By Nina Zietman
SOMETIMES I THINK being clumsy must be a disease. Not a day goes by when I don’t spill some sort of condiment down my top. Apparently it’s called dyspraxia and I could get a free laptop. Except it costs £300 to be tested, and I could just use that money to buy a laptop in the first place. No matter how hard I try, I can’t help but drop glasses as I empty the dishwasher, or trip over my own feet as I walk down the street. I once spilt a glass of wine over a tablecloth; the wine cost £30 a glass. It’s an embarrassing, messy disease of the cack-handed that has plagued me ever since I learnt to drop food out of my high-chair aged three.
Which is why I empathise with Nick Flynn. In 2006, this poor man tripped over his shoelaces at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, causing him to fall down a flight of stairs, taking a set of 300-year old Chinese vases with him. The vases were some of the most valuable items the museum owned; it took two and half days for them to pick up all the pieces. Imagine! What would you do afterwards? Supposedly poor Nick just kept pointing at his shoelace as the culprit. Maybe you’d make a run for it? But then they’d think you did it on purpose, and it’d turned into a Da Vinci Code-style chase across Europe. So probably not. The clumsy person’s remedy is either; start crying (if you’re a girl) or point at your shoelace (if you’re a boy or not a complete wuss like me).
One day, however, my clumsiness quite literally got the better of me. It was my last day as a “fashion intern” at a magazine in London. I’d gotten up early to head into the Big Topshop before work (trust me, 9am is the only time you should be entering that shop). I sat bleary eyed at the kitchen table with a large cup of tea. One minute I was sitting there, the next the freshly brewed tea had spilt all over my bare thigh. I jumped up, threw the cup of the tea into the air and let out a ‘Psycho’-style scream. My brother didn’t even bother to look up from ‘Top Gear.’ Needless to say, I spent the next hour sitting in a cold bath in my knickers and t-shirt, half laughing, half crying, in an attempt to ease the pain. To make matters worse, I knew I had to go to work; it was my last day. But before I left, I read on Google that you should wrap cling film round a burn to prevent infection. So that’s what I did.
I have to say, it was great fun whipping out my cling-filmed leg to show the fashion department, much to their disgust. They sent me off to the Prada Press Office on my daily returns. As I walked down Bond Street, the unthinkable happened. The cling film began to slip off. I didn’t want to yank it off in front of Louis Vuitton. Instead, I tried to surreptitiously pull it back up my leg without anyone thinking I was doing something indecent with my skirt in the middle of the street. By the time I’d dropped my return off at the Prada, I thought I’d gotten away with it. I stepped into the glass lift to find I was wrong. There was cling film hanging out of the bottom of my skirt. Shit, I thought. I’ve got cling film hanging off my leg and I’m in Prada. I hobbled, bandy legged, back to the office and ran straight to the toilets. Never take medical advice from Google, I thought to myself.
Whilst checking out the symptoms of clumsiness on Google, I also learnt that apparently clumsiness is linked to PMT. How can this possibly be the case?! Only a man could have written that. And have you ever noticed how much Mr. Clumsy from the Mr. Men looks exactly like Hitler? Go check it out if you don’t believe me. It’s uncanny. I wonder if Roger Hargreaves was making a sly satirical statement here. Perhaps he’s suggesting that Hitler was just clumsy? That invading Poland – oh, it was all just an accident! The Nazis just tripped over the border into Poland and oh, whoops! There goes World War Two! Maybe that’s the reason why us spatially challenged victims have got such a bad rep.
All I can ask of you is this. Next time you see someone with cling film hanging out of the bottom of their skirt, have pity. They probably haven’t learnt how to not spill tea yet.