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Happy Stabbiversary!
June 3, 2009 11:37 AM   Subscribe

Fourteen years ago I was stabbed in the throat.
posted by william_boot (47 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
There are a lot of essays on the theme out there.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:43 AM on June 3, 2009


It just goes to show you can't be too careful.
posted by Krrrlson at 11:45 AM on June 3, 2009 [14 favorites]


Some Wolf Eyes might be right up his alley.
posted by porn in the woods at 11:45 AM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Good to see that Kreider's still alive. His comic (which is excellent) hasn't been updated in two months. I was beginning to wonder.
posted by echo target at 11:48 AM on June 3, 2009


Previously.
I'm really glad tim is getting recognition in mainstream circles. His cartoons and writing were basically the best things about the baltimore city paper back when i lived up there.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:49 AM on June 3, 2009


At first I thought it was pretty good writing, then the more I thought about it the more I realized I really just like that Ray Bradbury story he references, and mines, and then rehashes with a shimmy and a curt phrase. Like Lear with a lisp.
posted by plexi at 11:49 AM on June 3, 2009


And why not a fucking awesome, stabbity wolf shirt? Nothing says, "Fuck you death, you're a vapid little prick and are no longer welcome in my custom van" like a wolf shirt.
posted by Mister_A at 11:50 AM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Was anyone else disappointed that the essay didn't mention why he got stabbed?
posted by clockworkjoe at 11:52 AM on June 3, 2009 [8 favorites]


Thanks.
posted by geekyguy at 11:53 AM on June 3, 2009


The thing that always bothers me about these types of essays, whether they be about stabbiversaries or triumphs against disease or whatever, is that they dismiss the idea that the petty squabbles -- the yelling in traffic, the worry over bills, the fear of accident -- aren't legitimate parts of the human experience. Sure, it seems like it'd be nice to live our lives as if we were all in perpetual "bonus rounds," but without the major pains and minor irritants, it'd just be one long, lobotomized pile of fluff.
posted by xingcat at 11:56 AM on June 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


Joe Beese, "stabbiversary" is pulled right from the article.
posted by zerokey at 11:58 AM on June 3, 2009


Speaking of reviews of shirts with wolves on them....
posted by blue_beetle at 11:58 AM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


clockworkjoe: "Was anyone else disappointed that the essay didn't mention why he got stabbed?"

He apparently wrote a graphic novel about being sick of telling the story.
posted by Plutor at 12:01 PM on June 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Joe Beese, "stabbiversary" is pulled right from the article.

Indeed -- I'm sure he meant flagged as "fantastic post".
posted by Perplexity at 12:01 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Which we already linked to once before. Wild.
posted by Plutor at 12:02 PM on June 3, 2009


Oops. I forgot about the good flags.
posted by zerokey at 12:02 PM on June 3, 2009


And 15 years later I metaphorically stabbed my readers in the face with an icepick of sappyness.
posted by delmoi at 12:04 PM on June 3, 2009


The point is that after my unsuccessful murder I wasn’t unhappy for an entire year.

This reminds me of something my wife told me she read in a book by someone whose name I can't remember (oh yeah, bow before my expertise). Apparently, some study was done asking people who were engaged what it would be like to be left at the altar and the unanimous reply was "worst thing in the world," but when people who had been left at the altar were asked the question, they described it as "the best thing that could have happened to me." Point being that when we are happy after a tragedy or just plain bad event, we are super at reinterpreting that event as having cause the happiness, or something. I didn't actually read it. I hear this all the time though, in terms of "cancer saved my marriage" and stuff like that.
posted by arcticwoman at 12:05 PM on June 3, 2009


QUITE A FEW YEARS AGO I WAS KICKED IN THE THROAT
posted by Dr-Baa at 12:06 PM on June 3, 2009 [6 favorites]


He apparently wrote a graphic novel about being sick of telling the story.

