Now that winter is here and there is a layer of malevolent ice under the snow in almost every place I decide to walk upon, I think it is time we review some of the nuances of slipping in a outdoors setting.
Before we begin this discussion, we need to acknowledge that if you are an outdoor enthusiast, you are going to slip in front of witnesses this year. They might even be the worst kind of witnesses – people you know.
Oh, sure, some of you will tell yourselves this won’t happen. However, if the last 40 years are any indication, trust me, it will.
This is one of the great things that we outdoorsy folks in northern climates have in common – fall-related misery.
This is primarily because we are nowhere near as smart as bears. Instead, we decide to “make the most” of winter.
The good news is most slips in the outdoors are easily avoidable by taking a few simple precautions, which include: staying inside for the entire winter, employing the little-used technique of total immobility when outside, wearing cleats and using walking sticks and meticulously planning every step using algorithms and computer modelling, crawling painstakingly slowly over the snow and ice, being towed around in a sled by a reliable manservant, using a flamethrower to melt all ice in your path, and leaving for tropical destinations in early September and returning in June.
Without simultaneously utilizing at least four of these precautions, you will certainly slip at least once this winter. Quite possibly more.
The trick is to do it with dignity and panache.
One of the best ways to maintain your dignity and panache is to not draw undue attention to yourself during the slip. That’s why it is best to learn to whimper quietly, rather than to produce high-pitched screams. Admittedly, this can be difficult, especially if the fall is of longer duration than two Mississippis. But, with practice it can be achieved.
Once mastered, the hardest part is keeping the thud at low volume.
There are many ways to quickly mitigate the evidence that suggests that you were once again bested by winter. My personal favourite is to quickly burrow in the snowbank until all witnesses are well out of sight. Another is to immediately transition into snow-angel mode. Make sure you are right side up, however. Otherwise people suspect.
It’s also advisable to immediately roll down your balaclava and pretend you are from out of town, when people come to ask if you are all right and tell you which social media platform you will be showcased on.
If you are recognized by someone after a display of clumsiness, you might be able to talk your way out of further embarrassment with one of the following handy phrases:
“I am working out my Cirque de Soleil routine.”
“I was trying to see why ostriches do that.”
“I wanted to confirm gravity works like they told us in school.”
Or, as you point to the cliff, you just slid off of, “That’s the last time I buy a parachute off the Internet.”
Any of these will soothe your ego and provide you with enough self assurance so that you can walk up to your witness, look them straight in the eyes, and ask if they know of any good manservants looking for seasonal work.