The recent Mythbusters clip show “Location, Location, Location” has inspired me. Writing, for me, requires inspiration and there’s a lot of things that just don’t do it for me. This though…
At about 1:15, Tori comes up with a classic line. “Oh crap. This was a bad idea.”
The “Oh Crap” moment is difficult to describe. If you have had it, you understand it perfectly, no explanation needed. If you haven’t had one, then no amount of mere words can convey the utter horror you feel, in that timeless moment when you realize that everything is about to go horribly wrong and there isn’t a damn thing you can do about except take it.
It’s not like a car wreck. That’s instant, totally unexpected. You don’t have time to see it coming (generally… I’ve never been in a car wreck). Everything is fine, then it’s over and you’re shaking.
The “Oh Crap Moment” is different. For a brief second, you can see everything with perfect clarity. You know exactly what has gone wrong. You can see the inevitable ending of the moment rolling toward you and you know that there’s nothing you can do. It’s a perfect moment in time, frozen in your memory and you will retain that Oh Crap moment forever.
Sometimes you actually have time to say “Oh Crap”, but often not. And it’s quite funny, of all the things you could say, all the expletives in the known universe, what comes out of your mouth? “Oh Crap.”
The other interesting thing is that if you do get to say “Oh Crap”, it’s not in a scream, it’s not in a ‘scream like an 8-year-old girl’ voice. It’s usually said perfectly calmly. Much like you would say “pass the salt” at breakfast, when you are distracted by reading the morning paper.
Let me tell you about my two “Oh Crap” moments.
The first, was the cause of the most serious injury I’ve ever had (which isn’t that bad in the grand scale of injuries). I was playing volleyball with some friends on a basketball court. I was at the center-net position and I watched the ball pass over my head. I knew I wasn’t going to go after it, there was no point.
Of course, my body had other plans. I lofted myself high. Of course, I really had to bend backwards to get under the ball. I managed a decent hit.
The next thing I realize is that I’m look straight ahead and I’m staring at the bottom of the net… still in the air. My gaze, travels down, following the bottom of the net and I see my feet. Somehow, I’m perfectly parallel with the bottom of the net.
The Oh Crap moment had begun. I distinctly remember thinking, “This is gonna hurt.”
It did. I bounced off my right knee and right wrist. Within about 15 minutes, my wrist had swollen to twice its normal size and was a bright purple. “Wow, that’s a heck of a sprain,” I thought. Being 18 and absolutely insane, I went and played volley ball some more. Until I used my right hand to hit the ball. I was done for the day.
Then I realized I had to drive home… in a standard transmission car.
After not sleeping the entire night, in spite of 4 Tylenols and a Xanax, I had my mom drive me to the hospital the next morning.
I had cracked three bones in my wrist. You know that little knobby bit on the outside of your wrist, behind the pinky finger? I broke that off and it healed about a 1/4 inch from where it’s supposed to go. Sigh.
Oh Crap Moment #2… in which a black belt in Aikido gets his revenge.
While taking Aikido, we had a twice monthly sparring day. We would get to use some of our skills in matches. Our teacher was very good about fighting at our level and allowing us opportunities to learn the finer points of feeling the motion of your opponent (if you’ve taking aikido or judo, you know what I’m talking about*.)
During the match previously, I had really gotten my instructor. I had that flash of insight about exactly when to grab, twist, and lever. The end result was that I taken a 220 pound black-belt in aikido and literally thrown him across the mat. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.
The next match though, he got me good. I don’t remember the setup, but we had actually gotten to grappling, not my area of expertise. He ended up wrapping his legs around my knees and rolling.
I actually managed to get out “Oh Crap” as I felt the pressure build up on the back of my thighs and I know I was going down. In spite of all the fall training and rolling practice we do in aikido, there’s just not much you can do when your legs are pinned and your entire body is falling forward… very rapidly.
After I yielded the point, I heard the rest of the students laughing. They said it was the funniest thing that they had ever heard… this perfectly calm “Oh crap” coming out of a guy who was about to get pummeled.
What are your “Oh Crap” moments?
* When fighting using aikido or judo, the object is to use the energy of your opponent against him or her. Ideally, you want them to commit to an attack or move and, in that split second, when they are totally concentrating on attack, you move and redirect the attack or turn it back on them. It’s easy to describe, but very difficult to do.