I Survived!: True Stories of Human Survival Vol. 2

May 6, 2010

Welcome back! It’s been a couple of  (long) weeks but here it is at last: the next volume in what is hoped to be a series for the ages.

Brace yourself for the unkempt horror that is: I Survived! V.2

Also recommended:
I Survived! Vol. 1

Above is the last known photo of the field recording equipment still alive.

Jason Brune
While capturing some field recordings for his upcoming concept album A Gaian Distress Call of Distress, Jason lost his footing on an incline when the rain-weakened ground gave way below him, sending him tumbling 120 feet to the gravel road below.

Severely wounded and unable to move, Brune briefly wondered as to the condition of the recording equipment, which he had borrowed (without permission) from a friend (who was currently out of town). His answer came less than second later when the reel-to-reel joined him on the gravel, smashing itself (and most of Brune’s arm) into hundreds of pieces.

Brune attempted to retrieve his cell phone from his pocket, but the severity of the pain prevented him from doing anything more than microscopically shifting his weight and vomiting, somewhat less microscopically.

Realizing that he would die if he didn’t receive medical attention quickly, Jason began to pray. The relative painlessness of the silent prayer was soon disrupted. An unlikely answer arrived in the form of a speeding Lexus, which ran over both of his exposed legs before screeching to a halt.

Alerted by the unexpected speed bump, Mike O’Connor (and his wife) sprang into action. (Beth waited in the car as instructed.) Said O’Connor: “At first glance it seemed pretty serious. But after some closer inspection, we only found some light scuffs on the rocker panel.”

The O’Connors brought Greil to the emergency room, putting him in the care of some of the finest self-medicators in northern California.

O’Connor: “I’m sure the trunk wasn’t the comfiest, what with our roll of chicken wire and some lovely loose agate from our earlier rock hunting in there, but I’ve got a genuine leather interior.”

Adds Betty: “We would have sent him something during his recovery, but Hallmark doesn’t carry a ‘Hope You Recover from Your Horrific Injuries and Agate Cuts’ card, and I won’t buy off-brand.”

Jason has yet to speak negatively about this experience, something doctors attribute to his “indomitable spirit” and his “struggles with re-learning the English language.”

This artist's depiction of Longwell's ill-fated jump fails on every conceivable level.

Jake Longwell
Longwell, a self-styled “extreme” sportsman, found himself in very different sort of “extreme” situation one fateful August afternoon, when his “routine” 30,000-foot skydive became anything but routine.

Says Jake: “When I saw all the quotation marks, I should have known something was wrong.”

Something was indeed “wrong” wrong.

At 5,000 feet, Jake’s parachute fails to open. He deploys his backup at 1,500 feet but it becomes tangled in the main chute. Jake heads toward the ground at nearly 80 mph, his descent only slightly slowed by his tangled chutes and his screams of “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!”

Longwell’s body slams into the ground at a very “extreme” speed of 85 miles per hour, instantly pulverizing most of his “extremities.” Fearing that it will be several hours before his baked pilot even realizes that he’s missing, Jake consults his mental map and determines that he will have to crawl nearly 12 agonizing miles to reach the nearest town.

His progress is slow at first, as Longwell uses his chin to pull himself forward and his sole unbroken toe to help push. Sixteen hours later, Longwell suffers a setback when his soul patch blows out, dropping his usable chin surface by nearly one-third.

Running dangerously low on MTN Dew, Longwell regroups and gets his bearings, doing some quick mental arithmetic with his mental abacus. After mentally sliding the beads this way and that, Jake angrily hurls the mental abacus across the brain room and mindreaches for his mental digital calculator.

He is not happy with the answer. (5318008.) Jake determines that his rate of travel is around 18 inches per minute. He attempts to pick up the pace.

He presses on, using the 1.5 degree downslope to his advantage and attempts to make up for lost time by keeping his lapses into unconsciousness to less than 30 minutes per “spell.”

Around the 30-hour mark, Longwell gets another break as he find some relatively smooth pavement on which to drag himself along. No longer held up by uneven terrain and underbrush, he begins to pick up speed, occasionally troubled by irate ground squirrels and local teens, who pelt him with taunts, beer bottles and inane, indecipherable chattering.

At this time of this writing, Jake has still not reached the nearest town.



