Have you ever watched cartoons? I am sure you have. You know how a character always slips on some ice or a banana peel or something and all you would see would be the characters head with blurs for arms and legs as they flailed around. It always cracks up the little kiddos, and it always cracks up those of us adults who have the mental faculties of the little kiddos. Well, unlike most cartoons it turns out that this is a relatively accurate depiction of what happens in the real world. A banana peel doesn't work terribly well despite what Loony Toons or the makers of MarioKart want you to believe, but I have found through terrible, personal experience, that a combination of dress shoes and glare ice works great as a means to recreate the cartoon slip and fall and the very real world break your face open.
Dress shoes are the first integral part of this literal recipe for disaster. One of my favorite television personalities, Alton Brown, would take the time to explain the science of this in detail, how the rubber affects the traction and whatnot. But I am just going to stop at saying that dress shoes are not made for walking on ice. Simple as that. Men's dress shoes are flat with no grips whatsoever, and women's dress shoes usually involve some sort of high heel. These are made for making women look super hot and for making loud, sharp noises while they walk down marble hallways like they are on Law & Order or something. Again, not made for traction. Because if you are trying to get traction from a one square centimeter flat column pressing down on glare ice it's not going to work very well. Although if one wanted to create a women's fashion boot they could make a stiletto heel with a spike on the end and it would work pretty well. But we will save that for another day.
The second part of this equation that causes it to work so well is the glare ice. Lots of slippery surfaces would work well, like floor wax or maybe just some water, but there is something unbelievably special and unique and so much slipperier about glare ice. This is how you make the right kind of glare ice: let it snow for like three months. Don't plow. Let the cars drive over it day after day after day after day. Then come by and try to plow but just scrape it off into a super smooth mixture of ice and snow. Then let it melt for two days and re-freeze. And you have the perfect ice for re-arranging my face and landing me in the friendly local emergency room.
So anyway, if you put these two ingredients together you get the perfect mixture for making me, or anyone, do that super-sweet cartoon flailing fall. And it's something that I recreate every day on my to and fro. It must be an amazing spectacle. If you were driving by or perhaps watching from the living room of one of the houses I pass, or maybe sitting in the waiting room at the DMV staring out the window while drool drips down from the corner of your mouth and you wait for them to call the number on the little ticket that you have dropped down behind your chair, then you would watch a wonderful spectacle. Me, strolling along in my shiny shoes, ready to kick ass and take names. The glare ice, lying menacingly on the sidewalk, street, grocery isle, wherever I happen to be walking. And then it happens. I remove my eyes from the ground for one tenth of one-one-hundredth of a second and I become a whirling blur of arms and legs and color and clothing. If I am lucky, which I am often not, or if I am good, which I always am, I can catch myself and continue on my way, super cool and acting like nothing happened. I did this one time in college, when I slipped walking down a notorious hill on campus, hit my knees, slid about ten feet, made a motion with my arms like a baseball umpire signalling someone safe at home plate, and said "Heeeeyyyy" like I was the Fonz. It was probably the coolest moment in my life. And that's what it is like. I catch myself and move on. Except when I don't. Then I fall. I get wet. I get mad. I break my face, my coccyx, my radius AND my ulna, and I probably also sprain my ACL, MCL, and all the other CL's that I have. That's what happens. And that's just on the way to work. You should see what it's like when I am on my way home from the grocery store with a bunch of bags of food. It's magical and disastrous all wrapped into one. Kind of like anytime that Willard Scott is on TV. So here is the deal: I need some snow to fall from the sky or some sun to dry up all the ice and water. Or I need to stop wearing dress shoes. One of the two. But I look good in dress shoes and I like the sound they make when I walk in the hallway. So I guess nature is just going to have to get with the program, no?