In case of emergency, break out a song

Published 12:10 pm Saturday, June 4, 2011

Column: Pass the Hot Dish, by Alexandra Kloster

It was exactly like stage diving, except that I fell down the stairs and no one caught me.

I took a spill at that Bob Seger concert I told you about a couple weeks ago. Never mix never worry the saying goes, but I can’t stop mixing poor depth perception with stairways, and so I fall down. A lot.

The next morning I was supposed to fly to Las Vegas for the wedding of my friend Robin, but instead I was stuck on the sofa with a knee that resembled Jiffy Pop popcorn left on the stove too long.

Alexandra Kloster

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Pain medication does not flatter my personality. Thirty minutes of euphoria leads to four hours of maudlin. I should have called Robin during the fun part and not waited until I was overcome with mawkish weeping.

In the back of my mind is a fuzzy recollection of wailing, “I’m sorry,” over and over, and telling her that, “It’s a cruel, cruel world but have a good wedding anyway.” Just what every bride wants to hear.

Faced with a bum leg at the same time the fertility doctor put me on enough hormones to turn G.I. Joe into Quick Curl Barbie, I vowed to stay productive. When I wasn’t using all that extra time to dissect my tenuous emotional state and write about it, I’d feed myself intellectually with great books.

Yes, I would definitely do that, right after I finished marveling at what television had become when I wasn’t looking. Between the hundreds of cable networks and everything available on Netflix and On Demand, a person could window shop for entertainment forever. I could watch 103 episodes of “21 Jump Street” but wait, what about the 170 episodes of “Green Acres”? Look at that! Seven seasons of “Columbo” right there for the taking.

It went on like this for a week until the afternoon I hopped into the living room to find that Dr. Phil had crept into my TV where Peter Falk used to be. There’s something about Phil that bothers me. Maybe it’s that I’ve never heard him say anything doctor-ish like, “It’s too soon to tell,” or “We better lance that.” When Phil fires up, I feel the need to extinguish him as quickly as possible.

For a second I stood in the middle of the room trying to decide which route was shorter, to the TV or the remote. I took off hopping toward the TV, but when I got there I realized I didn’t know how to change the channel on the set, so I waved my hands over it hoping it would turn off like the sink in the airport restroom, but it didn’t, so I pulled the plug.

With Phil silenced, I finally tried to write, but those hormones got the best of me, and all I could produce were pages full of rainbows, ponies and sad clowns. My husband, Graham, came home just as I gave up and went after a can of frosting with a spoon.

“Run! Save yourself!” I yelled brandishing Duncan Hines at him. “I have an entire seventh-grade slumber party coursing through my veins. Leave, unless you’re prepared to braid my hair while I sing Olivia Newton John songs.”

“No problem.”

“Really? ‘Have you never been mellow? Have you never tri-ie-ie-ed?’” I sang into my spoon.

“Would you mind if I went for a bike ride?”

When I saw him again he was in his bright yellow bike rider uniform, and I was approaching sugar shock.

“You look like non-ionizing radiation in that outfit,” I told him. I wasn’t feeling very kind with my throbbing knee, cabin fever and descent into a second puberty.

“I do?”

“I don’t know. I’ve been reading a lot of scary stuff online that I don’t understand,” I confessed, crying a little.

That was a bad day, but soon my knee started to heal and my mood began to stabilize. It’s funny. Sometimes it has to get pretty weird before we appreciate things like legs that work or a clear head.

It took a tumble down the steps, narcotics, hormones, Dr. Phil, chocolate frosting, and Olivia Newton John to make me remember how lucky I am to be able to skip down the street feeling relatively happy.

I don’t want to forget that, but if I ever do I hope a good Samaritan will see my new ID bracelet, which reads, “In case of jaded cynicism please sing, ‘Have You Never Been Mellow’ until crisis passes.”

Woodbury resident Alexandra Kloster appears each Sunday. She may be reached at, and her blog is Radishes at Dawn at