Oh dear god. Well. It was saved by the top-right panel on the second page.
posted by delmoi at 12:08 PM on June 3, 2009


I got stabbed in the throat too!
Well actually I didn't, I just wanted a misleading lede (heh!) to get you to listen to my philosophical musings that you would have ignored had I laid it out plainly. For example if my lede was: "I'm going to satirize/snark on this article", I'm sure no one would have read this far at all. At least now I captured an (albeit) unwilling audience. If I seem to be repeating the same theme with different words, well that's just to empahsize my point that I always do something like this on my snarkiversary.

I think I hit upon all the annoying features of that article.
I'm still feel sorry for him that he got stabbed in the first place though and I will check out his comics since people seem to recommend it (but I'll skip his blog)

posted by forforf at 12:09 PM on June 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


I think that if I was the one telling this story, people would say things like, "Well, I can see why they wanted to stab you." just to be clever. Makes me glad I haven't been stabbed in the throat.
posted by stavrogin at 12:19 PM on June 3, 2009


For whatever reason, I experienced a small, and shorter-lived version of that euphoric great-to-be-alive feeling after coming out of anesthesia after knee surgery.

It's also possible to get to a better personal place through reflection and choice. After seeing some friends struggle with illness or other calamities, and watching our parents struggle with old age and illness, my wife and I have managed to disconnect a bit from the rat-race, and to make work and hassles take a back seat to friends, family and good times.

It doesn't always require a near-death experience.
posted by Artful Codger at 12:19 PM on June 3, 2009


Kreider doesn't mention that he got stabbed while trying to find the deathbed of Gustav Hafson, author of the book Full Metal Jacket was based on.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:27 PM on June 3, 2009


When I read the title I thought "hey I wonder if Tim Kreider ever mentioned the details of his throat-stabbing." And indeed it was him.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:32 PM on June 3, 2009


That's true. But the thing about near-death experiences is that they resonate deep down inside of you. Through reflection and learning you can achieve enlightenment of a sort, but it might take years of practice before you're totally living the life (so to speak), without conscious effort. One traffic accident or cancer scare or botched mugging can do the same thing instantly, because those experiences work on an unconscious level. But on the other hand, the problem with temporary enlightenment is that doesn't last, like Kreider said. So maybe the reflection and choice path is the best one after all.

I knew a guy who had been robbed at gunpoint once, and he'd never shut up about it. Every few days or weeks he'd find some way of working his experience into the conversation, telling us different versions of the story with so many amazingly vivid first-hand details that I began to wonder if he was embellishing the memory by making stuff up. And he was never happy. Reading Kreider's column today makes me wonder if the guy would have been happier if he had been shot. Maybe surviving an even worse situation would have allowed him to process his feelings and move on.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:39 PM on June 3, 2009


Tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of Raymond K. Hessel's life. His breakfast will taste better than any meal you and I have ever tasted.
posted by meowzilla at 12:42 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


After I was in the shelling that killed my parents, I woke up in a hospital. Freezing cold. (There was no heat available; it was January, and Sarajevo is in the mountains.) I felt like crap. I'd been in a coma and had kind of "forgotten" that my parents had been killed (momentarily) - I'd been conscious for long enough to witness it. I remembered soon enough. I was told my house was largely destroyed. All of the property my family owned was gone. I was still trapped in a city surrounded by genocidal murderers shelling down on it from the mountains. I was, like most Sarajevans, close to starvation, dirty, sick and always getting sicker - cold, hunger and depression will do that to you. Some parts of the nightmare that caused suffering the most defy explanation . . . I'm a bit of a clean freak and you've got no idea what a lack of water or toilet paper of laundry will do to you, mentally . . . but I'd rather starve than lack those things again. As the rest of the world was pretty unconcerned with helping us, the future was without even a tiny bit of anything to look forward to. Death, at that point, would have been a kind of nice release. And I don't say that flippantly.

