I noticed what she dropped and what she didn’t. I think I might have been the only one who even noticed, and for whom it raised questions.

She was a terribly clumsy person. She was the first to admit it. Indeed, it seemed to be a point of pride for her, oddly enough. She always told people about it with a deep sigh, seemingly regretful.

But she always made sure that she told everyone. You would have thought she might have kept it to herself and let people figure it out for themselves, but she always made the announcement to anyone who would listen.

When she had a child, though, she never dropped him. It was almost expected that he was going to be dropped. A great deal of speculative pity was generated for him. It was just assumed that he was going to be the punchline of that “dropped on his head,” joke. People learned not to say that about people anymore. It didn’t seem funny when you actually knew someone to whom it had happened.

But it never did actually happen. No one even saw a close call. Other people just shrugged and accepted it; they just accepted that her clumsiness didn’t extend to her son.

But what I learned from it was that her clumsiness wasn’t due to any lack of dexterity on her part. Rather it came from a deep carelessness. She dropped things because she wasn’t ultimately all that concerned about them. It was an irritation, of course. But it didn’t raise any difficult questions. An apple gets bruised, an egg gets broken, or a glass shatters. None of this reflects on your life. It’s just funny how clumsy you are.