Christmas with Blather: a cautionary tale

Okey doke. I decided I’d save this for a special occasion and seeing as it’s christmas and the eve of the new year, well, here goes then?

A couple of years ago, I badly hurt my back (displaced vertebrae) and after a couple of months on my arse and going in and out of chiropractors and shiatsu masseuses I decided it was time to get the finger out and do something. So, I resolved to join a gym and did so the first week of January.
After my general fitness was tested (I turned out to be small number heartbeats away from death) they set me loose on the machines. Things went well. In fact things went so well, that after a week of this, I began to believe that I was not a runt-like short-arse with the girth of a garden rake, but that I was rather, Bruce Willis.
So one Thursday evening after huffing, puffing, screaming, swearing and sweating my way through a session, I made my way to the boys locker room and proceeded to get ready for the showers. Shower gel: check. Towel: check. So far, so good. Flip-flops: oh yes, I had yet to purchase some flip-flops. I made a mental note to get some tomorrow. Grand so.
I turned to make my way to the shower area and was taking a quick look around to see how crowded it was, when something rather unfortunate happened. Now, it may take a while to properly describe the sheer horror of what took place.
To begin, my left foot hit a large wet patch on the floor and shot out from underneath me. Normally no problem, except that I am barefooted on wet tiles. My foot shot forward so fast, that it actually resulted in dragging my arse with it. Thus, my second foot left the ground and, I ended up staring at the ceiling whilst I seemed to hover in mid air for a split second, a la Wile E Coyote.
Now, scientists tell us that in a crisis situation, your body will react instinctively, that your limbs, usually your hands will act to protect you. This means that, theoretically, my arms should have shot out and attempted to cushion the fall. Sadly, my arms did no such thing, but rather seem to grasp on to the towel and bottle of shower gel even tighter. Brilliant. Still hovering in mid air, my mind is taken with a pretty pattern on the ceiling.
Then gravity decides that it’s had enough of a laugh and kicks in. With a vengeance. I hurtle downwards and make several choice connections. My arse connects with floor, my head connects with a hard rubber mat, my leg connects with a locker and my arm connects with a bench. There is a sickening retort and a great ungodly yell as the air is bashed out of my lungs from the impact. Nice.
So there I am, naked, lying on my back unable to move and gasping pathetically for breath like a stranded fish. I stare upwards at the ceiling and make great whining, keening sounds. Then slowly but surely, I realise that there is a figure making it’s way towards me.
The only other individual present to witness this hideous debacle is a 300 pound strategically shaved gorilla who has also been making his way towards the shower area. As he makes his way over I can hear his great flabby feet slapping off the floor. I open my eyes to look up and see the most enormous beer gut in the northern hemisphere hanging over me. Of course, the ape is naked and I also have a spectacular view of the crack of his arse and, yes, you guessed it: his lad is hanging down. Perhaps it was just the peculiar angle but I was suddenly reminded of the opening shot of Star Wars.
‘Ye alright there son?’
‘Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeuuuuuuu whiiiiiiiiiixzzzzzzzzyy’
‘I make a desperate signal towards my back. ‘Fleeeeeurgghh’.
‘Ah grand so’ sez he.
He stoops over, bringing his lad within a terrifyingly close proximity and grabs me by the armpits. With a great whoosh I am lifted to my feet. Except of course that my feet aren’t working properly yet. Rather they squirm on the tiles and my entire body has gone limp and I dangle there like a rag doll.
It is at precisely this moment that the door of the locker room opens and in walk another four men with their bags on their shoulders. Their chatting is abruptly arrested when the see the sight before them: an enormous fat naked man, holding up a small skinny man who is pouring blood out of his arm and wheezing like a burst tyre. A long silence follows.
Anyhoo, several hours pass. There is a trip to Beaumont hospital where I watch the nurse physically fight the urge to burst out laughing in my face when I tell her the story of what happened. There are stitches. There are painkillers. Sufficeth to say, there is no more gym.

Damien DeBarra was born in the late 20th century and grew up in Dublin, Ireland. He now lives in London, England where he shares a house with four laptops, three bikes and a large collection of chairs.


  1. You poor fella – but I’ve always said “There’s none as unfit as them that plays sport” – with their torn ligaments and plaster casts, can’t beat a bit of Egyption PT i.e. stay in bed, or struggle to the sofa if you have to!

  2. If I could email you a pint I would. I discovered gravity the same way one winter on a patch of ice
    and man did that hurt like hell.

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