So how did I feel when I could get out of the hospital bed from my coma and walk (no cars or public transport!) without appropriate clothes, through the snow and bitter wind to somewhere I could stay?

Utterly euphoric, glowingly positive, ecstatic.

Given the situation, this was an insane response. I appreciate the fact that - despite Tim's world offering much more than simple doom after his stabbing - he's realized what a short-lived and essentially meaningless feeling it is that he experienced. Great article.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 12:49 PM on June 3, 2009 [29 favorites]


He apparently wrote a graphic novel about being sick of telling the story.

I enjoy how his response to being sick of telling the story is to construct a comic called "The Stabbing Story" that doesn't actually tell the story at all. That is irony done properly.

posted by Uther Bentrazor at 1:02 PM on June 3, 2009



This reminds me of something my wife told me she read in a book by someone whose name I can't remember (oh yeah, bow before my expertise)... when we are happy after a tragedy or just plain bad event, we are super at reinterpreting that event as having cause the happiness, or something. I didn't actually read it. I hear this all the time though, in terms of "cancer saved my marriage" and stuff like that.

Stumbling On Happiness?
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 1:29 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fourteen years ago I totally stabbed this dude in the throat. I can't remember why I did it, but ever since then I've been waiting for the gratitude that comes along with suddenly feeling like your fears have been washed away. No matter - I don't stab people in the throat for the acclaim, but rather for the feeling of having made someone's life just a little bit brighter at the end of it all. And also for the money they were generally refusing to give to me moments before all that messy stabbing business gets started. Anyway, where was I...

Ah, yes. That particular throat stabbing, the one fourteen years ago, well... I just don't think about it all that much, to be honest. Though I know his life was enriched by it, and certainly my own was as well. Maybe it just seems premature to be celebrating now - I mean, the big fifteen anniversary is just a year away.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:36 PM on June 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


(In all honesty, though, the idea of being stabbed scares the bejeezus out of me, and I'm pretty fearless about physical danger otherwise.)
posted by Navelgazer at 1:43 PM on June 3, 2009


He apparently wrote a graphic novel about being sick of telling the story.

I enjoy how his response to being sick of telling the story is to construct a comic called "The Stabbing Story" that doesn't actually tell the story at all. That is irony done properly.


And then continuously write about getting stabbed in the neck without ever saying why. Boy is he sick of talking about it.
posted by dead cousin ted at 1:44 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


foxy_hedgehog: yep, that's the one.
posted by arcticwoman at 1:47 PM on June 3, 2009


The Stabbing Story: http://www.urbanitebaltimore.com/pdf/stabbingstory_1_0808.pdf
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:02 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


An opposing viewpoint, perhaps:

My brother used to play ice hockey until he got a second concussion and had to give it up.

At a game in New Jersey, he was checked to the ice and someone from the other team kicked him under his chin. Skate blades are sharp, and there was lots of blood. Luckily, he just needed compression and stitches. An inch lower and that kid would have cut my brother's carotid and he'd have died.

No one was sure how badly he was hurt. One of the parents from the other team was pissed my brother's injury was tying up the game. In my life, I don't think I've ever come closer to stabbing someone in the throat than on that day.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:04 PM on June 3, 2009


There's also a period afterwward where you feel a bit invulnerable. Having survived violent circumstances you forget mundane dangers - traffic, slipping, etc. This is somewhat dangerous.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:32 PM on June 3, 2009


At nights we patrolled as usual--more dangerous than it used to
be, because the Fascist trenches were better manned and they had grown more
alert; they had scattered tin cans just outside their wire and used to open up
with the machine-guns when they heard a clank. In the daytime we sniped from no
man's land. By crawling a hundred yards you could get to a ditch, hidden by tall
grasses, which commanded a gap in the Fascist parapet. We had set up a
rifle-rest in the ditch. If you waited long enough you generally saw a
khaki-clad figure slip hurriedly across the gap. I had several shots. I don't
know whether I hit anyone--it is most unlikely; I am a very poor shot with a
rifle. But it was rather fun, the Fascists did not know where the shots were
coming from, and I made sure I would get one of them sooner or later. However,
the dog it was that died--a Fascist sniper got me instead. I had been about ten
days at the front when it happened. The whole experience of being hit by a
bullet is very interesting and I think it is worth describing in detail.


