Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Hanging Tree

I finally reached adulthood on my eighth birthday. The years leading up to that momentous occasion were difficult and trying times but I had finally made it. In honor of that auspicious event, I climbed a mesquite tree in our front yard and tied a rope to one of the branches. After fashioning a reasonable facsimile of a hangman’s noose, I placed the rope around my neck and hanged myself. I dangled there in the tree by the driveway contemplating the mounting pressure in my head. It felt as if my eyes were going to pop out of their sockets. Then, the rope slipped several inches. My feet were still a few feet off the ground and the tree limb that had been within easy grabbing distance was now effectively out of reach.

As they say, first impressions are usually wrong. A perfect example would be the driver of a car that happened to be cruising down the street in front of our house on the day of my first successful hanging. He jumped to the mistaken conclusion that rescue services were in order. As he came upon the scene of a kid hanging by the neck, in a tree, with arms and legs flailing, he couldn’t have known that I had discovered the secret to hanging for short periods of time with no significant risk. While it is true that my insufficiently developed knot tying skills had put me in a pickle, other tree branches and the tree’s trunk were well within reach. By the time my Good Samaritan exited his vehicle, I was running like a scalded dog, terrified that all of this attention might result in the old man finding me out.

In case you are wondering, it’s all about how you place the rope around your neck. The knot should go in front rather than the side or the back. Circus performers use that technique. I don’t recommend it unless you are outlandishly stupid, in which case it might be the best thing for you.

Up to that point, hanging myself was not the most idiotic thing that I had ever done. In the years to come, it would barely register alongside other increasingly sophisticated shenanigans. I chalk it all up to a profoundly impaired sense of self-preservation as well as poor judgment, all of which fall under the heading of “dumb.” The scope of my dumbness must be broken down into categories and collated into sub-segregated piles in order to keep them straight. This little pile belongs in the “Tardfest” category. I’ll file it away later.

This story is all about behavioral abnormalities resulting in gratuitous risk taking. Along those lines, I am amazed at the number of people I’ve met over the years who can’t believe they are still alive. They plan, and I use that term loosely, their lives up to the mid thirties or early forties and then panic when it becomes apparent that perhaps they will not go down in a blaze of glory but will likely waste away with bedsores and pneumonia instead. Many of them reach middle age in a state of befuddlement. I have a theory about that but my New Years Resolution is to stop posting encyclopedic tomes, so it will have to wait until my next post.


Anonymous rachel said...

I'm supprised you're still alive today with all the crazy bs you've done.

10:50 PM, January 24, 2007  
Blogger Scott from Oregon said...

"knot hung well in front..."

"brain deprived..."

Anything else we should know?

11:21 PM, January 24, 2007  
Blogger Cheesy said...

Holy MARY AND JOE! Your 'rents must have been gray by age 30...You don't still try these things do you?? lol...If so.. Jill can come be my dog!

11:44 PM, January 24, 2007  
Blogger skinnylittleblonde said...

LOl, Great Post Slag!
I could see you scrambling away from the 'scene of the crime.' So, did you learn this skill just to freak people out? really now? LOL.

Life & life perspective and it's relationship to risk-taking is interesting. Sometimes I take risks for the thrill & sometimes for the challenge or sense of accomplishment.

I remember the insurance guy telling me that 'people who sky-dive don't value their lives, they're risk-takers & their insurance costs more.' And I wondered if insurance was more for firemen, policemen, repossessors & other risk-takers.

1:01 AM, January 25, 2007  
Blogger Glamourpuss said...

Hmmm, interesting stuff and it's got me thinking. I've always been a risk taker and have done some phenomally stupid and dangerous things in my time. A result of not valuing myself sufficiently having been raised by parents who told and showed me time after time that I was unworthy of care, or the bold, courageous, often fearless behaviour of someone with a powerful sense of faith in herself?

No idea. But life's been pretty colourful as a result.


5:02 AM, January 25, 2007  
Blogger Judith said...

8 years old? Wow.. Im still all fairly newish to this parent thing and I can see my youngest will most likely have my heart cross ways 24/7 shes already that much of a risk taker and does not take one blind bit of notice nor heed to dangers, I dont think Im cut out for this parenting lark, Im like a cross between tweak and butters in south park when it comes to crazy stuff that kids get up to... Congrats on getting to the age you are by the way!

