My older son is obsessed with watching “Fail” collections on YouTube. He finds them hilarious, but, since they’re really nothing more than compilations of people hurting, maiming, or making idiots of themselves, I can hardly stand them. Then again, I’ve never been a fan of physical comedy; I cringed watching “Mighty Mouse” and “Tom and Jerry,” and the “Home Alone” movies are horrific to me. Besides, the word “fail” is way overused.
Nonetheless, I had my own “fail” on a recent trash collecting mission. While heading home after an uneventful afternoon, I heard my son call my name on the trail behind me. I turned to find him balancing a large round object in one hand and the handlebar of his bike in the other. By the way his shoulder sagged in one direction, I could tell that the round object was heavy, and he was having difficulty maintaining his direction on the muddy trail.
“Look what I found in the water!” my son shouted proudly, “A bowling ball! I actually tripped over it!”
He dropped it on the ground with a thump so that I could examine it, and, after taking a picture, I offered to carry it to the bike trailer for him so that he could ride his bike more easily. After he agreed, I hefted the thing from the ground and propped it against my chest with both arms. It was heavy, most definitely not the ball of a lightweight bowler, but I’m not a weakling and was unconcerned with making it down the hill to the trailer. Unfortunately, the trail was slicker than I realized, and almost instantly I slipped onto my butt and lost my grip on the ball, which rolled quickly and inevitably back into the river. When we followed it to its entry point, my son looked at me accusingly. The ball had plunged straight into a deep embankment, where it could neither be seen nor reached by the longest stick we could find.
I suggested that maybe we would be able to reach it this summer when the water level fell. My son leveled me with an incredulous glance. I admit that, considering the amount of rain we’ve been having, a drought seems far-fetched. But, you know, if the water level fails me, I’ll find another way to, uh, unfail.