Yes, there is an art to it, and—inadvertently, it must be admitted—I have perfected that art.  Following are the ideal conditions for pulling it off:

  • Be sure you are sleeping in an unfamiliar bed in a relatively unfamiliar house.
  • Set an alarm clock; but be sure it is some distance away so that, when it rings, you will have to get out of bed and grope for it.
  • By all means set it for an early hour, so that it will be pitch-dark when it rings.
  • Be sure and place a suitcase—for strategic purposes—directly in line of the steps you’ll have to take before you reach the alarm clock.
  • Make certain you are sleeping in an upper-story of a house.
  • Make doubly certain there is a long flight of stairs in close proximity to the alarm clock (descending stairs, of course); and none of those namby-pamby carpeted stairs, but real he-man wooden ones.
  • At the bottom of the stairs you should make sure you have a tile landing on which to conclude your fall, and a solid wooden door to ram your head into.
  • The choice of the right alarm clock is a must: none of those soft, languorous lullabies, but a no-nonsense demanding “Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!” followed by an almost immediate strident double-time beep (guaranteed to disorient and confuse you as you stumble around).
  • With this preamble, you’re almost preordained to blindly launch into space off the top stair.  In the pitch-dark it will seem surreal as you fall into the void.  Then you will hit, hit, hit, and hit, as you roll down the stairs.  Because you are so disoriented and nine-tenths asleep, you will roll down like a rag doll or someone who is blissfully dead-drunk.
  • By the time you reach the bottom, you are guaranteed an audience because of your thunderous fall and unconscious but heartfelt moans.  You’ll immediately rouse the entire household.
  • By all the laws of probability, you should have (at the very least), a broken neck, broken back, or broken hip–with an excellent chance of being paralyzed for life.  But if you follow my fool-proof directions, you’ll merely end up a mass of black, blue, purple, and green bruises (spectacularly beautiful to those with a perverted sense of humor), and rather than be in a body cast, you’ll revel in around-the-clock ice-pack treatments, heat-treatments, and a steady stream of extra-strength pain pills.
  • Did I mention sympathy?  Oh yes, plenty of that.
  • And outright disbelief from the entire medical profession who will consider you a postcard example of the miraculous.
  • One more thing: That God must have an awfully good reason for a deus-ex-machina rescue of His stupid child.

* * * * *

My solo-flight took place at 5:30 A.M., Wednesday, November 10, in Annapolis, Maryland.  I have no current plans to re-enact it.  Once you achieve perfection in something, it makes no sense to do it again!

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16 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Cracking up! My alarm clock is the theme from Looney Tunes…I can just see myself crafting the perfect “flight” using this as a wake up call!

    • May your “perfect flight” be better than mine!

  2. Hahaha…awwww…very witty post. I enjoyed reading it!

  3. OUCH! Some people will do ANYTHING for FUN! Hope you feel better soon.

    • Yes, some stupid people will:-)

  4. Dear Dr. Wheeler, You have such a dry wit that I can’t help laughing. I am so glad you suffered no serious injury. Thank God for protecting you. Kathleen

    • Appreciate your kind words.


  5. Sorry about the fall and the pain but couldn’t help but enjoy reading over your witty description-had to share it with LaVerne.

  6. Dr Joe, I should have you write Elder Henry T. Bergh’s tale of a fall. He’s 92 now, took his spill while trying to pick up his wife Miriam from her fall in the entryway of their mobile home. He ended up on top of her and face first through the kitty door, and eventually both chauffeured to the local hospital for bruises and cuts. Elder Bergh is my cousin, and a large figure in Pathfinder history, as well as author of the theme song. Thanks for your amusing perspective of this “age-old” problem that comes with passing that 39th birthday a few too many times.

    • So, it’s merely passing 39 too many times? Food for thought there.

  7. Bless your heart, Joe! So thankful you didn’t break all your bones. I enjoy your writing and sense of humor immensely.

    • Always good to hear from you. More enjoyable to write about it than to deal with the aftermath.

  8. Joe, so sorry to hear about your fall and so glad nothing was broken!! Take good care of yourself!!

  9. Oh no! So sorry! From now on, you are completely forbidden – forbidden, I say – from such antics. And no back talk…

  10. Joe, We witnessed this fall and are so thnkful you are now able to make humor of it. Needless to say, it scared us to death to hear that bumpty, bumpty, bump! We too shall be careful when visiting the same home that we don’t take those stairs for granted. I’m afraid our kids will feel that they will have to put up a kiddie gate!!!!!

  11. This is hysterical! You are another Thurber! Oh – and one more suggestion to add to your instructions – wear your most ridiculous pajamas, preferably with embarrassing sayings or little rabbits on them….

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