The Jackson Herald
November 14, 2001
We all look like idiots when we fall
I've had a lot of people ask me where
I get my crazy column ideas.
Some people think that my wacky sense of humor comes from my
Dad. Well, anyone that knows him knows he's a crazy guy, but
I doubt he's as strange as me.
Other people think I sit and ponder for hours, waiting for some
great epiphany to hit me and send me running to my computer to
type in a hurried frenzy.
Actually, neither of those is true. My column ideas just happen.
It's as plain as that. I usually don't plan them. I have little
luck if I go looking for them. And I can't force myself to come
up with column ideas.
I just have to sit back and wait for something to happen. Take
Sunday night, for instance.
I spent much of the weekend trying to come up with an idea for
a column. I thought about it for a while, but nothing came to
So Sunday night, before I sat down at my computer to get serious
about it, I decided to run to the store to get some cereal, milk
and orange juice. I pretty much imagined it would be a normal
trip, as most trips to the grocery store are.
I walked out of my apartment and onto the sidewalk. (The sidewalk
at my apartment sits about three-quarters of a foot up above
the parking lot. This will be important information later.)
We all, being human, have our moments where we look completely
stupid-those moments where other humans could have a great laugh
at our expense. Mine happened Sunday night as I walked out to
I neared the edge of the sidewalk at the parking lot and suddenly
tripped on a piece of debris lying in my path. (Actually, I didn't
trip over anything except my own two feet. But it sounds better
to say I tripped over something. And to make matters worse, I
was completely sober.)
I fell forward, knowing that I was about to hit the pavement
and hit it hard. The fall must have lasted about 15 seconds,
because I seemed to have a while to think about.
My fall came to an abrupt stop as all 200-plus pounds of me crashed
onto the pavement. My knees hit first, driving into the asphalt.
Then my right hand hit, cutting a gash in my palm. Last, but
worst, my left elbow slammed into the ground and skidded (three
or four feet it seemed) across the blacktop. And after my entire
body made contact with the ground, I rolled over onto my back
with my feet and arms stuck up in the air like a helpless little
The first thought that ran through my mind was that something
could be broken. I bent and then straightened all my joints,
happy that they all worked. I was especially worried about my
knee. I have a bad knee that just looks for an excuse to pop
out of joint. But everything seemed to be working properly.
The second thought that ran through my mind was that someone
probably saw what happened. I was more worried that another person
had witnessed my graceful fall and less worried about my body.
I quickly rolled to my feet and looked around me. I was relieved
to see no one looking at me. I know what it's like to see someone
fall down. I always feel bad for the person and I always hope
that he or she isn't hurt too badly. But then, I can't help but
laugh. I know it sounds bad but I also know that most of you
out there laugh too when you see someone fall down, especially
a tall goofy white guy.
Satisfied that nobody had seen me, I went back into my apartment
to check myself out. I briefly explained the situation to my
roommate and went into the bathroom to look at the damage.
Both knees were slightly scraped and bruised. My right hand and
my left wrist had taken quite a scraping across the ground, but
it wasn't enough to break the skin. But then I pulled up my shirt
sleeve. My elbow hadn't made it out of this one unharmed. I had
a rather large, bleeding scrape about the size of a half dollar.
I moved quickly to sanitize it and cover it with a bandage. I
was happy, though, that my injuries seemed mostly superficial.
But about an hour later, about the time I sat down to write this
actually, my elbow joint began hurting. Now, it has become a
little stiff and I'm having trouble lifting a gallon of milk.
I've iced it down and I'm hoping it doesn't get too bad.
All in all, though, I'm most thankful that only I witnessed this
horrible event. Sure, I may have lost some use of my right thumb,
my left wrist and my left elbow. But dang it, I've got my pride,
and that's something that you can't repair with a little antibiotic
and a bandage.
So there you have it-I asked for a column idea, and I got one.
It's as simple as that.
But if any of you out there can help me with a painless idea
or two, please let me know.
In the meantime, I'll be bandaging up my arm, icing down my knees
and wrapping my elbow in a heating pad, hoping that everything
still works in the morning.
Adam Fouche is a reporter for MainStreet
Newspapers. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Jackson Herald
November 14, 2001
Breast: A four-letter word
Breast is a four-letter word. Chicken
breast is still acceptable as long as you're eating it, but if
they're not on your plate, you can't say breast without looking
over your shoulder.
Why is that?
People have managed to turn a perfectly functional body part
into something dirty.
Breast is part of my everyday life. I breastfeed my daughter
six or seven times a day. A few months ago, I carried a breast
pump with me everywhere I went so that I could pump breast milk
for my daughter to eat when I wasn't with her.
And that is another absurdity. No one wants to talk about breast
milk (me included), but we buy cow's milk by the gallon in the
cooler section of a supermarket. We drink milk from a cow we
never met, but breastfeeding an infant is dirty. It's so dirty
that women have been thrown out of malls and restaurants for
feeding their babies and laws have been passed all over our country
to protect a mother's right to feed her child.
Why is that?
A few months ago, when I first began my new job as sales manager
for Pyro Techniques, I was feeding my daughter at my desk in
the front of the store. A salesman walked in with a box of pocket
calculators and 2002 calendars. I swiveled in my chair to greet
him and he saw my daughter eating. My shirt covered most of her
head and all of me, but he still covered his face as if I had
blinded him and turned away, muttering "Oh, my God, I'm
so sorry." He made me feel ashamed although I had done nothing
wrong. He walked into my store, yet he managed to make me feel
dirty. Had he never seen a woman feeding her infant?
Why is that?
Breast milk is the best food for an infant. It's tailor-suited
to a baby's nutritional needs. As babies grow, the content changes
to reflect what they need the most. The milk itself changes during
the feeding. The first milk the infant drinks is thinner and
high in carbohydrates while the last milk the infant drinks is
high in fat and will help her get full. There are tons of reasons
why mothers should breastfeed their babies: Breast-fed babies
are less likely to be overweight as children and as adults. The
proteins and fats in breast milk are made for babies so they
are easier for baby to digest. There are fewer cases of constipation
and colic in breast-fed babies. Breast milk contains less salt
than formula, which is good because high amounts of salt can
weaken kidneys. Breast-fed babies are less likely to get ill
in the first year because immune factors are provided in breast
milk. In recent studies, breast-fed babies have higher IQs and
are more successful throughout their life. It's convenient and
it's free. Not only that, but breast-feeding reduces a woman's
risk of breast cancer.
You can't argue with all of that. From experience, I can tell
you it's rough for the first two weeks, but after that it's one
of the most satisfying things you'll ever do. Piper loves it.
It soothes her when she's scared or hurt. It puts her to sleep
when she's tired. And it fills her hungry little tummy. For those
brave enough to ask me about breastfeeding, I explain to them
the importance of human babies having human milk instead of something
contrived in a laboratory with preservatives. And if they ask,
I tell them I plan to feed my daughter until she decides to stop,
not when society or Gerber dictates. Studies prove that breastfeeding
is beneficial when it's continued into the first year, yet Gerber
recommends you wean an infant at eight months.
Why is that?
Maybe we study things too much, and people ought to just do what
feels natural. Breast milk is as natural as you can get.
Rochelle Beckstine is a columnist for MainStreet