“The literary equivalent of a summer night, a good friend and a gin-and-tonic: Shannon is a deft writer; a natural storyteller with a wicked turn of phrase and frighteningly specific memory...”

Download Shannon's story, "Beautiful Boy, Brandon Lee," in its full length, excerpted from her book, Smash, Crash & Burn.

Do You Fall Down?

Does anyone besides me fall down? Because I seem to fall down a lot. I’ve fallen down, epically, at least three times in the last year and a half.

Fall #1. I was showing off riding Clare’s razor scooter in a park on a family play date with a couple who are really hip and cool and intellectual and attractive. And I was sort of jauntily kicking my leg out behind me with each push off the ground while wearing my Boden Statement Sandals and Flippy Skirt. And I was pretty sure I looked like I was in a Boden catalogue because Boden is a British catalogue and we were actually in London and I was living the actual life that is lived in the catalogue that I want to live in.

Only my freaking Boden Statement Sandals had no tread so during one of my kicky pushes my foot shot out from under me and I fell right on my ass with my Flippy Skirt flying up over my face.

Fall #2 happened on our family vacation to New York last summer. Henry had cut me loose for the day. I’d been voyeuristically loitering in shops on 5th Avenue where I couldn’t afford to buy anything, when I came out of Calvin Klein and was visually assaulted by an Abercrombie and Fitch-type hunk buffing the sidewalk with this huge buffer thingy ahead of me.

And I guess — much like a car that crashes into another car pulled over to the shoulder on the freeway because it’s drawn in by the flashing hazard lights — I crashed into the buffing hunk.

My Boden City Flats somehow got tangled on one of his steel-hewn ankles and I went all a-sprawl, stumbling forward trying not to fall while my flailing steps got bigger and bigger until I had to admit to myself that I was indeed falling.

I landed on my hands and knees with my fanuch-ka flying up in the air. I was too decrepit to leap up and pretend it didn’t happen, so I rolled gingerly to a sitting position, assessed whether I’d broken a hip and when I decided I hadn’t, offered the hunk my hand and he pulled me to standing.

I limped away with a great deal of dignity until I discovered I was bleeding from my palms (like Jesus) and began to cry.

Fall #3 happened just last Saturday in Circus Circus, Las Vegas. I wasn’t showing off or accidentally staring at buff younger men. I was being such a good person when I fell down. It was like Mother Teresa getting mugged while feeding orphans.

I hadn’t shamed Henry and Clare for lusting after video game violence when they went off to shoot Nazis in the arcade and I’d just purchased a root beer for my friend Cheryl who was on the Canyon Blaster with her daughter, Makenna and my daughter Bridget.

I had her purse on one arm, mine on the other. I’d bought myself a water instead of a Coke (such asceticism – I don’t actually know what that means, but I think it has something to do with Monks. Or Jesus). I hadn’t even wanted to go to Circus Circus because I barf on rides, hate crowds and am low on cash. But I did it for the kids. For the kids I tell you!

So there I was, this thoughtful, generous, loving woman bringing drinks to the thirsty, a Purse Sherpa, when I happened upon some spilled Orange Crush and Fall III began.

Everything slowed down.

Each blundering second an hour. My left foot (wearing, it should be noted, the ’70s Boden Slingback in Navy) went out from under me. To compensate, my right arm flew up. The lid from Cheryl’s drink popped off and root beer geysered from my hand straight up into the air where it hung in shining droplets, ever so briefly, checking out the crowd, enjoying its freedom, until it plummeted down (as all things must) and splashed on my head, then rolled in sticky rivulets down my back, finally joining the Orange Crush under my feet to ensure my doom.

My right foot went out from under me and my left arm flailed. Cheryl’s purse, which contained a wallet, an iphone, keys, brass knuckles, a pint of Jim Beam, a horseshoe, the wreck of the Titanic and the entire San Gimignano Boy’s Choir, struck me in the face as I fell backward, down, down, down. Teenagers with piercings, Mohawks and tongue bolts encircled me, their faces looking down on me pityingly, as if to say, “Don’t fight it, you clumsy bitch, just let go.”

My butt hit first.

My butt was insulted. Hadn’t it already been through enough in three different cities? My butt was all, “Is this how you treat me? Throwing me down on a concrete slab doing 0-60 in two seconds flat — YET AGAIN! — with a river of unpopular orange fizz inundating my crack? After all those sadistic squats I do for you in your frickin’ West L.A. Bar Method class? ‘Okay ladies, let’s tuck those buns, that’s right TUCK TUCK TUCK, squeeze against the tuck.’ Well f@@k the tuck!”

My right wrist hit next. My writing wrist. Can’t you tell?

My writing’s full of run-on sentences. It’s not like I’m William Faulkner or something. I don’t have the poetic license for run-on sentences.

The pierced/bolted/tattooed teens helped me to my feet. I could tell they kind of wanted to laugh, but I could tell they were concerned too. I was very stoic. Bearing my pain bravely. Nodding my soda-drizzled head that I was okay and that I was off to find somebody with a mop to clean up this mess before someone old … I mean really old slipped on it and fell down.

