The Rules of Falling Down

Follow these rules, and no matter how bad the fall, you’re a winner

Daniel Williams
Published in
6 min readApr 23, 2022


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My wife drops me off at work in the morning, and most of the time it’s nice. We kiss. We sigh. We offer our traditional farewells: “Let’s quit our jobs and run away to other jobs and quit those and run away forever!”

But it wasn’t nice last Monday morning.

We were having an argument.

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I delivered a devastating line like, “Let’s never quit our jobs ever and stay here until we all die!” then I manfully got out of the car and walked away.

My wife and I have rules about walking away, a leaving procedure.

Step one: Leave.

Step two: Look back.

Step three: Wave.

It’s a lovely way to leave a place.

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Well, I didn’t look back.

I marched triumphantly up the sidewalk toward my building, thinking things like,

She’s watching. Oh, she’s watching all right, and I’m not looking. That’s how much I’m winning this argument. And I’ll stay at this job until I die and I’ll lie facedown in my open casket with my waving arm folded beneath me, pinned un-waving forever.

Yes, I marched away without looking back, enjoying the power, reached the porch steps of my building, climbed the steps boomingly — one, two, three, four — lifted my foot to stomp like a victorious child of God up onto the porch, and that’s when my dumb foot missed its mark. It bit into the last step, and because I was moving fast, at the speed of righteousness,

I went flying.

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Daniel Williams
Human Parts

A poverty-stricken, soft Batman by night. Illustrator and writing teacher by day. Previously: McSweeney’s, Slackjaw.