“Life is a slippery slope”

It was a spotless shopping area located in the area just before the security station for re-boarding the cruise ship in Cozumel, Mexico.  After separating from my two companions, I was walking back alone taking in the sights and sounds of a different culture.
In an instant, I was on my knees and hands, before falling and hitting my head on a column.  I never knew what happened.   Four kind people walking behind me quickly came to my rescue, helping me up and gathering my strewn belongings.
Some people might chastise me for walking alone in an unfamiliar place, particularly in a foreign country like Mexico.  Thinking of myself as a careful and street savvy traveler, I nevertheless was not prepared for the thing that left a knot on my head and had brought me to my knees.
The mugging in broad daylight in a crowded public place was not some drug crazed junkie or an opportunistic thief trying to prey on an unsuspecting tourist.  No, it was much more discreet than that.  
The culprit, someone whose name I will never know,  dropped a peeled banana down on the sidewalk.   Most people have no idea how slippery a banana can be when stepped on directly.  My own personal experience is that a banana is more slippery than motor oil or bacon grease.   
The fact that I was alone became somewhat of a blessing since there would be no one at dinner that evening to tell of my not so graceful fall in public.  Even the good Samaritans that came to my aid were on another ship.   
It was not my first memorable fall.  That came in the first grade when I was climbing a tree to impress the girl living across the street, Linda Lyle. I have written before of slipping and becoming wedged in the four pronged tree, rear down and unable to move.  
My brother, Ernest, was sent in to summon my mother but became distracted by the cartoons on the television.   Eventually, Mr. Lyle heard my cries and enlisted the help of some other adults to pull me from the tree.  Ernest was still watching cartoons and my mother was still unaware of my predicament when I finally came into the house.
Another fall came while stepping from the dock onto my parents’ boat which was moored at Bay Point Yacht Club.  My foot slipped and I fell into the water, hitting my head on the swim platform on the back of the boat.
I remember wondering why I was wet.  I remember the ambulance ride.  I don’t really remember anything else, except that I now have an incredible caution whenever I step onto a boat.  
Life is full of unexpected slips and falls.  Some are embarrassing.  Some hurt more than just our pride.   Some leave us in a hole, either physically, mentally or emotionally bruised or drained.  
Some slips we come to view as our own failures, whether they be in business or in life.  Often we are the last to forgive ourselves, even if no forgiveness is necessary.
I have come to believe that my biggest achievement in life is not the successes that I have enjoyed or the blessings I may have received along the way.  I am proud of them all, though I recognize that in almost every case those successes are the results of others around me.
No, my biggest achievement was figuratively finding myself flat on my back and somehow finding a way to get back up and start moving forward again.  The slips and falls of our lives will put most of us on our back at some time another.  It is how we get back up that is the true measure of who we are.
o0o
Dan Ponder can be reached at [email protected]

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