The 5 Worst People You Could Meet in the ER

When I left my apartment at 11pm this past Saturday to take my small dog, Jack, out for his night walk, I never expected that a mere hour later, I would be sitting in the waiting room of the Lenox Hill ER with a bleeding, lacerated eyelid. Long story short: in an effort to prevent Jack from engaging in a toothy grappling match with an even smaller dog, I picked him up, at which point he started thrashing around like a catfish, scratching my arms and accidentally catching his tooth on my poor, delicate eyelid in the process.

Of course, the only appropriate response to having my eyelid torn open by my dog’s fang was for me to immediately take him home and then collapse to my knees in my front hall while calling out weakly for my fiancé. I vaguely recall muttering the phrase “he hurt me” around 15 times from my spot on the floor before I finally decided to quit whining and have a look in my bathroom mirror to assess the damage. There, I was confronted with a rather gruesome sight: a bruised, bloodied and sliced right eyelid that definitely had to be looked at by a doctor ASAP and possibly stitched back together. I burst into tears all over again, not because my eye hurt (though you know it did), but because I was terrified that I was about to walk into an ER that would be packed with sick and/or badly injured people. While my fiancé and I hurtled down the West Side Highway in the cab to the hospital, I mentally compiled a list of the 5 worst possible archetypes that I could encounter in the ER. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. The Puker: I have a severe vomit phobia, one that’s so bad that I will switch subway cars if I think there’s even the slightest chance that another passenger is about to throw up. Owing to my severe aversion to barf, I was extremely worried that I would have to sit in the waiting room next to someone who was spewing uncontrollably, possibly into her handbag out of sheer desperation. I decided that if I walked into the ER and saw any single hint that someone was throwing up, my only course of action would be to accept the fact that I would now have to spend the rest of my life with a Fetty Wap eye and go back home.
  2. The Wailer: I get that everyone deals with pain and stress differently. With that said, it would be really shitty to have to deal with your own pain and stress while someone else is howling histrionically right next to you. I can deal with low moans, sure, but I knew that if I were forced to listen to someone caterwaul with reckless abandon while waiting to see the doctor, I would have no choice but to put that person in a sleeper hold and lower them gently to the floor, blissfully quiet at last.
  3. The Belligerent, Rich Drunk: Unless I’m drunk myself, I absolutely cannot stand drunk people. They’re loud, they’re sloppy, and more often than not, they’ve forgotten their ability to regulate their emotions back at the club. Given that the Lenox Hill ER is located in the West Village, one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in New York City, I had visions of being trapped in the waiting room with some entitled, boisterous, wealthy douchebag in a whale belt who had injured himself while doing something like sabering the cork out of a bottle of Dom Perignon. I actually wasn’t too worried about having to confront this archetype, mostly because I was pretty sure that someone else would beat me to the punch – literally.
  4. The Chatty Cathy: For some reason, strangers in every country I’ve been to always insist on striking up conversations with me. I think it might be because my version of “Bitchy Resting Face” is “Friendlier Resting Face Than I Intend to Have,” and I’ve got a habit of raising my eyebrows in repose, which must look like a signal that I’m a bit simple and would be happy to talk to literally anyone because it means they’ve noticed me. Listen, I’m as gregarious as the next guy, but there’s a time and a place for small talk, and it sure as hell isn’t while you’re waiting to be seen by a ER doc at midnight on a Saturday when you’re wearing your pajamas and bleeding from the face. I’ve often thought about the best way to stop an unwanted conversation before it starts, and I’ve come to the conclusion that this problem is most quickly solved by listening to the Chatty Cathy’s opening line, pausing momentarily, and then responding by squealing like a pig as loudly as I physically can. I’ve never tried it, but I’m pretty sure that this technique would also be a great way to get someone to give me their seat on a packed subway.
  5. Brad the Impaled: Every now and then, there’ll be a story in the news about some luckless fool who accidentally impaled himself on a spiked metal fence and had to be rushed to the ER with a 3′ long iron pole sticking out of his abdomen. Every time I hear a story like this, I physically shudder with horror, and I live in fear that one day I’ll be unlucky enough to witness this kind of horrific mishap, because that’s some straight up Final Destination shit right there and I don’t need any curses passed onto me, thank you very much. I think I would actually faint if I had to wait in the ER next to someone who had been impaled, and while one would hope that this kind of injury would grant you an immediate admission to the hospital, I do vividly remember a particularly horrifying anecdote that a doctor I used to work with once told me about a former patient of his. The guy had come into the ER, waited patiently for a few hours until his name was finally called, and only THEN revealed that he had A 10″ KITCHEN KNIFE LODGED IN HIS GODDAMN BACK. Shudder.

