I Have Leprosy, And You Can Too!

Hi everyone! Your Faithful Correspondent here, covered in head-to-toe lesions. No, I’m not reporting from the Egypt of Moses and the Ten Plagues, just good old Chicago. Yes, it’s summer and I can’t show any leg, because I am disfigured. My good friend Mycobacterium leprae and I are just chilling, watching the girls in short skirts go by, feeling suicidal. Thankfully, according to my family physician, Dr. Google Health, advances in modern medical science have made “isolation of victims in “leper colonies” unnecessary.” Woohoo! This means I and my “disfiguring skin sores, nerve damage, and progressive debilitation” can still be the life of the party! What’s that? Your superhero-themed bash on Saturday is “canceled”? HAHA yeah right, you old trickster! I’ll be there, swaddled in mummy wrappings, as–wait for it–Leper Girl! Dun dun dun, aren’t I so deliciously Masque of the Red Death?

What’s that? You want to be a leper, too? Fabulous! Pull up an armchair, light another languorous cigarette (pff, lung cancer? leprosy will get you first!), and follow my easy step-by-step guide to becoming besties with M. Leprae.

1) Wake up one morning with itchy red bumps all over your legs and arms.
2) Test several theories. Allergies? Shaving irritation? Bed bugs? No? HELLS BELLS! Leprosy it is!
3) Run to the nearest pharmacy. Grab a kindly-looking, doctorish-seeming Indian man. Point to your arm and scream “HOW CAN I GET RID OF THIS?”
4) Self-conscious? Not anymore. Remember, every second you delay is another second the deadly virus eats away at your flesh.
5) Allow kindly, vaguely doctorish Indian man to lead you to the antihistamines and hydrocortisones. Sob quietly; buy whatever he places in your spotty, rotting hands.
6) Do not be alarmed if you lose a finger while purchasing Benadryl. This is a common side effect.
7) Take cold oatmeal baths several times a day. Look into the murky water and sob quietly over the wreckage of your life. Wow, if you bury your arms in the water, it looks like you don’t have any arms! … Oh wait.
8) Scream at your boyfriend. Helpful phrases: “YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND ME!” “THIS ISN’T NORMAL!” “WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME?” “I AM NOT BEAUTIFUL, STOP SAYING THAT!”
9) Perhaps now would be a good time to hire a maid. Ask her to rub aloe vera over your remaining limbs. Your boyfriend will not do it.
10) Sob quietly, and let the tears pour out of the cavities that once were your eyes.

(In all seriousness, Dr. Google, what is this horrible rash on my arms and legs and how can I get rid of it?!?)

Traumatizing Moments From My Past, Volume 3: Blood and Morality

It was Sammy, in the backyard, with a rock.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, my best friend Elsa and I got into a big argument over 3 pieces of gum. There were 2 yellow pieces. Fair enough, for there were 2 of us. But the argument got infinitely trickier when it came to the fascinating, elusive, delicious BLUE PIECE.

Who would get the blue piece? The unspoken question resonated dangerously between us. (Little kids are captivated by the most unnatural colors.) We vibed each other in the way that only children can, pretending not to care, shuffling our feet, and avoiding eye contact, while JEALOUSY AND RAGE SECRETLY CONSUMED US.

Before we could come up with a civil solution/feasible way to murder each other, a horrible message arrived. My baby brother Sammy had split my brother John’s head open with a rock. (This was the first of 3 similar incidents, but that’s not the point right now.) Elsa and I looked at each other with horror and rushed over to John’s side. We found him crumpled among the golden dried grasses of late summer. He looked up at us, pale and drawn, gasping out each word with incredible effort: “I…forgive…him…”

Wait, what?! Rewind.

Elsa and I looked at each other with horror and rushed over to John’s side. Elsa took one look at the geyser of blood spouting from his severed cranial nerve and fainted dead away. Choking on my own vomit, I tore a length of muslin from my dress and made a quick tourniquet.

“Johnny,” I said, binding his wound, “Johnny, look at me. Don’t leave me, Johnny. Ever since Ma and Pa died in the great blizzard of ’72, you’re all I’ve got.”

Wait, no. I swear I’m going to fire my fact-checker.

Elsa and I looked at each other with horror and rushed over to John’s side. He was bleeding pretty badly from his head, but he had the presence of mind to tell us how he put his hand up to his head, felt the moisture, and thought he was “sweating really badly!” (Ew.) Elsa and I looked at each other again with the solidarity that comes from great tragedy. We knew what we had to do.

As my father loaded John into the car to take him to the hospital (spoiler alert: he lived), we pressed something small and metallic into John’s hand. “We thought you should have this,” we whispered. The car drove away in a cloud of dust, taking our bleeding brother–and the stick of blue gum–with it, a boat against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

traumatizing moments from my past, volume 2: answer to the question, "tori, from whence stems your hatred of the Establishment?"

Once I worked at Forever 21.

This is how I felt every day, morning and evening, for a whole summer.

Oh, and my boss there did coke. THAT’S RIGHT, FOREVER 21, YOU SICK CORPORATION OF GREED, CHILD LABOR, AND NASTY CHEAP KNOCKOFFS, JAMIE (can’t remember her last name), THE SUMMER 2005 MANAGER OF THE FOREVER 21 ON STATE STREET IN CHICAGO, DID COKE. WITH ANOTHER EMPLOYEE. FIRE HER!!!!!!!!!
I think she had hair plugs, too.