Castle Bisset

NOVEMBER 30, 2018

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Sir Joseph's Secret Passageway


The only thing worse than having toilet paper stuck to your shoe in public is falling down in public.

Once I had finished speaking about campus safety to an audience of several hundred college students at Liberty Baptist College (now Liberty University) and started to walk away from the podium to a satisfying round of applause, forgetting that I was standing on a small box. I took a step into mid air, dipped, tumbled and grabbed the corner of the podium with one hand.

The robust applause immediately turned to a collective horrified gasp.

Despite what felt like a dislocated shoulder, I pulled myself up, laughed and shouted, “Down, but not out!”

I was laughing alone.

Even for me, it was an ending with a little too much drama.

Grace runs in the family.

This past Tuesday my sister Sandra tripped and fell onto a sidewalk. She broke her nose, got an ugly black eye, and scraped her knee. The very next day (yesterday) I was going down a set of concrete stairs outside my insurance agent's office when, after stepping down two steps, I noticed the handrail was loose. It came apart and I fell down the stairs landing on my backside. I only got a minor scrape on my left hand but I am very sore today.

A number of years ago I was interviewing for a radio announcer job, I had finished my demonstration audition, answered questions from the station manager and the owners, and was dismissed. They sat quietly as I retrieved my demo tapes from the desk at the front of the room. I caught the toe of my shoe on the area rug and fell flat on my backside in a three-piece suit.

The room fell silent. “I’m OK!” I said. Not that anybody asked. The worst part was that nobody laughed.

Of course my family are the only ones falling in public. I remember a few years ago that Madonna was performing “Like a Prayer,” in a Dallas concert, knelt down to shake hands with some fans and lost her balance. Her leg shot into the air, she fell on her back and somehow turned it into a dance move. The video clip looks like a demo for Fire Safety Week: stop, drop and roll.

When Carrie Ann Inaba was one of the judges on “Dancing with the Stars,” she was effusively complimenting a good-looking male contestant while waving her arms around and got so excited she fell right out of her chair.

Then there was the video circling the Internet of a Tennessee reporter holding up a 12-pound fish, commenting on its size, when the fish unexpectedly came back to life. The reporter screamed, threw down the fish and jumped up on a seat in the boat. She lost her balance and fell backward onto the man standing behind her. They both toppled, with the reporter in a short dress displaying all her goods. It may be a superfluous detail, but the reporter was blonde.

Humiliating? Sure. But at least the camera crew and the guys in the boat were laughing.

And then we, who were alive at the time, cannot forget President Gerald Ford. Need I say more?

Falling in public is the only time you don’t care that people aren’t laughing with you and hope they will laugh at you. There’s something about laughter that diminishes the embarrassment — and the dislocated shoulder, the hurting, the bruising and the gaping wounds.

With my record I believe in being prepared for the unexpected. If I take a tumble in public again, I’m going to jump up, thrust my arms in the air like a gymnast at the close of a floor routine and yell out my score. I’ll rate myself low. Maybe that will get a laugh.

Sir Joseph

Castle Bisset Editor

Famous People Editor


Contributions to today's Castle Bisset have been made by:
Sara in New Mexico
James Banks

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