Miraculously, when I finally arrived at the ER on Saturday, it was completely empty – completely! – which meant that all of my neurotic planning had been for naught. Plus, I didn’t even have to have my eye stitched, although I did have to have it surgically glued together and bandaged with an unsightly, Nelly-circa-2003 steri-strip that I have to keep on my eyelid for a full week.

In closing, this experience taught me two important lessons: one, that I shouldn’t pick up a dog who is in the throes of a blind fury, and two, that I shouldn’t worry trouble until trouble is barfing into her Kate Spade tote next to me.

If I Drop Dead, My Obituary Will Be Terrible

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of true crime. I’m currently watching the premiere episode of a 6-part miniseries on ID called “The Vanishing Women.” It’s about how six women all disappeared from the same small town in Ohio between 2014 and 2015. Four have been found dead, two are still missing, and the investigation into their disappearances is still ongoing.

As is the case with many of the true crime shows I love, this first episode begins with a scene in which three family members of Tiffany Sayres, one of the murdered women, fondly reminisce about her with tears in their eyes. They talk about how hard-working she was, how kind to animals. They all agree that she was never without her purse, which always contained a bottle of soda and a spare t-shirt. And while watching this depressing, exploitative, ghoulish conversation, all I could think was, “If I were to drop dead tonight, my obituary would be terrible.” I’ve been thinking about what it would say, and so far I’ve got this:

Caroline Nierman, a native New Yorker best known for her resemblance to John Goodman in photographs, died June 9, 2016, according to her family. She was 29. Nierman was born Caroline Nierman in May of 1987, and she aspired to use the stage name Saucy Goblin if she ever performed on stage. When she was 14, Nierman fell on a treadmill while paying rapt attention to an episode of ‘Say What Karaoke,’ and her right knee was never the same. 

Nierman attended a university in Scotland for three years. She spent the vast majority of her time in the United Kingdom outside of the classroom, either enjoying a local restaurant’s signature pancakes or sleeping. In 2008, she returned to New York City and took her first administrative job, which barely covered the rent on an unnecessarily expensive studio apartment that she insisted on moving to. While living alone, Nierman managed to rack up an impressive $4,000 of debt by using her credit card to pimp out an Ikea bed, which she loved like a child, and then ignoring the bills. 

While Nierman worked at a number of different companies over the course of her career, her proudest professional moment was when she was accused of locking a disturbed four year old into a room that had no lock on its door while she was working as a summer camp counselor in high school. Nierman could always be counted on to laugh at YouTube videos of people falling down, and she loved nothing more than catching up on The Daily Mail while curled up into the fetal position with earplugs in. 

Despite her shortcomings, Nierman spent her life loving and being loved by her endlessly supportive and hilarious family, who she was so attached to that she insisted on being picked up from 98% of the sleepovers she went on in her lifetime. She also miraculously managed to reel in the very definition of a catch when it came to her adored fiancé, who is now the sole parent of their delicious dog, Jack (Instagram: @JackieTheBean). 

