That was a nickname given to me years ago due to my lack thereof. I was the most graceless, clumsy person I ever knew. Let me regale you with examples of my grace...
- There was the time when I was 10 and riding my bicycle. You know when look down at the pavement and even if you are going slow, it looks like you are going really fast? Well, I was doing that. Until everything in my line of vision was blue. And I was no longer moving forward. That is when I picked myself up off of the trunk of the parked car I had just crashed into. My bike tire was bent sideways, and I could not ride it home. I felt no pain, only super embarrassment even though a quick check around revealed that there was not even a scratch on the car and no one had seen my moment of humiliation. When I got home, I caught a glimpse of myself in the hall mirror and stopped in shock. My mouth was all bloody and part of my front tooth was missing (my jagged tooth had cut up my lips and I was so upset, I hadn't felt a thing). I sported that triangular tooth look for several days before I could get into the dentist for a cap. I really mastered the close-mouthed smile those days, let me tell you!
- As kids, when sledding, we used to do what we termed "hot-dogging". It meant you went down the hill on your toboggan or sled, standing up and holding the rope. I loved doing this. Until the fateful day that my foot slipped off and under the wet toboggan. Yes, I successfully ran over my own foot. And twisted the daylights out of my ankle. My youngest brother ran home at top speed to get my mother because I could not walk. When he got there, he was so out of breath, all he could get out were words like "Andrea", "park", "can't get up", "can't move", "laying...ground". You can imagine my mother's relief when, after throwing my brother in the car and speeding down to the park, she saw that it was just yet another routine trip to the hospital for one of her accident-prone children.
- Skiing...the first time I took a crack at it, I was 17. I spent most of the day on the bunny hill. When I got the courage up to go on a real hill, it took about half an hour before I actually successfully was able to figure out how to use the T-bar and stop falling off of it! I got about halfway up the hill, told my friend that this was high enough for me and we jumped off. I started skiing. My friend went ahead of me. I started after her. I was a superstar! I was doing so well!! I couldn't believe how easy it was at this point and that I had finally mastered it. Unfortunately, the second that my brain told me how great I was doing, was the very second that I lost it. Completely. I lost my balance and fell down on my butt...on my skis. Now I was skiing downhill, sitting. And going completely straight down the hill. I am pretty sure I broke the sound barrier. My friend was already at the bottom and turned around to see a cloud of snow with pink in the middle, flying down the hill. I flew past the lodge before I miraculously managed to stop. People gathered around to help me up. When folks were asking out loud "Where are her friends?", my friend joined in with them, wondering where my friends were, completely denying all knowledge of any connection with me whatsoever. I have never gone near a set of skis since.
- Remember my broken tooth? Well, years later, I walked up to a friend's house as we were going somewhere together and she was driving. She was already in the car and hadn't seen me approach. I leaned down and stared at her through the car window, hoping to scare her when she turned around. She remembered something in the house and decided to go in to get it...and didn't turn her head toward the car window at all when she reached to open the car door. Idiot that I am, got smashed in the face when she opened the door...and out popped the cap from my tooth. Yay! More days with the jagged witch tooth in the front of my mouth!
- When living with my roommate a few years later, I had the defining moment of my Grace-ness. Her cousin and his friend had come up to visit us for the weekend. Being the fine young things we all were, we were getting ready to go out and party hard. We were playing perfect hostesses to our guests and as I got up to cross the room and get something from the kitchen, I somehow managed to trip over my own two feet and did a face plant right in front of everyone. Now, my roommate had a gorgeous white cat who happened to be just inches away from my face when I fell and who just stared at me like she couldn't believe she had to share an apartment with an oaf such as myself. I didn't even blink an eye, I just reached out to the cat, saying, "Hi kitty!", as though that crash had actually been on purpose. But there was just no covering that up. In fact, I thought I was going to have to call 911...not for me...for them, because they were laughing so hard, I was sure someone was going to pass out! It was at that moment that my friend's cousin dubbed me "Gracie".
- Flash forward past a few more years and a few more (ok, several) mishaps. It was my first year in Japan and I was on my lunch break from work. I was taking a stroll just to stretch my legs, walking down a crowded street. Once again, my own two feet betrayed me and I went down. I jumped back up so quickly, my fall was almost undetectable to the naked eye...unless you noticed my knee where my panyhose had ripped and blood was running down my leg. I wanted to die of embarrassment. I just kept walking like nothing had happened, when I realized a little elderly Japanese lady was walking alongside me, asking if I was ok. I smiled in humiliation and mumbled that I was, and she held my arm, made me stop, stuck her hand in her purse and pulled out a fistful of bandages for my wound, patted me on the arm and went her way, leaving me staring after her in extreme gratitude. Ah, there is good in the world!