After a certain age, doctors and nurses ask older patients if they fell in the recent past. President Biden – who more than qualifies as an elder — recently fell as he ascended the stairs of Air Force One. In fact, he lost his balance two more times as he attempted to recover.
It was not what one would describe as a “bad fall” – but this trifecta tripping was more than a misstep that can happen to anyone. Since it was obvious that the nation’s chief executive was not injured – other than pride, perhaps – it probably evoked a hardy laugh from those viewing the ubiquitous video re-runs.
Inelegant stumbling is a standard comedic schtick. President Ford’s fall on the steps of Air Force One gave a boost to the career of his Saturday Night Live (SNL) imitator, comedian Chevy Chase. There is an entire cable network that features home videos of folks flaying and flopping like a fish out of water.
The online creative comics are already at it. There is a gif of former President Trump hitting a golf ball that hits Biden in the head – causing the fall.
If there was anything seriously noteworthy about Biden’s stumble, it was that flawed recovery. That is what puts Biden’s stumble into a medically reportable event.
Of course, Biden will not have to tell his doctors or nurses. They – along with millions of Americans – have most assuredly witnessed the President’s fall from gracefulness. And if they were not surrounded by White House staff at the time, they probably got a good laugh out of it.
While the three-touchdown stumble (airplane analogy, not football) was amusing, I got a giggle out of Biden’s composure as he re-ascended the remaining stairs. After grabbing for both railings to gain stability, He did a bit of a quick step to the top of the platform – upon which he turned and gave an unusually vigorous salute. It seemed as if he wanted to assure the world that he was okay.
He then turned and did another little quick step to enter the cabin. It reminded me of the way that comedian Tim Conway would step when in his classic “old man” character. I draw that comparison well aware that not everyone is as old as me – and can conjure up the Conway character in their minds. But if you are interested, you will find his skits on YouTube.
To be honest, I do not place a lot of importance or meaning on Biden’s stumble. I am more concerned about Biden’s mental stumbles – which seem to be appearing on a regular basis. He recently referred to his Vice President as President Harris and promised that more than 600 million doses of vaccine would be available to inoculate more than 300 Americans.
And during his virtual meeting with Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin, Biden sat in the big chair reminiscing in a long, rambling and often disconnected monologue about St. Patrick’s Day, the Biden ancestry four generations back, how he and former Speaker Tip O’Neill celebrated the holiday back in the 1980s, the bowl of four-leaf clover on the side table and referencing an off-camera bust of President Truman. It was like listening to grandpa waxing on in the nursing home.
It is going to be an interesting four years of mumbles, fumbles and tumbles.
So, there ‘tis.