There will be no funeral, as Nierman found funerals to be unbearably depressing. In lieu of gifts, please donate money to every single animal shelter and rescue organization in the world – seriously, all of them – or else Nierman will, in her own words, “haunt your sorry, callous ass until you’re withered and gray.” RIP. 

Phew. Glad that’s over with! Now back to my program.

 

Daily Aggravation 53: Public Denture Removal

The other day on the 6 train downtown, I sat across from a woman whose shrunken face and whopping height of 3’2″ made it obvious that she was 180 years old. Her eyes contained centuries of wisdom, but apparently, none of that wisdom pertained to how to act on a New York City subway.

At first, all she did was eat sunflower seeds – so many sunflower seeds. I was wondering what she was doing with the shells; they seemed to disappear as soon as she spat them out, which, quite honestly, I was thankful for. Then, I turned to my right, where I spotted a gaggle of young, Italian tourists all staring in the general direction of the old woman with their mouths agape. Clearly, something of note was going on with her –  and it turned out to be the most disgusting act I’ve ever seen on the subway (and I was born and raised here).

The old woman had removed her dentures, leaving a puckered, anus-like hole in place of the normal-looking mouth she’d just had, and was proceeding to suck and lick her dentures clean. I honestly didn’t even know what to do with myself besides continue to stare at her, trying to figure out how to make sense of this horrific display.

It was then that I caught the eye of a younger gentleman, who broke into a big grin and whispered to me, “Disgusting, just disgusting,” in a thick accent, referring to our friend, the immortal pig. Turning to my left, I saw that a middle-aged man was absolutely dying with silent laughter; tears were rolling down his face as he tried to contain himself. The Italian tourists got in on the fun, too, as did a beautiful young teenager who was, unfortunately, sitting right next to the old woman as she worked her dentures like this was her last meal for the next six months. We all grinned at each other, totally horrified but bonding through mutual disgust.

At long last, we arrived at my stop, and I got off the train, both utterly scarred and glowing with the satisfaction I get from having real, human interactions with strangers on the subway. We may have the weirdest people in the world living here, but damn, do I love this city.

 

Damnit, Cupid, So NOT OKAY: The OkCupid Trials, Date 2

Another guy that I met on OkCupid looked very promising from his online dating profile. It said that he was from Louisiana, he was a graphic designer, and he was tall and wore glasses. I was convinced that this was the guy for me. Then I met him.

In real life, he was gangly and awkward, like a male version of Olive Oyl, and his glasses were crooked. He was also, hands-down, the MOST BORING PERSON I’VE EVER MET. He was so boring that I briefly contemplated pretending to pass out/slide off of the banquette we were sitting on just so I could get taken away in an ambulance and not have to talk to him anymore.

Here’s a little anecdote from the hour-long date that really drives home how awful he was. At one point, over our ONE BEER, he asked me if I’d ever seen the movie “The Cove.” I hadn’t, simply because a movie about the systematic slaughter of adorable, innocent dolphins doesn’t appeal to me. I feel like I’ve seen it NOW, though, because when I told him I hadn’t seen it, he proceeded to give me a full recap of its plot that felt like it lasted roughly four times as long as the movie itself. I don’t know why he thought this was good date chat. I’m pretty sure that there isn’t a woman in the world who would find hearing about defenseless, majestic sea beasts being harpooned in the head to be a turn-on (okay, maybe Karla Homolka, but that’s it). Then again, he WAS on a dating website, so I don’t really know why I was so shocked by his social ineptitude.   

Towards the forty minute mark, I remember saying to him, “Well, I’m finished with my beer, so maybe we should wrap this up.” His response? “Well, I still have half of my beer to go.” I should’ve looked him dead in the eye right then and said, “You’re the most boring person I’ve ever met and speaking with you is less fun than having my toe chewed on by a wild rat,” but instead, I just weakly said, “Okay,” and sat there like a lump until he finally finished his beer.

