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By Kate Heidel
No woman wants to think about it: there you are, balanced precariously on the edge of your sofa, trying to nab that out-of-the-way cobweb, when suddenly you lose your footing and fall flat on your face. Three days later you awake in the hospital, and just catch the end of a cat chat among the nurses about how you were dressed "like trailer trash" when they found you. How humiliating!
It doesn't have to turn out that way. Read on to learn what you can do to transform the unforseen calamity into a beacon of admiration shining directly on you, the best-looking household injury in the neighborhood.
You know how it is: you come home from work or a long afternoon of shopping, and all you want to do is get into your sweats. Resist the urge! Change if you want to, but into an ensemble fit for guests.
Dressing well means that you're ready to face the unforseen with fashion sense. Should you lose consciousness, for example, before you can writhe to your most flattering position on the kitchen floor, at least those attractive capris and slightly daring knit top are still working their magic. Remember: even drool won't look so bad when you're properly attired.
This ground rule applies even if a household emergency never befalls you. We can't predict when the police might accidentally transpose the numbers of a suspected murderer's address, and land at your doorstep instead. And won't you look lovely as they handcuff you and drag you away to the police station for questioning.
The perfect outfit is all but useless if your makeup has worn off. (We won't even entertain the scenario in which you never applied makeup in the first place. For those to whom this is relevant, please search the archives for our article, "The Rock-Bottom Basics of Femininity.") It doesn't matter if you're hurling every five minutes from the Asian Bird Flu. The magic word you must make your mantra is, "Re-apply"!
What if you're done writhing in the living room, and then remember that you haven't called 9-1-1 yet? Now you have to crawl to the phone, leaving an unsightly traffic pattern, and God knows what else, on your carpet. If you make it back home alive, you'll be greeted by that unsightly mess. But with a cell phone at your disposal, you can call first, then lose consciousness with the carefree confidence that any carpet damage has been limited to your writhing zone.
If you want to look your best in an emergency, you need to be prepared. But don't put undue pressure on yourself to execute the perfect life-threatening accident without plenty of practice under your belt. You didn't get that quiche pastry right the first few times, either!
Imagine, for example, that you were to faint while standing on a step ladder. How would you like to be arranged when that handsome paramedic comes charging into the room?
Rehearse your fainting spell from a safer, lower step on the ladder until you master your fall and land in the most comely configuration for your body type. Let's say that you possess lovely, narrow ankles. We suggest landing on your side with your legs attractively scissored 4"- 6" apart below the knee, and your feet pointed slightly downward. Who wouldn't want to help such a fetching tableau of distress?
Just to be safe, wear padding and head protection during rehearsals. By the way, there's never any shame in being caught with your practice gear on. If paramedics discover you "outfitted," their admiration for your dedication to feminine beauty will simply increase their efforts to bring you back to life all the sooner.
Remember that your home is an extension of you, and that the paramedics will traverse your entryway both coming and going. Be sure to apply daily spit and polish! You may also need to invest in basic renovations, such as vaulted ceilings and imported Italian marble statuary. It's difficult to put a price on a human life, but we think this comes pretty darn close to a reliable estimate. Oh, and don't forget the fresh flowers.
Consider yourself armed with the basic skills for putting your own special beauty mark on almost any household emergency. We believe that Homeland Security begins at home, and according to our color-coded readiness system, you're now in the pink!
© 2005 Kate Heidel
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kate Heidel is a freelance writer living in Minneapolis. Her work includes humor essays and poetry, and her articles have appeared in "Rochester Magazine" and "Simply Minnesota."