Stuff I Learned the Hard Way—I’m a Wimp

WHAT’S PLAYING: Salt-n-Pepa feat. En VogueWhatta Man

The other day, I learned the hard way that—despite the black belts I’ve earned and the tough-girl image I try so hard to project to the world—when it comes to the creepy and downright bizarre, all my kick-assery flies out the window leaving nothing but a 6’2” crybaby.


This epiphany occurred while I was watching Cowboys and Aliens with some friends. I was fine until the alien’s body opened up to unleash a second set of hidden, gooey, three-fingered hands. My friends laughed.

Me? I went apeshit.

I scrambled as far away from the television as I could, squeezed my eyes shut, and alternated between grabbing at my friends and slapping their hands away, all the while shrieking, “No! No! No!”

Not my finest moment.


My friends weathered the storm as best they could—letting me know when the “scary” part was over, and then scattering to the far ends of the room whenever the gooey alien hands showed up.

Now, besides, yet another irrational fear to add to my long, long lists of phobias, I’ve decided to add another weapon to my arsenal.

chainsaw katana

I just have to figure out what to say to the bank when “chainsaw-katana” shows up on my credit card bill.


Stuff I Learned the Hard Way – It Helps if You’re a Little Crazy

WHAT’S PLAYING: Kings of LeonSex on Fire” (Is it me, or does this song sound like the world’s scariest STD?)

A month ago, I learned that I was sick. Not “break out the black clothes and white lilies” sick. More “your life is going to suck for a while, but you’ll get through it” sick. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it, so I nodded, put on my big girl panties, and moved forward.

Many of my friends commented on my positive and upbeat attitude. I tell them the secret is simple:

It helps if you’re a little crazy.

In my head, I’m invincible. No disease or injury can do me serious harm. They can only slow me down for a little while. Part of me suspects that if I lost a limb, it would grow back in a couple of weeks. No, I’m not going to try it. I’m crazy, not stupid.

Being just a wee bit out of touch with reality keeps me moving forward. All those travel plans I had to cancel – including my trip to England and, most recently, a writer’s conference in Ohio that I very much wanted to attend – in my mind, they have simply been deferred.

I will admit to being a little scared, but mostly I’m just pissed off. I don’t smoke, do drugs, or engage in unprotected sex. In fact, aside from the occasional cocktail and bone deep laziness, I’m usually very healthy. I didn’t do anything wrong, and yet I feel like my body has betrayed me.

Still, I love my life and no disease is going to stop me from living it.

To my friends and family who have been so supportive, I love you all.

Don’t count me out just yet.

Stuff I Learned the Hard Way – My Flirting Could Use Some Work

WHAT’S PLAYING: Mike Posner featuring Lil’ WayneBow Chicka Wow Wow

Last week, a friend of mine insisted I go bar-hopping with her. It didn’t take much effort since I’m always up for a cocktail.

When I was busy guzzling my third margarita, two very attractive men approached us and started chatting. Things were going fairly well, until we got on the subject of happy places.

I said my favorite place to be was in bed. One of the guys asked if I took anything to bed with me.

My answer? “A teddy bear and a switch blade.”

I don’t think he’s going to call.

Stuff I Learned the Hard Way – Sometimes a Zombie is Just a Zombie

WHAT’S PLAYING: Tim McGrawJust to See You Smile

I’m afraid of zombies. I mean, crap your pants while gibbering in terror afraid. (I know it’s completely irrational. I never claimed to be sane.) My friend gave me a book of zombie haiku, and it gave me nightmares. And zombie movies? Forget about it. I slept with my katana for weeks. 


My therapist says that my aversion to the walking dead stems from a fear of losing my faculties to insanity or senility. I say it comes from not wanting some brain-munching bastard to take a chunk out of me while I’m still alive and screaming.

I suppose the whole fear of losing my mind idea has merit.  

But I’m still sleeping with my katana.

Stuff I Learned the Hard Way – Dropping Acid

WHAT’S PLAYING: Gym Class Heroes feat. Neon Hitch “Ass Back Home”

When handling a two liter glass bottle of extremely concentrated nitric acid over a concrete floor,  be very, VERY careful.

I had to wriggle out of pair of dissolving work boots without touching them, all the while yelling, “Shit! Shit! Shit!

 We had to shut down the building and call in the fire brigade to clean it up.

It was a thing.

Stuff I Learned the Hard Way – Wrestling Alligators is NOT the Best Way to Earn Pocket Money

WHAT’S PLAYING: The EaglesThe Best of My Love

Among the many odd jobs I had as a teenager, wrestling alligators was probably the most dangerous…and the best paying, which is sad because it only paid about $8/hour.

Still, I managed to earn almost $200 before my mother found out and put the kibosh on the whole thing.

Did I mention that I was thirteen at the time? 

Before you judge, thirteen isn’t that young. The girl pictured above began wrestling alligators at the ripe old age of six.