Rock Bottom

Even though I’m now a fifth year senior and in a new relationship navigating mishaps and humiliation left and right, I’ve been neglecting proper blog documentation by watering down the amassing tragedies as being not quite tragic enough to write about yet.  And sorta because I forgot about this blog for about a year…  But mostly the watering down thing.  Mostly the watering down thing, that is, until this past weekend, when a tragedy so pathetic, so utterly lame, occurred, that I could no longer ignore my duty to the web.

If you read my last post, you already have a hint.  But, let’s be honest, you didn’t.  So buckle up.

I’ve spent a lot of time in college trying to evolve myself from a closet YouTuber to a Pro-fessional Videographer gal.  It’s taken some time for me to learn the jargon of my trade (or how to escape conversation fast enough before people find out I haven’t) and to develop my technical skills, but I’m getting there.  One of my latest duties-to-learn has been the glamorous world of location scouting, which actually sucks ass.

So, anyway.  My teammate, Alex (aka “Cobb”), and I had been in talks with a local musician for about two months to make her a music video.  Indoor locations were out because bureaucracy is the devil (hear, hear!), so we decided to find a spot in the mountains surrounding Boonetown.  The plan was to find someplace with a waterfall where we could film without any casualties.  Taking a few suggestions from Alex’s brother, we resolved first and foremost to scope out the “Bertha” of waterfalls: Trash Can Falls.  (Did that joke hit?  It’s supposed to be about having a crappy name.  Oh shoot, I should have gone for trashy!  Something like “Marguerite.”)

Starting the car to leave for the Marguerite of waterfalls went well enough, but not much else.  Due to causes entirely unrelated to our chronic irresponsibility and inadequacy as human beings, we were sort of in a rush because it was sort of the day before the shoot.  Partway there, it began to rain, plus Alex was driving like a blind animal, so we were lucky to even make it to the site alive to begin with.  After that, we got onto the trail and I was forced into keeping guard while he took a leak in the forest, also like a blind animal, which was pleasant.  Raindrops and pee were crashing down all around me, but I still felt hopeful that my dreams for the day wouldn’t.

It was a short path, but a wee bit treacherous.  The rainfall (and urine) did not help the cause, as the trail was already dominated by puddles and muck.  A little ways into the trek, Alex pointed down a steep semi-trail/semi-dropoff toward a huge rocky platform and said, “what about that?”  I looked at it for about two seconds before definitively knowing that it was not going to work.  But I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, so I tried to say it delicately.  “That is not going to happen, Alex.”  “But–” he began.  “No. We are not f***ing doing that,” I stated politely.

He laughed, probably, or got tensed up and sad (what’s the difference, am I right?!), and abandoned his post to finish the trail.  When we made it to the top, we saw a few collegiate hooligans in swimsuits, hanging around, drinking beers, and then jumping intoxicated off of a 15 foot rock face into murky construction-site-puddle-opaque waters.  For a second, I worried that I was going to have to jump off of it to impress Alex.  I had already gotten out of it the last time I visited by having mother nature pouring out of my uterus into a pad that would have exploded up with water like a giant turd in my pants if I had jumped in.  But this time, there was no such pad.  Every piece of me was saying, “I don’t want to do this,” but, if he was bold enough to do it, I had appearances and my own pride to keep up with, and I was going to have to do it.  He watched them and, to my surprise declared, “that is a horrible idea.”  This meant a) that I was off the hook, and b) that I would have to prove myself in some other way.

We spent a few minutes watching our intoxicated peers climb up the rock, say they didn’t want to do it, and then get peer pressured into doing it by their friends, and somehow not die.  (That’s the thing–at some of these waterfalls, people actually have died.  They really have.  And yet…here we all were.)  I decided I’d get my pride by jumping off of a diving board into a big pool or something later.  It felt great to know that I would never put myself in a situation like that, willingly jumping into a murky waterfall pool in the mountains.  In a lot of ways, I was superior to all of them for being so wise.

Turning back, Alex motioned toward the initial spot once again.  I still knew it was a terrible idea, but since our first scout had been an utter failure up to this point, and because I needed to redeem myself for being a total wiener for being too scared to jump off of Trash Can Falls, I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt and explore it.

