Crashing has its Advantages. It changed my life.
Next thing I knew I was crashing down through a series of shelves. As I painfully thumped on the new linoleum floor, surrounded by hairbrushes and scrunchies, I opened my eyes to behold a suspended ceiling that was now not-quite-so suspended, and a series of fluorescent lights flickering off and on.
All around me I heard obscenities and groans, which I thought could have been my greeting to hell. The construction crew had just finished at the new store. Or they THOUGHT they had just finished, rather. Now it would be a long weekend for them to fix what I had broken in one moment of youthful misjudgment.
I had been at the top step of a 12-foot step ladder, beyond where one was supposed to stand. I had flown into the danger zone. I had overreached.
This happened over 25 years ago. I was installing a public-address system at a new SuperX drugstore. SuperX doesn’t even exist anymore: that’s how long ago it was.
And despite it seeming like the worst day in my life up to that point, there were wonderful things that came from it:
1. I went out and bought the tools I needed for the job, forever eschewing the image of myself as the rough-and-tumble soundman, tossing cables from tile to tile rather than stringing them through gracefully, taped to the end of an extensible aluminum pole.
3. I learned not over-reach. Literally, very literally. But also figuratively. The job had been going great up to that point. I wanted to get finished before sundown on Friday. I overreached. Overreaching can be deadly, both literally and figuratively.
But most important, as I drove home westbound along Lincoln Drive in Phoenix in the car that was my father’s Oldsmobile with that evil temptress ladder strapped to its roof, I saw the sun setting behind the White Tanks. It was utterly beautiful.
The ordeal I had just survived–and the ordeals to come in the days that followed–suddenly seemed to mean nothing.
This all has something to do with the debut of my first novel. Check out In the Eye of the Diamond T.