Assuring them that a woman as fit as me — well, let’s face it — an athlete like me, could withstand this kind of fall with no lingering ailments. Then I strode away, my infuriated butt soaked in soda, my Boden ’70s Slingbacks emitting a squish-suck squish-suck sound, my carbonated hair beginning to frizz.

As Mother Teresa would do, I found someone to clean up the mess, then went in search of my family. It was my plan to show them my wounds so they would treat me really well, refraining from whining or extorting me for more candy and rides.

However, my plans were rent asunder when I found Cheryl and Makenna escorting a whimpering Bridget from the roller coaster. The Canyon Crusher had hurt Bridget’s neck. This totally upstaged my butt and wrist.

She’s 7, it’s her neck. I’m 45, my best years behind me (yes…behind me).

I quickly found Security and Bridget and I were escorted to their office where they administered an ice pack and gave her a stuffed bear. I was slightly distracted by one of the officers who was gender neutral like It’s Pat on Saturday Night Live.

On the one hand I was worried Bridget my need spinal surgery, on the other I really wanted It’s Pat to drop trou so I could know — he or she? But I digress.

After a little Motrin Bridget was fine. I, however, continue to be a walking time bomb. Who knows when I’ll fall again and what limbs will be involved? Will I need to start wearing a helmet, knee and elbow pads to get the mail? Will I have to give up Boden? Am I simply an uncoordinated jackass?

I leave you with this final question.  Do any of you ever fall down, and if not, will you please just lie?

BTW this IS NOT a sponsored post for Boden. Because I’m never buying their freaking shoes again! Their tartan skirt however …


Tags assigned to this article:
Clutzy mommyfalling downLas Vegas

11 comments

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  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous 21 April, 2011, 09:29

    Are you ever NOT on vacation?

    Reply this comment
  2. The Sweetest
    The Sweetest 21 April, 2011, 09:34

    Oh, those all suck pretty bad but I have one that might make you feel better. I was in a bar (rare these days) and volunteered to go get a pitcher of beer. On the way back to our table I slipped on probably nothing and went down, on by butt and then my back, with the beer all over me. While barely-twenty-somethings looked over me like in Better Off Dead.

    Reply this comment
  3. Shannon Bradley-Colleary
    Shannon Bradley-Colleary 21 April, 2011, 14:41

    Dear The Sweetest — thanks so much for making me laugh. Why is it so funny when other people fall down.

    And Anonymous — I realize I do sound like a privileged fool. I guess I was having a Gwyneth Paltrow moment. xo

    Reply this comment
  4. Mama Wants This
    Mama Wants This 21 April, 2011, 19:17

    Oh your poor butt. I fall down all the time. I must hold the record for tripping on my own trousers more times than normal people do. Or don't.

    One time I was wearing 4" wedges (the good old days pre-motherhood) and was striding along minding my own business, exiting my apartment. Suddenly, I felt my feet uncharacteristically in the air in front of me, rather than well, on the ground and like in slow motion, I fell on my butt. Hard. I had slipped on newly mopped floors. In front of half a dozen people.

    I feel ya!

    Reply this comment
  5. Shannon Bradley-Colleary
    Shannon Bradley-Colleary 21 April, 2011, 22:02

    Mama Wants This — I am so reassured. BTW, I just stumbled (no pun intended) upon four different videos of Lady Gaga falling on stage four different times. Now I love her even more!

    Reply this comment
  6. Cheryl
    Cheryl 23 April, 2011, 08:30

    ARG!!! Do I fall down?? Are you kidding?? Why do you think we love each other so much!! Yes!! I am the "Circus-Circus-RootBeer-Taking Bridgett on the ride" Cheryl… I bit it hard yesterday!! I was taking our 10 month old Rodetian Ridgeback/Pit bull (Yes! I know what you are thinking) for a run…Well, sort of… We started to make our way down the street, and it is trash day, so there are recycle bins EVERYWHERE, there is a stray dog across the street, the trash men are coming up the street… NEEDLESS to say, my puppy was distracted, stops COLD, the leash gets tangled up in our legs, and we become the human/puppy SNOWBALL!! In slow motion… the SAD & PATHETIC fall of a 44 year old woman trying NOT to break something, and yet look cool, so that the trash men don't laugh TOO hard and accidently run me over!! I fell on my hand & sprained my thumb, have road rash on my elbow, but mostly a bruised EGO!! My mom always said "Thank God you name is not Grace" Hate it when she is right!!! ARG!!!

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  7. Shannon Bradley-Colleary
    Shannon Bradley-Colleary 23 April, 2011, 08:47

    I you caught my falling down — it must be contagious.

    Reply this comment
  8. Catherine
    Catherine 17 November, 2011, 20:10

    I don’t fall down. Often. I kind of trip up every third staircase that I attempt to climb though… but I digress. I really wanted to share that I take out bumpers. Four actually. All within the last four months of pregnancy. It hasn’t happened since which allows me to blame hormones for a lack of depth perception when backing up… And that means I am in big trouble with menopause looming.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon Colleary
      Shannon Colleary 18 November, 2011, 07:35

      Catherine — I’m right with you on the menopause thing. No hot flashes yet, but the atrophying breast? Sweet Jesus.

      Reply this comment

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