5:28 AM, January 25, 2007  
Blogger Jazz said...

Many of them reach middle age in a state of befuddlement.

That would be me.

8:20 AM, January 25, 2007  
Blogger Pull Up A Chair said...

Glad you weren't my kid... All grown up at 8 and ready to terrify the neighbors. As for the post you left on my BLOG -- It's obvious that Andy hates the troops.

10:50 AM, January 25, 2007  
Blogger Kara said...

Well that's a stupid resolution. Encyclopedias are like the best investment a person can make!

11:17 AM, January 25, 2007  
Blogger Mystic Wing said...

Hmmm. And you still manage to string together coherent sentences.

"Not the most idiotic thing I'd ever done..."

Can't wait to here what makes this pale by comparison.

When I had kids, I was terrified because I imagined they would do the same things I did. Fortunately, they turned out to be sane, reasonable people.

1:02 PM, January 25, 2007  
Blogger slaghammer said...

Hi Rachet [sic], it’s because I’m like a house fly, too quick for the swatter.

Hey Scott from Oregon, a stellar job of cherry picking but you missed one obvious amalgam, “anal fixated reprobate with clitoris envy and trans-species identity confusion. Yeah, didn’t catch that one did you? While it might appear there’s a Madonna-Whore complex lurking around in there somewhere, it was just a Freudian slip.

Cheesy, I got bored with hanging myself fairly quickly, especially as I put on a few pounds sometime around my ninth birthday. After I left home, I had an agreement with my dear old mom that I would not tell her about my injuries unless she caught me hobbling in a cast or whatever. She still lives with a higher than normal fear of losing a son to some accident or another.

Hey Skinny, I was, and still am obsessed with knowing all about everything. Hanging myself was about experimentation and understanding limitations in a mechanical and physiological sense. It was also about adrenaline and endorphins and manipulation of the pharmacy that is the endocrine system. Of course, my thought processes weren’t that elaborate at eight years old, but you know what I mean. It was all part of a trend towards higher forms of risk and self abuse.

Glamourpuss, that is exactly what I’m talking about. Other than the obvious risk of injury or death, there’s nothing inherently wrong with risky behavior, regardless of whether it is induced by genetic or environmental factors. I think the “nurture gone awry” scenario is most often responsible for pushing it way over the edge.

Judith, all they need is lots of love, positive attention and an occasional ass warping done with reason and consistency (Ass warping optional of course). In my humble opinion, that is what tips the balance between raising a brave and happy little human being or bailing an ungrateful reprobate out of jail for the ninth time just so they can steal your car, burn your house down and end up on the evening news. Of course you can do everything right and still raise a hellion but I think cause and effect is undeniable in that sense.

Hi Jazz, yep, right there with you.

Hey Pull Up a Chair, can I call you PUaC? You should be very, very, very glad I was not your kid. I had an uncle back then (passed on) who started calling me “Senator” sometime around my ninth birthday. I took it as a compliment but eventually figured out that it was more from his frustration of dealing with an obsessive-compulsive bookworm with Napoleon Complex. I got many vicious beatings from an equally un-amused father-unit. Btw, I had no idea Andy was a subversive.

Kara, that’s exactly what the salesman told my mother in ~1965. Thank Zeus she fell for it hook, line and sinker.

Hi Mystic Wing, I’m sure they’ve done more than you have been told. In any case, I imagine they got their sanity and reason from you.

5:35 PM, January 25, 2007  
Blogger mist1 said...

I can't believe that I'm still alive.

7:39 PM, January 25, 2007  
Blogger slaghammer said...

Hi Mist1, there’s lots of people out there who have a hard time believing it, did everything that could be done, short of suicide, to make survival unlikely but still hanging around. Ironic.

9:27 PM, January 25, 2007  
Blogger suze said...

Oh my God! Well, not mine actually, but you get the gist I'm sure. I've drowned three times, and fractured my skull twice, back twice and broken a few other bits and pieces but nothing compares to this!!! Michael Hutchence, lead singer of INXS, (big Australian Rock group) tried this type of asphyxiation with his belt on the back of a hotel room door, whilst masturbating and killed himself. I hope that hasn't renewed your interest in nooses (or is it neeces) as an adult.

11:59 PM, January 25, 2007  
Blogger Orhan Kahn said...