(George Orwell on being shot in the neck, from Homage To Catalonia. I love that description of the experience as being "very interesting". Majestic understatement.)
posted by WPW at 4:11 PM on June 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


Tim Kreider is great.
posted by flatluigi at 6:17 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I know intellectually that all the urgent, pressing items on our mental lists — taxes, car repairs, our careers, the headlines — are so much idiot noise, and that what matters is spending time with people you love.

Yeah, but he still realizes that you've still got to handle all that idiot noise or your life will quickly descend into such a bad state that you won't be able to spend any time with the people you love.

Maybe the lesson is to deal with the idiot noise without obsessing over it.
posted by eye of newt at 8:34 PM on June 3, 2009


Point being that when we are happy after a tragedy or just plain bad event, we are super at reinterpreting that event as having cause the happiness, or something. I didn't actually read it. I hear this all the time though, in terms of "cancer saved my marriage" and stuff like that.

In the book Stumbling Upon Happiness, Daniel Gilbert talks about the paradox that people are often better at dealing with the big crises, like cancer or a terrible life-changing accident or whatever, than they are at dealing with ordinary low-level stress. Apparently it has something to do with these psychological defense mechanisms we have, that lead us to conclusions like, "Cancer was the best thing that ever happened to me because it really clarified my priorities." But the crisis has to reach a certain level to trigger the defenses.
posted by not that girl at 9:51 PM on June 3, 2009


Ouch.
posted by Michael Leung at 11:17 PM on June 3, 2009


"Nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future."
— Chris McCandless, letter to Ron Franz, quoted by Jon Krakauer in Into the Wild
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:51 AM on June 4, 2009


Try a shotgun to the head during a bank job, the resultant euphoria of having survived it, loved it, and then the creeping fear that comes years later that catches you off guard and puts you in a cold sweat whenever you're in a vaguely vulnerable situation. The drama hasn't played out in its myriad consequences yet (or maybe it's just my own personal experience of having survived wanton homicidal violence).

Good night.
posted by a non e mouse at 6:21 AM on June 4, 2009


I survived a crazy Dukes of Hazard style car crash and was high on life for about a week. Things turned pretty gloomy after that. I don't recommend this method of introspection. At all.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 7:45 AM on June 4, 2009


A few years ago, over the span of a few months, the following people died:

My step-grandfather (suicide)*
My uncle (bone-marrow cancer)*
My great aunt (old age)
My father (alcoholism)
My best friend (suicide)
My grandfather (old age)
The unborn baby I was carrying (fate? luck? grace? who knows)*

The ones with the asterisks all happened ON THE SAME DAY. That was a bad day.

Anyway, these events, which culminated with the death of my father, were so painful and wrenching that I walked around in a stupor most of the time. I felt like an onion, with layers of what I previously (and erroneously) thought of as "my life" peeled away one after the other, finally leaving just a pale, smelly, tear-inducing core.

When the spate of death finally ceased, my life was changed utterly. I was free in a way that I did not know was possible. I quit my job, moved from my city, went back to school for a degree in the "helping professions," got married, and started raising bees and vegetables. My experiences in 2004 did not result in me never getting annoyed by mundane events, but it did absolutely impress upon me that we have but one brief moment on this earth and if we are not trying to live by our own lights as best we can, we are criminally wasting our time. I think what happened to me because of all this was that my motto for life became "Why not try?" Because we really, essentially, have nothing to lose.
posted by staggering termagant at 5:56 AM on June 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here's the tale of the time I was almost decapitated whilst sitting in the bathtub.
posted by Artw at 11:45 AM on June 16, 2009


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