Cindyitis relapse
03.07.02 // 4:34 a.m.

You may not know it simply by seeing me, but I have a horrible illness. It affects everything I do, and rears its ugly little head at the most inappropriate times. There is no cure for it and it may be contagious.

Symptoms include: unusual difficulty doing simple things like walking in a straight line (sober and without chewing gum), distorted depth perception, general clumsiness, and last any of the above symptoms in the presence of large amounts of people.

I think Cindyitis was one of the lasting changes brought on by puberty, besides the breasts and hips. I don’t remember being such an accident-prone kid. I played sports, danced, had good hand-eye coordination as a result of plenty of sessions of Mario Brothers and Tetris. Maybe when I got my period, I didn’t become the gracious women I was supposed to be.

I first noticed it the summer before high school. As I walked along a curb in my band uniform, I tripped over it and scraped my black wool-blend pants. The curb must have moved and jumped in my way, I swear. Maybe it was the shiny patent leather band shoes.

Later, I tried to walk off a stage by stepping onto bales of hay covered with sheets. I didn’t want to jump because I knew I might fall. I should have known that even in Australia I could be struck with Cindyitis. I fell flat on my face in front of 50 people, including Kevin, my crush at the time. For the record, that was the second time I had exited the stage in an unorthodox way.

I learned quickly from that accident and others early on how to deal with the effects of Cindyitis. Although there is no medication, there are other effective ways to mitigate the embarrassment of falling in front of dozens of people.

First, you got to be able to deal with people laughing at you. Laugh with them, that’s if it doesn’t hurt to. I think if I saw myself fall I’d have to suppress giggles. I’m not a cruel person, it’s just a reflex.

Second, you got to use those tear ducts. It’s amazing how nice people become when you cry. Sometimes you’ll do this naturally, but other times, you’ll need to fake it a little. You’ll get sympathy rather than people laughing at you. Plus, they all want to help you. It’s great if you’re a person who enjoys or craves attention.

Third, be prepared. I don’t mean carry crutches in your trunk. Just make sure you own a basic first aid kit to deal with those pesky cuts and bruises. At least if your ego is bruised, you can still take some care of your body.

Last, be creative with the details of your accident. If you fell down the stairs and have bruises on your face, don’t give the boring truth. Make up a “story” of how you tried to protect a blue-haired old lady from a purse-snatcher. As you caught up to him, you tackled him and grabbed the purse back, but not before he swung at you with the purse. It’s a white lie, it doesn’t really hurt anyone, and we all need to use our imaginations more. If you feel bad about it, you could always clear things up right after your “story” with a quick “just kidding” and the truth.

I had a relapse of Cindyitis today. I slipped walking down the wet stairs of the parking garage on campus. There was only one witness, no need to cry and my left side is sore, but no bruises yet.

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