You know how some people just have a natural grace? How everything they do and every movement they make comes off with a certain flow and elegance, and they always look so assured and so in control of where they are going and what they are doing?
Yeah, I don't have that. In fact, if anything, I have the opposite problem.
I have a natural talent for self-inflicted injuries. What's more, I have the most interesting habit of creating these injuries at the most bizarre times. I can train for months at running over hurdles without knocking a single one over, and then hit it with my foot and fall to the ground in a crash in finals when everyone is watching. I can walk and dance for hours in high heels and then right before midnight on New Year's mysteriously fall off my shoe and ring in the New Year sitting in the corner with my foot elevated. Such an injury happened again this past weekend at our first performance of the live Nativity Pageant.
The church puts on this pageant every year before Christmas. It's a short little show all done in pantomime while a recording reads Luke 2 and plays hymns by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. We also have a real donkey, sheep and alpacas, and perform outside in the beautiful snowy weather in costumes designed to wear a snow suit underneath.
I play an angel; although up close I look like a marshmallow with gold embellishment. My role is to stand amidst the heavenly host and pretend to play the trumpet.
Now, there are a number of concerns involved with this pageant in terms of health. First of all. the whole cold thing. We all froze at the dress rehearsal, and showed up opening night looking like the Stay Puft man so we do not all celebrate Christmas with hypothermia. Second, the animals can cause a problem if they get spooked or are feeling belligerent. Case and point: the shepherd that got kicked in the face by a sheep when the angel appeared. Luckily she was not seriously hurt. Thirdly, the angels have the risk of becoming fallen angels six times a night when they climb up a steep wooden staircase covered in hard packed snow, crawl across an icy surface and up a set of steps as if they are appearing out of nowhere. This is especially interesting when they are cued too late and the last angel (yours truly) has to run across said icy surface. Amazingly, I managed to leap into place without falling off.
We made it through opening night with very little injury and hardly any glitches. Then, on our final performance, I did something truly spectacular. My trumpet is made of hard plastic that feels even more solid when it is frozen. Normally, I place my hand near the mouthpiece so I don't get my germs on it, but in this performance, in my haste, I didn't, and rather than look like a celestial being gracefully and confidently playing the trumpet, I smacked myself in the mouth.
Blinking through the pain, I pretended to play that darn trumpet and hoped no one could see my eyes watering. I tasted blood in my mouth and prayed I didn't start bleeding on my white robes.
As we descended, I remembered that this performance just happened to be the one where our documentary maker was crouching on the angel stand for a different shot. And who was the angel he filmed up close? That's right. Me!
Of all the ways to get injured on that angel stand, I think I took the dumbest. Who knows what I'll do at our next performance?