Phone at the ready to snap some pictures of the spot, professionalism was coursing through my veins.  We climbed down some treacherous tree roots and rocks before we came to a clearing of sorts–a plain, gently sloped, gigantic rock face bordering the stream.  The hardest of the trail was behind us.  Eager to impress and show off my adventurousness, I took the lead and crossed down toward the –WHOOP.

Shit!  Damn it!  Arms flailing, I searched for something to hold on to.  There’s nothing to hold onto!  Ahh!!  I thought.  Then, for the 14th time or so in the past two years that I’ve wondered it, I wondered if I was about to die.  Am I about to die?  This is so embarrassing.  Aaaand yep, that’s the edge.  Wellp, guess this is the–


And that’s when I hit it.  Rock bottom.  (…How’d that one land?  Eh, a literal rock bottom? Hey-oh!)  (No, but actually, I fell into a gorge.)


Photo used without permission from Thomas Fore. Edited by Alex Cobb.  [Circle: me, rectangle: phone.]

There were no alligators.  There were no deep river rapids.  I had landed in a shallow section of water less than a foot deep full of rocks, and at its most treacherous, litter and algae.  My bones were not broken, which kinda pissed me off.  I had literally just fallen into a ravine.  I deserved some battle wounds besides a bump on my shin and 5 scratches on my knee.  How else was I supposed to make people give me attention?  Boobs?  I’m too ashamed of my body!  But anyway, despite the intact bones, it actually did hurt and I was a little shaken.  But I still stood back up, much like a firefighter who rises from a pile of rubble after a building collapses around her, and gathered my bearings.  I looked up to Alex, expecting him to ask if I was okay.  “Where’s your phone?!” he yelled.  Dammit, Cobb.

There’s a saying about how what goes up must come down (haven’t heard of it? oh, I’m not surprised, oh ho ho *adjusts glasses pretentiously*), and the terrible truth of that is that if you say the phrase backwards you get to the point that I had fallen down and was going to have to climb back up.  And so, with reluctant nerves, I took off my $5 traction-less cheetah print shoes (a professional location scout staple), threw them back up to Alex, and began my return climb, amidst opposition.

I imagine that I looked something like Bear Grylls accomplishing another great feat of survival, but if I didn’t, I don’t want to know.

When I made it back out, I was feeling pretty happy about being alive.  But once that wore off I was able to go back to my normal hateful self and look at the world with eyes full of darkness because, of all of the things I thought would mess up the scout, slipping down a rock face into a river because I was wearing bad shoes while it was raining and I was on a mossy rock wasn’t one of them.  It was totally unexpected.

My iPhone was lost in the accident.  The location scout was a failure.  I was no longer superior to the trash can jumpers.  I had dirt in my butt.

But at least I had proved myself.

I felt a little better because when we got back to the car, Alex realized that he had forgotten to turn it off and left it running the whole time.  Again.  He laid out a cardboard slab for me to sit on, enjoying it all way too much, and we began our return journey.  I confided in him that the only thing that would make it better was making a funny Facebook status about it.

The status was an abysmal failure, bringing in less than a third of the likes of my post prior about shrimp with lobster sauce.

So here we are.  The blog.  Y’all thought you could get away with not caring.  I will not go without my honor, and a second chance at garnering sympathy and attention.  The writer in me is back, and she is ready to tell her story.  Even when you don’t want to hear it…

One day, I’ll return my cheetah print shoes to Target and use the $5 to boost my post, so that you HAVE to see it!  Then you’ll see!  Then you’ll all see!  And scroll by!  And I will be out of $5 and a nice pair of shoes!  Even though they’re hard to match to clothing anyway!  But, I digress.  The point is:  I’m back.  Stick around, sweet readers.

P.S.  Shoutout to Alex Cobb, for a temporary replacement phone, and to Mr. Darius Hillard, for always encouraging me to keep up the plight with this blog.


