Break a Leg: Twelve Ten Twelve

We’d just had the house and garage painted in the summer of 2002 after uncovering the wood siding on the house for the first time in decades, and I was getting ready on a clear, October Saturday afternoon to put gutters back on the garage. It’s not a tall structure, and I could reach the gutters from the ground without even stretching, but I couldn’t quite get the angle on the screws for the brackets without some help, so I grabbed a stepladder and started work.

I did the back side of the garage where it was tight against our fence first, and was just about finished with the brackets on the garden side, when I was suddenly on the ground and in a lot of pain. I yelled for Barbara, extricated my leg from the remains of the stepladder, and remember feeling kind of weird as my foot dangled from my leg when I raised it out of the wreckage.

An accomplished klutz, I of course had a pair of crutches in the house. Barbara grabbed them, sped me to the Kaiser Sunnyside Emergency Room, and I hobbled from the car to wait in line while she parked. I thought I was doing pretty well, considering, but flubbed and said “compound” when I meant “multiple” fracture as I was describing my injury to the woman at the check-in; she wasted no time in correcting the guy standing on crutches with a floppy foot.

Anyway, the end result looked like this:

Not the end of the story, but the end for now.

Meanwhile, in the annals of failure, I was really looking forward to presenting a piece on the early years of Dungeons & Dragons at Ignite Portland 11 last month. Back in the day—twelve or fifteen years ago—I gave a number of presentations at Macromedia UCON and other venues, I used to teach at Portland State, etc. What I didn’t realize until after I’d signed up and done a bunch of work on my presentation is Ignite doesn’t allow the use of notes.

I can speak extemporaneously about a lot of subjects. I can compete in trivia competitions (another crutches-related story). I can answer audience and student questions. I can cold-read a script and put emphasis into most of the right spots. But I can’t memorize material verbatim, even if I’ve written and re-written it all myself. I wasn’t willing (or prepared) to, uh, cheat, as it appeared one presenter before me did. So this is what happens. It goes off the rails even before the first slide has cleared the screen:

And this is more or less how it should have gone: