Cackhanded but not alone

Like most people, there are many things i wish i could change about myself. I would like to be practical, to sing in tune and to be able to breathe underwater. More than anything however i would like not to be cackhanded. I am that person who knocks over vases (“genuine Ming, don’t you know”) with the tail of my coat as i put it on or take it off. I leave as much food on the table as i get into my mouth. I shut train doors on my fingers.

My spirits soared recently therefore when i read Bill Bryson’s “Notes from a Big Country” in which he describes the disasters he’s had during his travels: from an exploding travel bag to depositing not one but two soft drinks all over the lady sat next to him:

“To this day, I don’t know how i did it. I just remember reaching out for the new drink and watching helplessly as my arm, like some cheap prop in one of those 1950s horror movies with a name like The Undead Limb, violently swept the drink from its perch and onto her lap.”

I can’t describe the thrill of realising there are others who share my affliction. I have spent my life studying the apparently effortless way in which people manage to stack furniture (without it collapsing on them), drink coffee (without it ending up all over them) or even pick up a pen from the floor without hitting their head on a nearby table. And the worst of it has always been the feeling that everyone can do this but me.

But now i know: i’m not alone!

8 thoughts on “Cackhanded but not alone

  1. I love what you say here. It is true that many people suffer from the basic problem of awkward-clumsiness. As for the ‘bull-in-a-china-shop’ syndrome – Well, how many times have we seen people knock over china with a rucksack by simply turning round too quickly in a confined space. I personally think that sometimes it’s the shops fault because they cram in too much merchandise and don’t actually leave enough room for their own customers!

    Thought I find ‘cack-handedness’ is such a northern expression in the UK. Most of the southerners I’ve said those words to don’t initially realise what they mean, then eventually it suddenly dawns on them.

    Also, that description you gave of Bill Bryson spilling drinks on someone in an aeroplane reminded me of that famous Cinzano Bianco drinks advert from the seventies staring Leonard Rossiter and Joan Collins – It’s all so funny when it happens to someone else!

  2. It’s much funnier to remember disasters after the fact than to experience them, that’s definitely true! We chuckle away forgetting how we cursed and cried at the time. I’d forgotten about that advert with Leonard Rossiter btw.

  3. I have exploding bag syndrome wherby I’m fishing in my bag for a particular thing which has hidden itself in some dark recess and in trying to locate it everything else in my bag suddenly erupts and falls to the floor. And I still can’t find what I was looking for! This happens most of all when I’m trying to let myself in at the front door. I also trip over things and if there is nothing for me to trip over I have been known to trip up over my own feet. I always had scabby knees when I was a kid! We need to have a clumsy flashmob in the china department of Selfridges and celebrate our lack of co-ordination!

  4. Hehehe – I have a wonderful vision of the three of us in Selfridges china department with massive backpacks and bulging carrier bags wreaking havoc! That sounds like the recipe for a great saturday afternoon to me!

  5. Tin can cookers and bakewell tart « Is A Fish A Man ?

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