September 28, 2011

And It All Comes Crashing Down

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I realized after I saw my last column in the paper that if I continued with this whole social commentary thing I wasn’t going to have any friends by the end of the semester, so I thought I would tell you a story this week to mix things up a bit.I work for Intramural Sports and I am pretty sure I have the best job on campus. I get to watch sports, put the frat guys (who wouldn’t let me in to their open parties when I was freshman because I was awkward) in their place, meet a bunch of happy people and get paid for it all. Everything at work was going just swell. There were no angry people, no one got injured, games were on time — all in all a successful night. If I had any complaints, they were that I was a little sore and sunburnt from three hours of soccer and one flag football game I had played before my shift started.Just as it was beginning to get dark, a ball got kicked over the fence. This happens all the time and the player who kicked it ran around to grab the ball. Two minutes later he retured empty handed, saying he couldn’t find it. He thought it went in the creek. (Quick Cornell geography lesson: Intramural soccer is played on Jessup Fields on North Campus, across the street from the Africana center. The fence borders Triphammer Road and next to the Africana Center is a creek surrounded by trees and brush). So I crossed the street and realized how dark it has gotten as I squinted in the bushes looking for the ball. Finally I saw it. I stepped cautiously down the creek bank praying the whole time that I don’t see the same skunk that I saw the night before when I was about to cross the suspension bridge. The creek bank was much steeper than I realized, but I made it to the bottom. Upon realizing that the ball was on the other side of the creek, I jumped across and …Landed it! That’s right; I didn’t fall in the deceptively wide creek! I continued to push my way through sticks and briars, ducking under tree branches, until I finally reached the ball. I made my way back the way I had come, successfully crossing the creek yet again, taking extra caution as I now had a soccer ball in one hand. I began climbing back up the steep bank, which looked like it had been layered with a set of concrete slabs that seemed a lot like stairs in the dark. ’How convenient!’ I thought. Just as my head started to poke up over the edge of the sidewalk, I realized that I looked like a massive creeper, crawling out of a dark, tree-covered ditch. I really did not want to end up in one of those University Crime Alert Emails: “Girl approached on Sunday night around 8:30 while walking back from the Africana Library. Subject described as a white male with longish brown hair, approximately six feet tall, wearing a red polo. Anyone with information about this person is advised to call CUPD at 607-255-1111.” I decided that I should just go for it and take my chances.There are moments when one has a lot of time to think about what is going on and what is going to happen, even if the actual moment lasts only one-and-a-half seconds. Suddenly I felt a sensation of lightness as below me the concrete block dislodged and went tumbling down into the creek. As I began to fall backwards, I let out a trailing expletive “Oh F—”  hoping the whole time that I wouldn’t land on said concrete block now in the creek below me. I believe I also had time to think “Damn it, this would happen to me” as I fell through the air clutching wildly for anything to save my fall. Unfortunately, I still had the soccer ball in my hands so my efforts were futile. **SPLASH** Yep, I fell back-first in the creek, which was significantly deeper than it looked because I managed to get totally submerged. Continuing my incredible stroke of luck, I also managed to land on the concrete slab. Now that takes serious skill. As I dragged my broken, soaking-wet self out of the creek this time, I just hoped that I wouldn’t see any pretty girls walking by. I didn’t care anymore about the e-mail that could get sent out to all of Cornell.Now here I am sitting at my desk, contents of my wallet strewn around my room trying to dry, cell phone rice-ing itself on my desk, nursing my bloody ankle (which the concrete block hit on my tumble to soakdom) and writing about my klutzy embarrassment so that all of Cornell can read it. Maybe this is why I am still single.

Will Spencer is a senior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He may be reached at wspencer@cornellsun.com. Tripping Up Stairs appears alternate Thursdays this semester.

Original Author: Will Spencer