How I Lost Credibility as a Dogsitter

My beloved readers,

I know that it is only post two, but it has always been my habit to either sprint as fast as a cheetah (a disabled cheetah) (with its legs tied up) (…and dead) (edit: as fast as a cheetah in theory) away from my feelings or dive headfirst into them so much so that the other person turns into a cheetah.  So while you may be taken aback by my already addressing you as beloved, know that I could not help it.  Because last week, something startling and altogether wonderful happened: people read this.  Like…more than three of you!  Both unruly youths and, thanks to my pop, the middle-aged–a demographic I was born to grow into.  It was truly delightful.  And it touched me, in a very overdramatic way, so I had no choice but to whip out the ultimate endearing adjective as early as post two.  But let us begin.

We are gathered here today to reflect upon an incident whose one year anniversary passed just a few days ago.  It was summer.  I was 19 years old, brimming with youth and naivety, and on the lookout for any way to get out of getting a real job.  So when a family friend offered me the opportunity to watch her dog for two weeks, I pounced on it.  The duties were simple enough: walk him, feed him, take him outside to crap.  Why was this job taken by me and not a 10 year old?  That’s not important.  I loved the lady, I’d watched her dog before, and I was thrilled to be doing it again.

The family had just moved into a new house, so before they set off for Mexico, the mom showed me around the new place.  She loved her dog, Boston, with all of her heart, so her priorities went beyond the basics of dogsitting and housecare.  She just wanted me to spend as much time with him as possible.  So she gave me all the deats.  She showed me how to work the cable, said I could record shows, and even told me I could bring a friend over and spend the night.  She was like a second mother to me, except we weren’t as close and she was less perverse than my real mom.  Anyhow, there was a hammock in the back and Reese’s Cups in a bowl on the counter, and it was something of a paradise.

I settled into my new role quickly.  Almost alarmingly quickly.  I would be a good identity theft.  I went there multiple times a day to take care of Boston, taking him on long walks, bagging his crap, and scratching his neck until my arm was tired.  I pampered that dog.  But I also pampered myself.  I watched the Food Network many a times in that home on a couch that had instantly become my favorite.  Boston was the best to talk to during my watching sprees.  I’d ask him what he thought about Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and when I looked into his eyes, I swear I saw nothing, but sometimes that is the best thing you can ask for in a companion.  I sang a lot too, practicing horrendous renditions of songs from Grease, but Boston never told me to shut up.  Partially because he wasn’t actually physically capable of doing so, but more so because we were homies.  Every now and then my friend Nicole came over too, and we’d hang out with Boston outside; her standing in the yard, me hogging the hammock, and Boston neglected in the corner.  We deemed it our vacation home, and between that hammock and those Reese’s Cups, I was living the dream.


Now, there was also a neighbor who’d drop by named Jean or something.  I can’t remember if that was her name.  Also if it was, I should probably protect it, so we’ll call her Bean.  Anyway, Bean was going through a hard time, so seeing Boston cheered her up and kept her busy.  She fed him in the morning and sometimes at night even though I was supposed to, but she always left a note, so it wasn’t a big deal.  I think we were both giving him treats too but I’m not sure how many.  Needless to say, Boston was eating good!  Ha-ha-ha!  He threw up once or twice by the fireplace but I cleaned it up no harm no foul.  Or so.  I thought.

Anyway, things with dogsitting Boston were going splendidly.  I was getting a lot of exercise from walking him, all the extra vitamin D had improved my disposition, and the house was in tip-top shape.  I’d been keeping up with watering the plants, bringing in the mail, and locking up.  The only questionable thing that I’d done was some damage to the Reese’s supply.  But other than that, I was really proud of myself.  Two weeks had passed right on by, and I had only a morning and an afternoon left.  What could possibly fall apart in an afternoon?  The answer is everything, my friends.  Everything.

I remember that day like you remember accidentally finding a bee in your soda (also happened to me, age 12).  I walked into the house and let Boston out.  This was my last visit before the family came home.  I straightened up the things on the table, watered the plants one last time, and then did my usual daily house check to make sure that Boston hadn’t pooped or peed anywhere.

And that is when I found it.

