some cases - Yay for the boys too.

Mind you, this was first and second grade, so we were pretty much willing to try anything. I was going to be the next Nadia Comaneci by God. My favorite event was the beam and when we got to finally play on one (it was a foot off the ground, but at 6 and 7 who cares!) I was in seventh heaven.

I was actually kind of good. I was good at swimming and didn't do to shabby at ballet either.

My problem is one that is inherently not my fault. I blame my french and Irish ancestry. Seriously, the graceful french genes were in direct conflict with the falling down drunk Irish genes coursing my veins. We won't discuss the feisty Spanish genes that were the cause of my showing off. Damn them for their confidence! They never listen to the sage Native American gene (singular, it's lonely in the group) that warns of impending doom and thunderstorms.

Anyway - I'm a klutz. This is the nice term for stupidly clumsy. Let's see...

Age 4: Been swimming since I was 18 months old. Climbing the super high ladder on the high dive to jump into the 12 foot water below. I'd been doing it all day, but this time around the whiner in front of me gets all the way to the top and decides she doesn't want to jump. She's scared. Puhleeze. So, I just climbed around her. Well, that's what I would have done if not for those damned drunk Irish genes and gravity (who knew!?) pushing me towards the earth at a fast rate. Luckily, I landed on my head.

You laugh, but I got up and went back at it with no obvious affliction. Unless you ask my mother, which you are not invited to do, thank you.

Age 6: Gym-gymnastics - balance beam showing off. I could do actual flips on the beam. Just not backwards. With my eyes closed. Landed on my knee. Cue major knee problems for life.

Age 7: Not to be stopped by a bum knee - BALLET! First position, Second.. and so forth. My extension sucked and my turnout is worse. The European culture is tough in this genre. So died my dream of dancing in the corps for the Nutcracker. Eh, who cares? I really just like the costumes. (Note: This is where my love of theatre is born.)

I'm going to stop naming all my injuries here, because neither of us have that kind of time. Let's just say, I've broken both ankles, both wrists, damaged both knees and have some lovely scars.

You'll notice I used present tense above. I AM a klutz. Yes, that's right, there are some things you don't outgrow like allergies and skin color. Seriously, I could do an entire discourse on how I thought I would get lighter when I was older so I could finally NOT be the dark one in the family. Hey - this is a blog, maybe I will. Later.

My scrapes and bruises add character and texture to who I am. Those are the Spanish genes talking. Between them and the Irish genes, going out with me is dangerous. This has not stopped me from dancing on bars, in musicals, or in ballet classes.

How old can you be in the Nutcracker?

Edit: I want you to know that I spellchecked this file. Every nationality in here was in lowercase and the spellchecker appropriately slapped my hand and told me to capitalize them.

All of them but the french. I'm not sure what that means, exactly, but it's not really good social commentary when an unbiased program (probably not even written in the United States) won't give that country the respect it's due.

I'm leaving it that way for humor purposes. If my grandparents and great-relatives start haunting me, however, I'm changing it. Just so you know.

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