My record of causing accidents is probably balanced out by track record of preventing them. My athletic cockiness predisposes me toward the former, while my quick reflexes are helpful in the latter regard. (Drinking obscene amounts of coffee probably exacerbates both tendencies.)
I’ve never heard the term from another person, but my mom used to describe me as “shooshlick”–it’s probably a Pennsylvania Dutch-ism–by which she meant I was careless and accident-prone. My coordination has improved since then, but my thinking is, “Why not try to throw an item in the trash from 20 feet away? And why not try to throw and catch things behind the back?” And whatever is thrown at me, I will try to catch it, perhaps between the legs. When I succeed at such attempts, it elicits a “Cool!” response from any observers. Failure brings a “Why in the hell did you try that?” response.
And while no Herculean, I have trouble gauging my strength in things that occasionally require muscular finesse. To pick just one example, a drunk friend once asked me to help him off the couch. When I took his hand and pulled him up, he remarked, “Damn! You practically dislocated my shoulder!”
On the rare occasion where I’ve had to help someone in a wheelchair or a lady with hey baby scooter, I have to be very mindful. If I drop or break an inanimate object at work, who cares, but I have to remind myself when dealing with a sentient being: Be careful.
So it was that while riding the (free) bus recently, my catlike reflexes thrice sprang into action when it seemed that a baby stroller near me looked like it was about to careen somewhere down the aisle. The mother was the oblivious and negligent sort. Granted that she had two other young kids in tow, but she seemed to expose no alarm at what could have been three painful experiences for her youngest.
I don’t know if she was a bona fide Welfare Queen, but she was a prime example of the people who should not be procreating, yet seem to do it the most. I gleaned as much just from overhearing her conversation with another rider. Perhaps I just felt spurned that she didn’t even acknowledge my efforts to save the stroller from an accident. If this had occurred on Mother’s Day, I may have felt compelled to confront her about her nonchalance.
“Excuse me, but did anyone wish you a ‘Happy Mother’s Day’?”
“You have just demonstrated that you didn’t deserve the acknowledgement. You have forfeited any rights to such comments. You are also rude for not thanking me. I hereby demand you surrender any cards, flowers, or–God forbid–trophies you may have received.”
A sizable woman, I would surely have not enjoyed her response.