Ask Marge--Today's Tips for the Do-It-Your-Selfharmer
by Marjee K. Berry-Wellman
edited: Tuesday, October 23, 2001
Posted: Monday, October 22, 2001
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Not accident prone but want to be? You won't want to miss today's Q&A article.
Q: Dear Marge: How do you fall over a baby gate? I can see bumping a gate but not falling over one.
A: Dear Dad: Good question. I can see your mental dilemma. This is priceless information so don't lose it. You never know when you might need or want to fall over a baby gate, and, obviously, I've used this technique with great success.
SUPPLIES: You will need a baby gate (baby optional but, if you have access to one, one year old is the ideal age), a staircase (at least 4 ft high), slippery soled shoes, a wooden armed chair (mine is my husband's ancient La-Z-Boy recliner) and a door jam for optimal results. Now you're ready to begin.
Step 1: Put the baby gate up, which is a major undertaking in itself but a necessary inconvenience if you are going to fall over it. In my case, because I moved the gate from one door jam to another of a different proportion, I had the daunting task of readjusting the highly sophisticated piece of safety equipment to fit its new location (caused migraine headache and not recommended).
Step 2: Don't remove the gate (even if you technically could because by now baby is exhausted from explaining to you how to install the baby gate and is now safe, secure and napping peacefully in her playpen). Believe me, you won't forget that step because no fool would consider reliving the physical and mental agony of reinstalling the baby gate in the unlikely event that baby wakes up.
Step 3: Now you're ready for some fancy footwork. I would recommend positioning your left leg over the baby gate, allowing your left foot to rest on the teeny tiny remnant of solid floor (about 1mm) remaining on the top step on the opposite side of the gate. That way your left slippery-soled shoe will slip off the teeny tiny remnant of solid floor as you unsuccessfully try to hoist your right leg over gate (gravity forces the issue). If you've done this step right, your back will now be facing the room below, somewhat parallel to the floor.
Step 4: The wooden arm of your husband's La-Z-Boy recliner should be precisely positioned so that, when you fly through the air backward, your back will have a good, solid place in which to land thus breaking your fall so that you don't come to rest on, say a cushy carpeted floor, for example, and possibly softening the blow. If you're going to fall over a baby gate, you may as well have the bruises to prove it.
I do not recommend grabbing the baby gate when you notice gravity kicking in even though it's human nature to grab SOMETHING when you fall backward down a flight of stairs. But, if you do, then the gate naturally comes with you, inflicting pain in certain sensitive bodily areas other than your back (which you won't notice until a few days post-fall) as well as causing unnecessary complications in getting up off the floor when you regain consciousness--if you're lucky enough to lose consciousness, which I wasn't. (It's a bit awkward to try and stand up while tangled in a baby gate while in excruciating pain and gasping for breath, but it can be done.) If, however, pain is your supreme goal, definitely grab the baby gait as you fall backward.
So, there you have it--complete instructions for falling over a baby gate. Oh, I almost forgot (typical for a 45-year-old great-aunt who just lost a few more brain cells). For the optimum effect, be sure NOT to have your portable phone handy to call 9-1-1. You will need to have a phone at least three large rooms and a hallway from where you land to really appreciate your efforts and sound convincing enough to the 9-1-1 operator for her to dispatch the ambulance to arrive at your home in less than three seconds. Also, make certain you do NOT wash your hair for three days prior to your fall and DO wear the grubbiest, mismatched clothing you own for optimal humiliation in the ER.
Love you Dad and do write again! Marge