I am not clumsy by nature.
There are people out there who may not believe this and, sadly, there is evidence suggesting that I can be a lumbering oaf with all of the coordination of a drunken donkey.
Take last Thursday for example.
I was invited to the Stockport Beer Festival. It was Thursday, so initially I wasn’t too keen. Drinking on a “school night” is bad practice, typically, as the repercussions the next day can be quite nasty. Hangovers at my time of life are monsters and torture me for days.
I decided to go late and leave early – a sound plan in theory.
The event was held at Stockport County Football ground, which is about four miles from where I live and a bus ride away. I arrived at about 8:45.
Beer festivals are fun and great for people watching. Once you have paid your entrance fee, you buy your souvenir glass and sample all wonder of real ales from around the region. For those who like weird drinks, they also have a fairly chunky selection of perries and ciders that can quite literally blow your head apart if you have too much.
I stick to beer – I know its strength and I know how many I can have before I have to stop.
The real ale connoisseurs who attend these festivals can be quite weird; they treat their beer like wine and urge people to sip it and savour it. You are expected to buy half pints so you can sample as much as you can before falling over. Most of these people have beer guts so big that small moons orbit them.
And some of their beards are something else.
I met a couple or mates and a few work colleagues and had an enjoyable hour or two sipping various beers with names like Black Mamba, Nutty Slack, White Nancy, Sworn Secret, Wren’s Nest, Tiger Rut, Silver Magnet, Dizzy Blonde, Village Idiot, Brassed Off, Battle Cruiser, Blond Witch, Alchemist Ale, Weapons of Mouth Destruction, Matron’s Delight, Dragon Slayer, Old Stoatwobbler and Monkman’s Slaughter.
At around 10:40 I decided I’d had enough and started the fifteen minute walk back to Stockport Bus Station to catch my bus home.
Sadly, I was walking a little too slowly and realised that I would miss my bus if I didn’t run. I was carrying my souvenir pint pot in a plastic bag. I decided to run.
Running is something I used to do quite a lot and I was quite fast in my youth. Sadly, these days, I am neither fast nor fit. Something kicked in and I managed to sprint to the station with not much trouble. At the far end of the station I could see my bus. I would make it.
At this point my clumsy gene kicked in. As I ran across a kerb, I tripped.
I was hurtling at quite a fast pace and realised what had happened. I found myself lurching forward. Had I not been carrying a pint pot I might have made it with my pride intact. Half my mind was determined to save the glass so I foolishly adjusted my body so that I didn’t smash it.
I found myself careering out of control towards the floor, my arms whirling like a demented windmill. The laws of physics refused to yield and I sprawled headfirst into the pavement, the shattering of my pint pot ringing in my ears as it lost the battle with the concrete.
The word that escaped my lips, dear reader, is not one that I would like to publish in this post.
My bus was still there and I had to reach it, so I got up and started running again. That was when I discovered the consequences of my fall.
My right hand had scraped along the concrete and taken the top layer of skin off an area the size of a 2p piece.
My right elbow was bruised.
My right elbow was grazed.
My left knee was bruised.
My left hand (the hand carrying the pint pot, the hand that had failed in its sworn duty to protect the pint pot, the hand that is probably pissed off with me because I am right handed) was injured.
The shattered glass had escaped the bag and cut my left hand in a few places. I stood up and started running again and noticed blood splattering as I ran.
I stopped and stared at my hand in disbelief.
There was no pain – just blood. It looked as if I had dipped my hand in a bucket of the stuff.
I made the decision to continue my run for the bus but as I did so, I identified the cuts and sucked them to try to stem the bleeding.
I reached the bus just as he was pulling off but he took pity on me and let me on.
With my bloody left hand hidden behind my back, I managed to extract the coins I needed with my right hand (which was also cut) and paid the driver.
I ran upstairs hoping that there was nobody there. There wasn’t – I was alone.
I examined my still bleeding left hand and realised that all of the blood was coming from just two cuts. The rest of my injuries were minor scratches.
I found a discarded newspaper and tore strips off it to add pressure to the cuts – and thankfully after a few minutes they stopped.
All of this was too late because by now my jeans were blood-stained and I had nothing to wash the blood off my hands.
When the bus arrived at my destination, I plunged my hands into my pockets and walked downstairs. There was a trail of blood spots from my injured hand.
I thanked the driver who stared at me as if I had just walked off a spaceship and said “Take me to your leader.”
When I arrived home, I was about to tell Mrs PM the entire sorry tale but she beat me to it.
“WHAT’S HAPPENED TO YOU?” she said looking shocked.
It was then I caught my reflection in the mirror; my mouth was covered in blood. I looked like a crazed vampire. No wonder the bus driver was terrified.
My attempts at sucking my wounds had deposited great smears of blood onto my face.
Mrs PM thought I had been in a fight with a rabid vampire.
I cleaned up my wounds and as I applied a couple of plasters I told my sorry tale to Mrs PM. She struggled between sympathy and trying not to laugh.
The next day at work, my colleagues were merciless.
“You drunken oaf!”
“HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! You idiot! HA HA HA HA HA HA!”
And I swear that I wasn’t drunk, dear reader. Even my beloved children were merciless.
My eldest lad, who has just turned eighteen pointed at me, laughing and said “FAIL!!!!!!”
My youngest lad just laughed.
So there you have it, dear reader. Mr Clumsy is alive and well and living in Manchester.
What lessons have I learned? A simple one :
NEVER RUN FOR A BUS WHEN YOU ARE CARRYING A BEER FESTIVAL PINT POT. THERE IS ALWAYS A TAXI AROUND.
The truth is that smashing up my souvenir pint pot hurts more than the wounds or my pride.
What a pillock I am.