Tuesday, March 22, 2016
These things will kill me one day
A life of dorky introspection is a pretty safe one - nerds don't tend to face danger while updating their Uncanny X-Men checklists - but geek shit can still kill you, if you're not careful.
When I'm about 12, I see an episode of the Man From Atlantis, and see the way he swims, and it looks like a groovy and totally logical way to speed through the water, so I give it a try in the neighbour's backyard pool.
It goes as well as can be expected. I crack my fucking skull on the bottom of the pool and damn near knock myself clean out. It's lucky I don't, because there is nobody else about and I would drown in seconds.
Instead, I stumble to the side of the pool, marvel at the amount of blood coming out of a tiny cut on my forehead, and realise the Man From Atlantis is a fucking tool.Screw you, Patrick Duffy.
A couple of years later and I bike out to my mate Nick's place in the country for a Friday night double feature of body horror fun while his parents are away - Society and Bride of Re-Animator.
They're both gooey, gory messes, and while I'm biking alone home in the dark, I keep thinking about the ridiculous ways you can stretch and deform the human body, and I lose track of where I'm going and ride straight into a dark culvert.
I just miss a concrete edge and end up face first in the water. The impact was bad enough, but getting the rest of the way home with a broken bike, drenched in the middle of autumn, gives me a wicked cold that makes me wish I had drowned.
Now I'm in my late teens, and me and my mates have all got our driver's licenses, so the first thing we do is buy up cheap cars and hoon around the river.
At some point, some dickhead (probably me), gets the bright idea of going on top of a car as it speeds along at 110kmh down dirt tracks, with deep ruts and tall, terrifying trees on one side. And it's awesome, because you can hang on to the edge of the windows, so it's kinda secure, but you really do feel like goddamn Superman, soaring above the ground. It's the closest thing I've ever felt to being the big man.
And then the car takes a bend and I'm not holding on as hard as I should and I feel less like the Man of Steel and more like the Dickhead of Jelly, because I almost go flying off into those fucking trees.
I hold on just hard enough to get around the corner and we carry on, and I laugh about it afterwards, but that one was a lot bloody closer than I ever admitted.
Around the same time, my collection of comics, books and magazines is getting out of control, and I've got boxes and boxes of the bloody things.
I have to stash them away anywhere I can, so I'm putting a dense box full of UK Spider-Man reprints and Starlog magazines up into a high cupboard when I lose my grip, and it comes right down on my fucking head, and my neck gets bent in a way that necks should not bend. It hurts like hell, and while there is no permanent damage, but must have been close.
Now it's somewhere in the early twenties and sitting on a rooftop of an apartment building in Dunedin, drinking scrumpy cider, listening to the Butthole Surfers and reading Grendel comics, and it's a beautiful day.
But there is still a bit of a breeze, and one small gust picks up a couple of the comics and scatters them around the roof, and I'm scrambling after them, and chasing one particular issue when I almost chase it right off the edge of the roof, and over a straight four-storey drop.
I catch myself just in time, stumble back away from the edge, and go down the stairs on shaky legs to the alleyway to collect the undamaged comic. The drop looks even higher from down below.
These would be, without exception, the dumbest ways to die. I haven't done anything as stupid as all this shit in a few years now. But it's only a matter of time, if the computers don't get me first..