I'm certenly speechless. Good effort :)

1:41 AM, January 26, 2007  
Blogger bianconero said...

hello!! yours blog amazing one is a lot much!!!i'm italian and also I have a blog: mine blog is a lot supplied: there are of the games, a chat, a forum, of statistics, the images of the juve, the news of the juve, of the link, a guestbook and you can write an email to me with a box that rova in bottom to the blog! you come to visit it, votes it and you write a comment. if you will make it you would make me a greatest favor! hello!!!!!

4:33 AM, January 26, 2007  
Blogger N@ Lauzon said...

Hanging yourself. The only hang-up I ever got was by my underwear on a coathook.

4:36 PM, January 26, 2007  
Blogger slaghammer said...

Hi Suze, thanks for dropping by. Considering your list of injuries, it sounds like you belong in the club. My hanging spree was really nothing more than practice… honing the craft if you know what I mean. I received my first broken bone at six years old and a doosie of an amputation at fourteen but I didn’t start breaking bones in earnest until I was maybe nineteen. Regarding the belt trick, aka erotic asphyxiation or “scarfing,” the last thing I need when I’m trying to make sweet love down by the fire is somebody choking my ass. For me, the concept falls somewhere between a “Dirty Sanchez” and a “Cleveland Steamer” in order of desirability.

Hey Orhan, thanks.

Ciao Bianconero, non parlo italiano. Se, certamente lascerei un commento al vostro blog.

Hi n@ lauzon, your underwear? I think I’ve heard of that practice, it’s called erotic ass-wedgeification or something like that? I don’t understand it but I support your right to do whatever it takes to get the job done. ;-)

8:31 PM, January 26, 2007  
Blogger Hammer said...

Looking back, I cringe at my own stupid escapades but I also put a stop to one that were ten times worse. I only gamble in Vegas these days.

6:44 AM, January 27, 2007  
Blogger Anne said...

I so enjoy your stories, and so glad you survived to tell them. :)

7:21 PM, January 27, 2007  
Blogger mm said...

Well that was bloody stupid!

10:27 PM, January 27, 2007  
Blogger slaghammer said...

Hey Hammer, you’re breaking the rules, you can’t start a story and then not finish it. The rules must be observed, I want to know all about the ten times worse event.

Hi Anne, or should I address you as “Queenie,” Being alive is almost always a good thing.

Hi mm, you might want to lead off with a less dramatic assessment such as “irresponsible.” As the story gets much worse, you don’t want to end up having to recycle the word stupid with a modifier, i.e., “double stupid” or worse, “stupid stupid.” In any case, as long as you use the words “bloody” or “frightfully” you can call me anything you please. I just can’t get enough of those British idioms. ;-)

1:33 AM, January 28, 2007  
Blogger Hammer said...

lol ok, when I was about 9 these kids in my neighborhood were filling garbage bags with those big cans of refill butane to try to make balloon ride. They were doing it right next to my back fence and wouldn't listen when I told them to stop.

Right before they lit the first garbage bag I turned the hose on em
before they launched themselves into orbit or burned up on the launch pad.

4:45 AM, January 29, 2007  
Blogger slaghammer said...

Hammer, the correct protocol is to wait until they erupt into flames before turning the hose on them. You see, only a few short seconds could mean the difference between having angry parents claiming you’ve injured their children, or being deemed a hero, receiving ten thousand dollars from Donald Trump and getting a standing ovation at a Presidential State of the Union Address, as was illustrated in the recent “Subway Superman” case. ;-)

11:01 AM, January 29, 2007  
Blogger photo blog girl said...

So true! I have done some DUMB things. It's a miracle I lived past twenty.

4:04 PM, January 29, 2007  
Blogger slaghammer said...

Hi Photo Blog Girl, I guess as long as you’re still alive, you made the right choice when it counted most.

8:22 PM, January 29, 2007  
Blogger Hammer said...

I tagged you: meme

3:56 PM, January 30, 2007  
Anonymous gledwood said...

Hi that blue dogga-sourus reminds me of that critter in the Disney/whatever cartoon about the dinosaur that's always chasing that nut. Gets frozen in a cube of ice with the nut. Nut thaws off before critter does ...

Well it reminds me of that.

And don't ask how I got rambling into THAT one. I'm not sure my self.

