Since today’s entry somewhat mirrors a previous cautionary tale, I’ve reprinted the first version followed by the new fable.


Once upon a time there was a husband who was named John. John was tall and athletic. He liked to compete. By chance, two people asked John if he and his wife would like to play mixed doubles at the tennis courts at the YMCA.

“Oh no,” his wife said. “I have a terrible serve and do not play well.”

“Nonsense,” he said.

So they went to play. Back and forth they hit the ball, John taking most of the shots because of his superior ability. They lost the first set even though he tried hard. They switched partners. This time John won because he was not playing with his wife. But there was unhappiness. Finally they played together again.

“We will do better this time, now that we are warmed up,” John declared.

All over the court he sprinted taking as many shots as possible. Finally a ball came flying over and he went to retrieve it with his very showy running forehand. But his feet slipped.

“Uh oh”, he said to himself, “I am falling. I must execute my famous tuck and roll which I learned as a young lad.”

But alas, the tuck did not quite happen. What did happen was much blood and a broken bone.


1) Hard things are no match for soft human tissues and bone.
2) It is better not to try too hard to do something than suffer the consequences.
3) Even though your brain still thinks you are young, sometimes your body just doesn’t believe it.


Once upon a time there was a wife who was named Mary. Mary was short and round. She liked to compete. By chance she was playing tennis with her husband one day.

“I must try very hard so that I can show John my great improvement,” she said.  “I want to show that the lessons I have been taking have made a difference.”

All over the court she lumbered taking as many shots as possible. Finally a ball came flying over and she went to retrieve it with her patented emergency slice backhand. But she leaned over too far while running.

“Uh oh”, she said to herself, “I am falling. I must execute my famous “girl fall” which I learned as a young lass.”

Alas, this is where our two tales part company because a “girl fall” is much different from a “tuck and roll.”

Now everyone knows when you are falling down that you have immeasureable time in which to consider all the parameters and consequences of the fall.

“First,” Mary thought, “I shall fall before I hit the stone wall because hitting the wall will do way more damage.  Next I shall do what my mother taught me, put your hands out so you don’t fall on your face.”

Unfortunately only one hand was available, the left, because the right one was holding the tennis racket. 

“Ah,” Mary thought, “if I fall on my left hand, even if I break it and my wrist, it will be on my non-dominant side.  Plus I must be careful not to mess up my nails which I have just had done.”

So down she fell, taking almost all of her weight (considerable) on her left hand. 

“Wow! that hurts” she thought while she laid on the ground.

“Oh no! The security guard is coming over to see if we need help.  How embarrassing!”

“Do you need help?” the earnest young security guard said.

“Perhaps a crane to get me up,” thought Mary to herself.

“Oh, no, I’m fine,” Mary grimaced and sat up.

And what was the damage done?  By using her famous “girl fall”  Mary did not break her collarbone or any bone.  There was a little scraping of her knee but hardly any blood.  The major damage was a bruised left hand.


1) It is better not to try too hard to do something than suffer the consequences.

2) It is important to protect your face and your manicure.

3) If you are over 10 years old, never fall down in front of an audience.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *