"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Thursday, May 21, 2009


First, a brief word from our sponsor:

Before I forget (and I forgot yesterday), do visit my blog post here and enter the contest to win a copy of my book, Freezer Burn. Loser gets two copies – sorry, just couldn't stop that Marx Brother's moment. Seriously, write 100 words to accompany the picture of the two scary women and submit in the comments. I know you can do it. Look into their beady eyes, scan the barren scene around them, let your mind wander… Yes, Nick Valentino, I'm talking to you. Give us a quick beat-down in steampunk.

Now, on to today's topic:

Klutz is defined as either a clumsy, awkward person, or a blockhead. I'd rather think of it as clumsy, since I sometimes consider myself a klutz; unfortunately, I also read that klutz originates from the Yiddish word "klots" which means "wooden beam." Hmm. Like a block. Head.

I may be clumsy, but I'm no wooden beam.

I'm not the constant klutz. I have moments of great dexterity. I spent some time dancing, from ballet to Lindy Hop, I've got a good riding seat, and I can embroider, so I clearly have motor skills.

Sometimes not all the pistons are firing, though.

Like the day I tossed the Tide Detergent ball into the washer, where it careened off the sides of the tub and caused some kind of physical law to be enacted, whereby all of the oozing liquid in the ball shot straight up in the air, landing on my head. The lessons here were: 1) drop the ball in, don't throw it; and 2) Tide is not a good shampoo.

Today was another of those days. It began with my deodorant and without my glasses. I got my new deodorant out of the medicine cabinet and opened the lid. There was a seal on the new container.

Without my glasses, I am marginally sighted, but the arrows were clear enough, and they pointed toward an edge, so I spent five minutes and two fingernails trying to pry the plastic off the indicated end. After a bit, I looked at the seal and saw a big black line on the opposite end and something blurry in the middle. I reached toward the line; the seal was loose on this end and the whole thing pulled off like buttah.

Apparently, the arrows were directing me to pull in their direction. Who knew?

But wait, there's more. I started turning the knob to get the gel up out of the container. I turned and I turned and I turned, but nothing was happening. Have you ever gotten so involved with the process that you forgot to look at the results? I kept turning the knob and looking at the stick in the middle without watching the top. Eventually, I looked up to see a good quarter-inch of standing goo coming out, slowly bending to the side. It was clear. It was fragrant. It was way too much goo.

A smart chickie would wipe the top with a tissue and begin again. A cheap chickie would try to dab the goo at her armpits and try not to get too slimy. Guess what I tried? There is, by the way, no efficient way to apply a mound of goo to your armpit without getting slimy. The goo dried, so I'm just a little sticky now, in a residual kind of way, much the way I felt residually klutzy for the rest of the day.

It's not much of an incident, but it got me to thinking about the characters we create who are clumsy. The clich̩ is that they are clumsy but endearing Рhow many characters are clumsy and annoying? Lucy (of I Love Lucy) is the first person who pops into my head at the endearing end of the spectrum, and Inspector Clouseau is at the annoying end. In between are people like Chevy Chase in his SNL days, Laurel and Hardy, and Buster Keaton.

Who are your favorite klutzes, real or fictional? Do you like them because they're endearing, or annoying?


N A Sharpe said...

I LOVE this! Wow, between you and Galen today I am just rolling on the floor!

Let's not forget Dick van Dyke tripping over the ottoman in the opening scenes of The old Dick van Dyke show, or Tim the Toolman Taylor (Home improvement AKA Tim Allen)in the klutz list.

Thank you for this wonderful laugh today, hope your day gets better


joe doaks-Author said...

So, a contest. cool, I thought. I’ll just scoot over there, register and maybe pickup a neat freebie.

But no. I gotta be creative…and, completely counter to my nature…succinctly so. Looks like I’m gonna have to pay for my copy of Freezer Burn. %$#@#@%^.

I can absolutely relate to this part of your post, Gayle...”without my glasses, I am marginally sighted.” God, how true. I wish I had written down every dumb thing I’ve ever done when I couldn't find my glasses…nearly all the time now. Man, if I’d done that, I’d have enough blog posts to last a year. Thanks for sharing.

Best Regards, Galen

Nick said...

For some reason I keep missing these fun contests and things. I couldn't resist after I saw this... and that you called on me. I hope you enjoy a little sky pirate vengeance.


Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I love watching famous klutzes such as Lucy because they make me feel better about being a klutz too! Funny post.

Jane Kennedy Sutton

Karen Brees said...

Klutzes are the stuff plots are driven by. How's that for mangling a sentence? (Karen, who just spent 15 minutes looking for her glasses before she realized she was wearing them)

Proud Member of ALA!

I support fair and equitable library access to ebooks and so should you.