I just finished reading A girl named Zippy: Growing up small in Mooreland, Indiana. Such a fun book, heartfelt yet hilarious, this memoir ranks right up there as one of the best I've read. The prose is written through the voice of Zippy, a nine year old living in small town USA. Through this witty kid's eyes we come to know her family and many of Mooreland's quirky inhabitants.
I totally related to the book and it summoned up memories of my own childhood, first living in a small town, then moving to a city suburb when I was about Zippy's age. I laughed out loud at her accident-prone behavior, her relationships with animals, her struggle to find her place. And as I laughed, I remembered my own struggles, the way I never really fit in anywhere, how I always felt the odd girl out. And how I also seemed to distinguish myself through crazy accidents.
Like the time I was jumping on the trampoline in gym class. Believe me when I say I was no athlete. I was the kid for whom that "each child shall be allowed to play 2 innings" rule was mandated. I was the kid who, during my 2 innings in right field, could somehow still manage to screw up the game. But jumping on a trampoline, well, even I could do that with some confidence and finesse. So jump I did, higher and higher, imagining this as my specialty, even mastering (well, maybe that's an exaggeration) some "moves" such as when you land in a seated position, then turn around mid-air to land facing the other way.
On the fateful day, I waited my turn with the others,. I had watched several kids before me, the cute popular ones, always endearing themselves to everyone, teachers and students alike. They had mastered this dismount technique which involved a little bounce that catapulted them right off the side of the tramp allowing them to gracefully land on the floor.
My turn finally arrived and I trembled with anticipation scrambling up on the tramp. The first jumps were timid as I found my trampoline legs, but soon enough I was jumping and jumping for all I was worth, doing the moves successfully and even trying moves I had never tried before. A sense of euphoria ruled; I was exhilarated and high on glee.
Looking back, I don't remember making an actual decision to try the showy dismount. But when my turn was over, there I was, attempting this deceivingly simply move, bouncing right into it. Except, I didn't gracefully land feet first on the floor. Somehow, my butt dragged over the edge of the tramp right in the exact place where one of the springs was attached with the hook facing up rather than hook facing down. That hook caught and tore the back of my sweatpants, exposing my new underwear with the orange goldfish and cobalt blue tulips. Momentum continued to propel me forward but the hook held strong so that I was left hanging off the edge of the trampoline, literally by the seat of my pants.
Several people, including the teacher, helped to extricate me. I was fine, not really hurt except for the bruising embarrassment. And another rule was quickly made, "no fancy dismounts from the trampoline."