After awkwardly waving goodbye to him the minute we set foot outside the bar, I speed-walked away and never looked back. He must have gotten the hint from my dead-eyed, forty-yard stare, because we never spoke again. Thankfully.

My New Friend, Miss Flourence!

I don’t have very many girlfriends at all, and most of the ones I *do* have don’t live in NYC (I’m talking to you, Samalie). The thing is, I can’t for the life of me figure out how to meet new girls. It’s not like I can go to a bar and pick up a friend there. That would be totally weird and like the beginning of a Lifetime movie in which I eventually end up wearing my new friend’s face and driving off of a cliff with her mom in my trunk or something.

Anyway, it’s because of my lack of girlfriends that I was super enthused when I received the following e-mail today (punctuation and capitalization intact):

Hello

I’m miss Flourence, interested in you and i wish to have you as my friend, for a friend is all about Respect, Admiration, love and passion. Also friendship is consist of sharing of ideas and planing together, i intend to send you my picture for you, if you reply me.

Thanks from Flourence.

I mean, how serendipitous is that? Miss Flourence intends to send me her picture for me if I reply her! This is huge! My only concern is that she and I disagree about whether or not a friend is all about passion. To me, that seems kind of like a sex thing, but maybe I just don’t know much about ladies. Also, I’m confused about the definition of ‘planing.’ I’m scared to death of heights, so if that’s Bratislavian code for ‘hang gliding,’ I’m not down. Fingers crossed, guys – fingers crossed.

 

 

Damnit, Cupid, SO NOT OK: The OkCupid Trials, Date 1

I first joined OkCupid back in December of 2009. Back then, I was working full time, I had my own apartment, and I was more of a developed adult than I am now. The only thing that was missing from my grown-up life was a boyfriend – so one night, I created an online dating profile, and the hits started coming in. 

By ‘hits,’ I definitely mean ‘weird messages from dudes who were clearly single for a reason.’ Every girl on OkCupid attracts a different sort of unsavory suitor. Mine can be described only as ‘gym-rat muscle heads with disproportionately shrunken heads,’ and there were definitely a bunch of messages from them, but there were also lots of cute guys to meet, so I started booking dates. 

I went out with around 10 guys the first month I was on the site. The first one seemed like a laugh riot online, but when we met up in person, I was startled by the fact that he had an unnaturally shiny, red face and an incredibly high-pitched lady’s voice. Seeing how I have a deep voice for a woman, it was deeply unnerving to be on a date with a guy who spoke in a higher octave than me. We went to McSorley’s, where I was forced to squeeze into a seat right next to the wood-burning stove or whatever that thing is. Predictably, I managed to lean against said maybe-stove and give myself a third degree burn on my tender, fleshy bicep. Date foul, for sure. We said goodbye on the subway and I’m pretty sure he gave me a high-five to end the night, which suited me just fine, except for the fact that his hand was simultaneously clammy, cold and smaller than mine. 

Café con Lechery

An old friend reminded me tonight of a rather disturbing thing that happened to me in a Starbucks when I was a teenager. I had been waiting innocently at the bar for my coffee, and I’d asked the barista for whipped cream on top of my drink. Overhearing my request, an older man who was also waiting for his drink leaned over to me and said, with a lecherous arch of his eyebrow and a twinkle in his eye, “So, you like your fat whipped?”

That’s right: he was trying to confirm whether or not I did, indeed, “like my fat whipped.” I’m pretty sure that the reason I had blocked this memory out until tonight was because WHAT WHO SAYS THAT. I mean, think about it. In one measly little sentence, this peculiar creep managed to be sexually inappropriate, socially inappropriate AND to make a reference to my FAT, for Christ’s sake! I’m pretty sure the words, “Well, I never!” came out of my mouth in response, mostly because I talk like an old-timey schoolmarm when I feel threatened.

Retrospectively, though? Thanks for the laugh, you greasy pervert, you. Thanks for the laugh.