Slapstick Reel of My Life
Born one week late, needed to be a cesarean section. Parents joked that I didn’t want to be born. Received a 9/10 on some kind of “Healthy Baby” rating scale. Doctor deducted one point because I wasn’t crying.
Fell out of bed repeatedly.
Woke April, the family dog, from a nap. Scar on left elbow.
Dad used to say, “You’re so cute, I’m gonna punch you in the nose!” Ran into parents’ bedroom one morning and punched my mom hard in the nose. Started crying after she started crying. Dad explained that he never intended to punch me and that punching was bad.
Didn’t want doctors to see me naked. Wore seven layers of underpants and undershirts to convince new doctor that I was just clothes. New doctor didn’t ask me to undress but I showed her anyway.
Stepped on something that hurt but when I looked at my foot nothing was there. Walked mostly on the side of my foot for two weeks. An X-ray showed I had stepped on a sewing needle that had almost worked its way through to the other side of my foot. Doctor pushed it out with her hands as an alternative to surgery. Refused Novocain injection due to fear of needles.
New friend invited me to an exclusive pizza party whose guests would only be me. He dropped my invitation and bent over. Stared at his black and white checkered pants and succumbed to an urge to stab his ass with my pencil. His face looked amazed but not hurt. He said, “Oh no, now I tell on you.” I said, “If you tell on me I’m not coming to your party.” Teacher made me put my head on my desk for five minutes. Didn’t attend party.
Provoked friend’s dog, Cocoa, into biting my face. Friend kept saying she didn’t want Cocoa to be “put to sleep,” so we told her parents I ran into a pole. Received six stitches under left eye. Refused Novocain injection. No scar.
Slipped while running to a balance beam and landed on my arm. Doctor said I’d need to be “put to sleep” so he could reset the bones. Panicked until I was assured I wouldn’t be “put to sleep” like April and Cocoa. Got to wear a cool cast that I resented because it was summer and it wouldn’t get me out of gym class. No scars, but my left arm is less flexible and my hand goes numb sometimes.
Asked mom for my first pair of jeans. Had only worn leggings. Peed pants in class because I thought that’s why people wore jeans.
Forgot the lines to my first leading role in a very serious drama club play. Didn’t think I was allowed to leave the stage. I made up new lines and the ten-minute play lasted over a half an hour. Thought I was doing something very bad but people kept laughing. Other characters stopped coming onstage and I said “The end.”
Woke on Christmas and fainted from stomach pain. Doctor said it was “extreme gas.”
Went to some bars and ended up at a playground where I broke a rib after letting go of something that was spinning very fast.
Vomited blood and a doctor’s finger became the first finger to ever enter my ass. Discovered a stomach ulcer condition. Started taking non-prescription Xanax as an alternative to binge drinking and vomiting.
A drunk driver rear-ended my mom’s car. It was night and his lights were off. My mom was driving. I heard her yell my name, then the words “control” and “steering wheel.” Something collided with my head and my face felt wet. I thought, “my eye is coming out,” then “no,” then, “guess this is how I die, I die with Mom,” as the car came to a stop. Mom seemed obsessed with finding her registration. Turned my head and saw that a back door was gone. A woman holding a phone approached my side of the car. She said, “You need to call an ambulance” and walked away.
Frequently mispronounced “Audrey Niffenegger” while assisting customers at the bookstore where I worked.
Walked around Iowa City with my ex and argued intensely about something I forget. We had each ingested a small amount of LSD. Coconuts and a large knife were in our motel room. I took a coconut to the bathroom and started hacking it open. My hand slipped and the knife landed in my finger. Warded off pain by envisioning it as lines I needed to stack in a high level of Tetris. Received four stitches and multiple Novocain injections from a med student who indicated she was aware of “messing up.” Have a scar and a small area of my finger is numb.
Woman in Spain acted like she thought I was stealing fruit. Accidentally called her ‘Pedro’ while trying to say “Can I buy this” in Spanish. -Age 25
Visited ex near the end of our romantic relationship. Told him I was going out to get food. Secretly ingested two bars of Xanax and two pints of ice cream. Fell asleep on the train. Woke with sticky fingers at least 15 stops from his apartment. An attractive older man entered the train as I exited. Shook his hand and said some combination of “Don’t shake my hand” and “It’s nice to meet you.”
Fell down 5-7 stairs after waking from a dream where I was an R&B singer singing to a pile of fruit.
Immediately vomited after seeing “pregnant” on a test strip. My boyfriend accompanied me to the clinic. I didn’t expect the waiting room to be full. The Jerry Springer Show played on a TV. We joked that they were showing it to assure us of our good decisions to not make more people. I left with pills that would induce a miscarriage, which I took that afternoon. Nothing happened for a few hours. Then I started bleeding through my clothes. Then once or twice an hour I’d jog to the bathroom to bleed into the toilet. My boyfriend was drunk and went to sleep. I stayed awake and watched Kramer vs. Kramer. Fainted on my way to bed. Felt scared and woke my boyfriend. He acted indifferent and mostly inconvenienced by me, which upset me, and we argued. I don’t remember what I said before he hit me. He only hit me once in the face. I stood motionlessly for a few seconds and then started pummeling him. Drove to Baltimore to stay with my mom. Didn’t stop bleeding for a few months. No visible scars. Broke up a few months later.
Truck-driving instructor told me he was in Desert Storm and had PTSD. Asked him what that felt like. He said, “I’m always thinking something’s out to get me.” I said, “Me too, but I don’t have a reason.” Started very vocal inside joke about things “getting us” that maybe alienated other students.
Gibbs, my ex-boyfriend’s dad’s dog, let me rub his belly. I patted my knees and said, “Come here Gibbs!” and he jumped and bit my wrist. Received one stitch and requested Novocain. Have a scar and my ring finger is mostly numb. Gibbs was “put to sleep.”
Knew Xanax would show in my urinalysis at orientation for a truck-driving job, so I wrote that I had a prescription on my medical history. Thought it wouldn’t matter, but they wanted a doctor’s note saying my prescription was discontinued. Stood around the truck terminal for four hours, pretending to wait for a phone call from a non-existent doctor. A truck driver named Mitch said I looked like a nurse and talked to me for a long time. He repeatedly asked why I wanted to drive trucks. I’d say, “I like driving, it’s fun,” and he’d say, “This shit ain’t fun, it’s a job, Hell no, this shit’s a job.” Told me he saw aliens and advised me to buy a gun.
Excerpt from the Novel ‘Family Life’
Cheers to the Revolution: Kiev's Beautiful Molotov Cocktails
VICE Shorts: I'm Short, Not Stupid Presents: 'How to Keep Smoking'
The Ass Menagerie
VICE News: Investigating an Unsolved KKK Murder in the Deep South
Meet the New Generation of British Nudists
Dangerous Unhappy Things: A True Ghost Story
Meet the Nieratkos: Thomas Campbell Made a Skate Video That’s Actually Worth Watching
Sculpting Nudes in a New York Night Club