Everyone has been gobsmacked at one time or another. Sometimes, it can be a good thing!
| GOBSMACKED We've all been gob-smacked; really, we have,at least once. Some of us have even been warned to " shut your gob". Now before you indignantly insist that this has never happened to you or you shrug your shoulders with a " yeah, whatever", perhaps you should consider this fact. Everyone has one. You are born with it. Only one is issued at birth, and like so many physical attributes, a gob may be big or small. It may be opened or shut. Apparently, a gob may be smacked. This is self-explanatory. It involves striking, hitting, or slapping. The reasons why are many. A gob is no different than any other body part. It may be controlled, but often with great effort. "Gob-smacked" is a wonderfully descriptive British term used to denote surprise. It's the totally unexpected from- out- of- left -field shock that is similar to a sudden blow to your mouth or "gob". Now, not all of us have experienced a literal "gob jab", however, none of us are strangers to surprise. I shall illustrate. On the day my newborn daughter and I were released from the hospital, we dropped in to visit my mother-in-law. After a time, the four drivers in the house became hungry and pizza was ordered. I volunteered to go and get it. I suppose I wanted to prove that nothing in my life had changed. Baby or no baby, I was still capable. Off I went, driving the mom-in-law's Honda Civic. I must point out that little cars were a novelty to me. I'd always driven sedans and pick-up trucks. Without a hitch, I picked up the pizzas. On my return trip, my right foot became wedged between the teeny-tiny accelerator and the itty-bitty brake pedal. At this point, I was pulling into the driveway which was at street level and steeply sloped down to backyards and another road. The house was next to it and built into a hill. At no time during my attempts to free my driving foot did it occur to me that I had another foot;a foot that could also apply the brake. Anyway, the Civic and I sailed past the elevated end of the driveway, with me anticipating a very long, slow-motion drop through the air. As if this wasn't enough of a gob-smacker, I simultaneously heard and felt a loud bang. Instead of free-falling, the little car teetered on a vertical row of cement blocks that were piled just beyond my intended parking spot. I'd managed to "hang four"; four tires spinning from a snagged under-carriage. I never lost my grip on the steering wheel. Eventually, after appropriate gawking, several helpful neighbours hoisted the car and I down from our precarious perch. The family reaction was one of incredulity and concern; except that of my brother-in-law. He gob-smacked me again with his worry: were the pizzas okay? My husband should have been, at the very least, unfazed. It's not as if I hadn't gob-smacked him before. Gob-smackery served as our introduction , when we were teenagers. I'd returned to high school after knee surgery and I was struggling to manoeuver along with a load of books, a heavy plaster cast, and a pair of awkward crutches. In a surge of quick bodies, I was the slow, careful one. At the top of the only staircase, I somehow lost my balance. My tumble parted the wave of students. As I bounced off each step, I could only wait for the jarring stop with dread. Amazingly, my fall was broken, and I was caught by a strong and quick-thinking young man who'd been passing at the foot of the stairs. Just my luck to be saved by a competitive pairs' figure skater. ( Someone who "handled" girls every day on ice. Someone who could also balance next to a staircase and remain upright in the face of a hurtling klutz.) We didn't know it then, but we'd been gob-smacked. Later, this hero became my husband and I cannot correct him when he claims that I fell for him. Despite its painful and harsh-sounding turn of phrase, a gob smack can be a very good thing. My surprises have permitted me to meet some of the nicest people by accident. Vive le gob smack!!