6:28 PM, January 30, 2007  
Anonymous starlet said...

very interesting. how many other ways have you tried to kill yourself now?

9:08 PM, January 30, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymrs. said...

I have been reading for a few months and everything you write about...I relive it. You're good.

9:16 PM, January 30, 2007  
Blogger slaghammer said...

Hey Hammer, the meme tag will have to be postponed for a short period of time. I’m in the middle of a work crunch, a massive pottery firing, and an upcoming blog post that is eating up the few scraps of spare time I have left. I can tell you this though; I’m having a hard time remembering toys that I had at that age. Most of the things I played with were scavenged or pilfered junk with the occasional kite, rubber band airplanes and of course the old man’s tools. I know there has to be more, I’ll brain storm on that one.

Hi Gledwood, I’ve got to see that movie. Btw, in case you haven’t noticed, rambling is pretty much what I do with this blog, so ramble away anytime you feel like it.

Hi Starlet, I’ve never tried to kill myself, that would be a pathetic cry for help. Instead, I engaged in activities that, statistically speaking, should have done me in. That is also a cry for help, just not so pathetic. I blame it all on failed potty training.

Hi Anonymrs., I hope you relive them in the psychological and not the physical sense. I barely made it through all of that shit myself, I wouldn’t wish on anybody else. In any case, thank you for your kind words.

12:31 AM, January 31, 2007  
Blogger choochoo said...

children have their very own science, which is nothing like grown-up science.
When I was a kid, I didn't see anything wrong with me and a friend having a nice bbq under his fathers truck. The dad, on the other hand, completely freaked out, just because we happened to be under the gastank. The flames weren't even touching it. It was completely safe. Jeez.

5:17 AM, January 31, 2007  
Blogger slaghammer said...

Hi Choochoo, parents in general do have a history of overreaction which is why I perfected the art of subterfuge at a very early age.

2:32 PM, January 31, 2007  
Blogger David said...

To say this is a good post is likev saying peanut butter is worth trying at least once.

3:28 PM, January 31, 2007  
Blogger slaghammer said...

Hi David, come to think of it, this post was sticking to the roof of my mouth until I added a little jelly to it. Jelly fixes everything you know.

6:20 PM, January 31, 2007  
Blogger Pato Garcia said...

nice images

10:48 PM, January 31, 2007  
Anonymous the photographer said...

11:51 PM, January 31, 2007  
Blogger slaghammer said...

Hi Pato, thanks for dropping by.

12:54 AM, February 02, 2007  
Blogger Dream said...

Oddly enough, your post made sense to me.
And you don't have to be middle aged before you reach "a state of befuddlement".
Im already there, always have been really and im only 18.

3:32 PM, February 03, 2007  
Blogger whenn said...

Hectic! Your stories are very entertaining.

3:11 PM, February 04, 2007  
Blogger Finwenluin said...


Te escribo porque no puedes dejar de ver mi blog, en donde he posteado un artículo acerca de la voz más aguda del mundo.




3:20 PM, February 04, 2007  
Blogger slaghammer said...

Hi Dream, the scourge of befuddlement does not discriminate against age, national origin, sex or current state of evolution.

Hi Whenn, hectic is right, I use that word a lot. Thanks for dropping by.

Estoy apesadumbrado, pero mis habilidades de lengua españolas se limitan a un motor de la traducción del Internet. Gracias por caer cerca sin embargo.

12:30 AM, February 05, 2007  
Blogger Kara said...

Ok...I'm officially creeped out by the hanging Skeletor. I'm here to demand change. Well...I was here. Now I have to go. But my message stays.

6:58 PM, February 05, 2007  
Blogger People in the Sun said...

When I was eight I climbed out of my 4th floor bedroom and jumped through my parents' bedroom window. I got a smack for that. Funny, I only did it because I was afraid that when my parents find out I accidentally locked myself in my room they'd smack me.

12:13 AM, February 06, 2007  
Blogger Judith said...

Hi Slaggy just stopped by to let you know youve won ;O)

8:10 AM, February 06, 2007  
Blogger slaghammer said...

Hi Kara, Skeletor, ha, there is no change for you, just more of the same.

Hi People, four stories will definitely get the job done. If the quantum theory of multverses (multiple universes) is true, you probably fell to your death in an infinite number of realities.

Hi Judith, yay! I won.

7:36 PM, February 07, 2007  

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