Jen, I am so sorry. It has been too long since we’ve gotten to catch up! I’ve been dropping the ball as a friend lately. But I guess that’s just what happens when your entire torso is trapped within the jaws of one of the world’s greatest apex predators, the American alligator.
Oh, I’m hanging in there! I’m honestly lucky; everyone has been so great about it. Ever since this swamp monster sunk its two-and-a-half-inch long teeth into my skin, a bunch of friends have been dropping off deli sandwiches every night. It’s been so nice not to worry about dinner! I’m also taking a few days off work to pull myself back together, which is much needed. I don’t care if it’s the right or left — if I can find just ONE foot floating around, I’ll be happy.
So, how are you? Are you still having that weird thing with your hairstylist? Because as I’m looking at it now, the feathering seems a lot better—
Girl, it’s okay! I asked! I can’t let my alligator attack consume me. And sometimes, I get tired of talking about it. How many different ways can I say I’m bummed that my skin is getting shredded and the darkness is closin—
Wow, there I go monopolizing the conversation again.
Oh, don’t worry! That was just a death roll. It’s how alligators kill their prey. Did you see the way it clamped down and spun me around like a pig on a spit? It’s trying to dismember and drown me at the same time. It’s mortifying when it happens in front of people like this. I got death rolled while on a Zoom with my boss this week; she had NO idea what to say. I think I ruined her whole morning.
Right now, I’m working to handle being mauled by a thrashing, ten-foot murder monster in a healthy way. I’m even reading this great book right now called Grappling with Your Gator. It’s such a good reminder that everyone gets eaten by an alligator eventually and that, eventually, everyone gets over it.
But anyway, tell me about your promotion! I’m sorry, I should have called you back sooner. My lungs ended up getting punctured, and it took me forever to figure out that I can still talk if I take teeny tiny little bre—
Oh, my God. Jen, I am so, so sorry. Here you are, just stopping by for a friendly chat, and instead, you have to watch me swirl around in a swampy spin cycle and then cough up all this mud and blood and shrimp. Honestly, I’m glad that both of my orbital lobes are shattered because I couldn’t bear to see what your face looks like right now!
It’s just so frustrating that I haven’t bounced back from this yet. I’m trying to compare myself to other people, and I keep coming up short. You know Erin from Accounting? She was gator bait twice last year, and she still never missed a night of Singles Mario Kart. You would never know from talking to her, only when she turned to the side and you saw that little loose flap of skull.
I barely even know what to say to people when they ask me how I’m holding up. On the one hand, I want to change the subject and talk about that John Wayne Gacy docuseries or the new scone place I hope to try. On the other hand, I don’t have another hand because it was eaten by a modern-day dinosaur.
Honestly, if I don’t buck up and get over this soon, I’m just going to start lying to people. I know all about emotional labor, okay? I refuse to burden my friends and loved ones with my trauma just because they specifically asked me about it.
Anyway, I’m so sorry about all this. I have been such a lousy friend lately, and here you are anyway, helping me blow my nose after a 1,000-pound crocodilian throws me around like a tilt-a-whirl. And I promise, if your arm ever gets sliced and diced by a gator one day, I’ll be there to hold your hand. It might be in a little hospital cooler, but I’ll still hold it.
Actually, speaking of: my leg just went a little downstream. Can you grab it? It’s just right there, next to the log? See that turtle? Just to the right of it? It’s the leg? The one that’s bleeding? The bleeding leg right there? If you could just—
Oop. Gator got it.