There are certain things that a germophobe wants to avoid. A bouncing ball is a good example. A germophobe will run from a ball to keep from coming into contact with floor or ground germs. A bouncing piece of popcorn doesn’t sound as scary. But is it?
First of all, does popcorn really bounce? Unfortunately, the answer is “yes.” I can’t imagine that pieces of popcorn tossed on the floor would bounce much, if at all, but under the right circumstances, the little guys are downright springy. I learned this when I was eating popcorn at my work desk and a piece fell onto the keyboard tray. It did not have time to come to know the tray intimately, because it bounced up onto the keyboard itself. That’s over an inch! Being light and airy worked to its advantage, assuming the keyboard is a desirable place for a piece of popcorn to be. As the keyboard tray cannot be kept clean, and the keyboard is clean, a sanitization ritual ensued. The contamination was confined to only a few keys, but it was a hassle nevertheless.
A more recent bouncing incident was much more difficult to deal with. For some months the locking mechanism on the overhead cabinet at my work desk has been loose. There have been times that I’ve had to jiggle it to get it to work properly. I’ve also had to unscrew it partway. I knew the screw was precariously close to coming out, but I couldn’t get the cabinet to lock any other way. Then it did fall out one day. I heard the noise and watched it fall, and I wanted to try to catch it, but I was holding up the cabinet door with my arms. Falling on the desktop wasn’t a problem, but the screw bounced off the desk onto the floor! I knew the screw was going to be especially difficult to clean, with all of the irregular surfaces. I picked it up with a napkin and placed it on another napkin up on the designated shelf for dirty objects. I didn’t have much of a choice but to spray it with rubbing alcohol and let it dry, several times, of course. Then I moved it to an alcohol-soaked napkin and made sure that all the germs were rubbed off. I did that twice. It took half the day to complete the ritual. It’s a good thing it happened in the morning, because our cabinets are required to be locked when we leave. I’ve been extra-careful with the lock since then, trying not to jostle it at all. I don’t need a repeat bounce, but it’s likely that it will happen again.
But these incidents pale in comparison to what took place a few years ago. It involved a trampoline, and what is a trampoline but a huge bouncing device? I was jumping on one and lost my footing. My ankle gave way with a loud snap. Think of a person cracking a knuckle and multiply that sound by ten. My OCD was full-blown by that time, which is why all you fellow germophobes will never believe what you are about to read. I fell onto the trampoline, and I crawled onto the ground. The ground! And I lay there on the ground holding my ankle and gasping. The pain was so great I couldn’t cry or even make a sound. It eased up after only five minutes, but the doctor confirmed that it was a severe sprain. I had to have help getting to and from the doctor’s office, and I was on crutches for a few days. It’s astonishing what happens to OCD during a crisis. I didn’t forget my fear of germs, but it certainly took a back seat to the urgent needs of the moment.
A friend recently told me of a sports term: bad bounce. Though not related to sports, each of the above without a doubt could be called a bad bounce. But we are resilient, and when life throws us a curve, we bounce back.