I went upstairs and looked into the bonus room.  Remember how cute it was that Boston was eating well?  Well, as it turns out, he was not eating well.  He was eating something very unwell.  Because there were orange stains everywhere.  Like, Six.  Orange.  Stains.  Vomit stains.  Oh no…  And why were they stains?  Oh no!!  Because he ate it again.  How did he even eat this much?!  I kept thinking to myself.  And that’s when I realized.  The bastard hadn’t eaten that much.  He just threw what he did eat up, and then he ate it back up, and then the fricking meatloaf moved to a new spot where he threw that up again.  SIX TIMES.  But ohh, no no no, that’s not all.  I guess being sick enough to puke everywhere was not enough to curb Boston’s appetite.  Because he did not just eat the vomit.  No, my friends, that just wouldn’t do.  He ate the carpet.  HE ATE AN ACTUAL HOLE, IN THE ACTUAL CARPET.  You can clean vomit with, I don’t know, Windex or some crap.  YOU CANNOT WINDEX AN ACTUAL HOLE IN AN ACTUAL CARPET.


So I did what any responsible dogsitter would do.  I freaked the piss-shit out.  I ran downstairs, and looked under the sink frantically for some kind of a stain remover, and I grabbed the best looking thing and a bunch of paper towels and started scrubbing at those vomit stains with a purpose.  Bean, I thought.  This was all at the hands of Bean.  I didn’t want to hate her but I needed somewhere to direct my panic and rage.  How am I going to tell them?!  The paper towels were no match for the caliber of puke stain and kept flaking off into little bits of balled up damp paper, now too stained orange, with flecks of dog treat in them.  A metaphor for my life.  “Why now…why today?  IT WAS THE LAST DAY!”  I shuttled between the paper towels and the vomit stains, not knowing exactly when they’d be home.  Time was of the essence.  I made my way over to the gaping hole in the carpet, and like a jackass started putting the pieces of carpet shrapnel back into the hole like it would fill it up.  “WHY, BOSTON, WHY???”  The panic crept back into me as I realized I still had to alert the family.  Just pretend…  “No, Melanie, you have too much integrity for that.”  The panic rose as I thought about monetary compensation.  Would I have to pay for this?  Why didn’t I get a real job?!  I’ll tell the son…I’ll text the son…  I often turn to comedy in times of turmoil, half on purpose, half on accident, without much discretion.  So, what I sent was a panicked description of a scene of war and pleads for mercy, in all caps.  After I sent it, I thought, I’m a moron, and continued to panic.  “Why did I eat all the Reese’s Cups…Is this because of the Reese’s Cups?!” I called to the sky, remorseful, but not that remorseful.

Once I finally realized that there was nothing else that could be done about the hole, I inspected every corner of every single other room like no dogsitter has ever inspected before, to my knowledge.  The verdict: everywhere else was clear.  At least the damage was limited to one room, I thought.  I then went downstairs and looked to the back door.  Claw marks.  Boston had been scratching the whole time.  I looked into his eyes and knew it wasn’t his fault–he had tried to escape with dignity.  IT WAS BEAN’S FAULT!  “It wasn’t Bean’s fault.”  It was no one’s fault.  And yet, I knew this was the end of my vacation home dream world.  Defeated, I straightened up the downstairs as best as I could to distract from the fact that a vomit bomb had exploded in the bonus room just upstairs, and then I said my farewells to Boston for the last time.  “It’s been real, buddy.  I hope you feel better.”  He died from fiber poisoning later that night.  (Jk.  He was fine.)

Denoument:  In the end of it all, my non-consensual second mother was very understanding, and repeatedly stressed the fact that it wasn’t my fault, but I never dogsat for the family again.  I wasn’t paid as much as usual that summer, but since I didn’t have to pay for the carpet, I felt it a blessing.  Plus the son said he laughed at the text.  So, even though in one short incident, my credibility not only as a dogsitter, but also as a housesitter, was catapulted into the fiery pits of hell, that was a win.

But anyway, it’s late and I’m tired, so let’s wrap this up.  Morals and lessons.  What did I learn?  Panic, Windex, and laughter are life’s cure-all’s.  And never trust a Bean.

I know it’s been a long one, so thanks for sticking around.

Yours in tragedy,


P.S. I didn’t forget about the gnat.

The Beginning of an Era

Hello dear reader, whomever you may be–whether you got here by accident, on purpose, or through some terrible fate like being a member of my family and having a sense of personal obligation to click on this: welcome.

It is 10:52 pm on a Thursday night and I sit on my living room sofa with a hair clip jabbing into the back of my skull and a gnat flying around my head.  The hair clip is small, centered against a part of the cranium closer to the neck that juts in, not too forceful–a mere nuisance.  The gnat, however, is much more than that.  It is a violent creature that will no doubt push me to the extant of my humanity as the night progresses on.  I do not know why she is here.  I only know that she is.  (I use the pronoun “she” because I sexed the gnat before beginning this blog post.  Determining the sex of small insects is one of my many rare talents.)  Perhaps we will forge a friendship.

Is this how I thought we would get here?  No.  I always imagined some sort of jazzy, pivotal event kickstarting the beginning of my blog.  Some current romantic encounter gone astray.  Or at least something with a household appliance catching on fire.  But instead, I have dedicated the first paragraph of my entrance into the blogosphere with a soliloquy to a gnat, and a misuse of the word soliloquy.  (The gnat has by now abandoned me.  Three hours of unwanted company and now that I need her she’s gone.  Typical gnat antics.  The truth is that she probably died.  They have a short life span which, as I grow older, I find myself envying.  No college…no post collegiate career…no IMPENDINGLY DOOMED MARRIAGE!  The gnat is back.)  Not the entrance I’d hoped, but an entrance nonetheless.

Accidentally Tragic has been on my to-do list for a number of years now.  I have a lot of stories that I’ve wanted to do something with, but hadn’t quite determined what yet.  But as I sat here to-night I decided it was time to determine.  So here we are.

I’d like to preface my tales with a few things.  First, I promise that the stories you find here will be true.  Any and all embellishment, I will own up to.  (In the earlier introduction, all is true except that I sexed the gnat.  Sadly, I do not know how to determine the sex of small insects.  I hope that we can move on now that this is out in the air.)  I know JK Rowling said that just because it’s in your head doesn’t mean it isn’t real or something, but I think that’s bullcrap.  I want my real stories to be real, so you’ll get real.

Next: I am a freak of nature, and a disaster.  But I also think I’m really awesome.  I’m writing a whole blog about myself, duh.  So the inevitably, horrendously, self-deprecating humor and odes to death: don’t mind those.  I am about to turn 21 and have big plans of turning to alcohol to deal with my crippling insecurity and emotional instability.  Ask anyone who isn’t close to me; I emulate responsibility.

And finally, I’ll get down to the realy-reals and give you my reason for doing this.  Other than wanting to capture and share some stuff that I think is pretty hilarious with people who hopefully will think it is kind of funny too, it’s because I think that embarrassment is exactly that thing which makes us human.  Yeah, yeah, there’s love and all that crap, but embarrassment is the key to it all.  Think about it–people who truly love you, it’s hard to get embarrassed around.  Unless they’re trying to embarrass you, which in itself is the ultimate sign of love.  Embarrassment keeps us humble and questioning.  There’s nothing good about being 100% certain 100% of the time.  And embarrassment–it happens to everyone.  Whether they disclose their experiences when it’s time to share or not: every single person in the free world has at some point or another been embarrassed.  It’s just genuinely a part of who we are.

And finally finally, I’m posting and sharing and celebrating these embarrassments because I’m a firm believer that being able to laugh at your failures makes you invincible.  Embarrassment teaches us to laugh at ourselves, and at each other, and to not take everything so seriously.  And in a world of so many messes, it’s just great not to take things seriously sometimes.

So, join me on what promises to be a probably too personal, somewhat interesting, and at least good-distraction-from-what-you’re-supposed-to-be-doing-y journey.  It’ll be sort of like reading into someone’s diary without them ever knowing that you did.  Disturbing, but twistedly satisfying.  Let me satisfy you.

Yours truly,