  1. Approximately 15 years ago, a Sunday insert (the fun and hip Tropic Magazine) in the Miami Herald issued a challenge/contest for readers to submit a short story in the style of humorist Dave Barry. It was an abysmal failure. No one (no one!) came close. I am inclined to think that if the same challenge were issued today (this time in the style of CLT), the results would be the same. With sentences like the following:

    “…uses his chin to pull himself forward and his sole unbroken toe to help push. Sixteen hours later, Longwell suffers a setback when his soul patch blows out, dropping his usable chin surface by nearly one-third” and “quick mental arithmetic with his mental abacus. After mentally sliding the beads this way and that, Jake angrily hurls the mental abacus across the brain room and mindreaches for his mental digital calculator”

    …puts you in the same category of the highly esteemed Tropic Magazine and its highly esteemed writers (Sundays were so much FUN!). It has been 12 years since Tropic ceased publication but I remember most of the writers and many of the stories. So much so, I can still rattle off many of their names:

    Joel Achenbach
    Gene Weingarten
    Tom Schroeder
    Michelle Genz
    T.M. Shine
    Meg Laughlin
    Ran Henry
    and of course, Dave Barry

    Twelve years from now, I will recall your name as well. Your blog is the best thing to come along since Tropic Magazine and that is saying a lot.

    • Thanks so very much for the effusive compliments, e3h. This is all starting to go to my head, which really makes me wish I hadn’t purchased a fitted one.

      Either way, take that St. Petersburg Laff Riot insert! I have been rejected no less than 19 times, with the latest rejection arriving this morning. And I quote:

      Mr. CLT,

      While we appreciate your repeated submissions, we find ourselves unable to use your latest. As we have discussed before, your contributions nearly always fall outside our selection guidelines.

      For starters, to paraphrase Emperor Joseph II, there are too many words. We also have made the point before that certain subject matter is off-limits (this is a family paper) and that the f-word should not be used as a comma.

      Thanks again for your submission. Please reread our submission guidelines before forwarding another profanity-laced epic our way.

      Mike R. Thomason-Wilkesberne

      Dave Barry comparisons are very flattering. I think I can retire now.

  2. So poor Jason really had the whole Wyle E. Coyote experience huh? First the fall then the shit falling on you. Never any fun.

    I feel for Jake as well because excessive quotations have always got me into trouble. Especially when it’s mostly “legal,” “no one will die,” or “it’s a really easy prison to do time in.” I call bullshit. But I think you are probably playing against the table when jumping out of an airplane becomes routine. I’m half OCD anyway so I can dig a “routine” but “fuck that.”

    And lastly, honestly, I can’t get through a single sentence you write anymore without a chuckle, a chortle or sometimes a full guffaw. Really you’s a funny mother fucker man!

    • Jason had the whole thing, including that “walking on thin air until you look down” thing. It didn’t make it into the final article because the editors thought it would stretch believability.

      Things in quotes are the best things in the world. Like minumizing your addiction level by referring to your “drug habit.” Or speaking dismissively about last week’s “hit and run.” Air quotes definitely help.

      Thanks very much for the compliments, Scott. I’ll bet no one’s called Dave Barry a “funny mother fucker” yet. We could always be the first…

  3. Mr. CLT,

    Bravo once again. Your tales of the indomitable human spirit are extremely uplifting.

    I shall instruct all of the actors in my stable (as well as those in tending to my lawn, cleaning my pool and catering my mother’s day brunch) to read them at once and learn a thing or two about what it means to endure pain – rather than simply being the cause of it. (If you’ve seen a Ray Romano look-alike attempt to sing opera you now exactly what I mean).

    I wish I could convince my young actors to toss themselves under a Lexus. Not only would it provide them with valuable “sense memories” to draw upon when auditioning for Gap commercials but it might deter them from complaining when asked to perform simple tasks like servicing my Bentley, picking up my dry cleaning or being cast next to Mickey Rourke.

    (You never heard Peter Lawford complain if he was asked to make a costume change in a public washroom or accept a half-consumed bottle of whiskey in lieu of cash as compensation for entertaining at a children’s birthday party did you?)

    Inspiring tales and I shall put them to good use at almost real celebrities.

    With many thanks

    Peter Barneski

    • Please excuse my typo.

      I meant, “if you’ve seen a Ray Romano look-alike attempt to sing opera you KNOW exactly what I mean.”

      I also meant to write “….Picking up my Bentley, being cast next to my dry cleaning or servicing Mickey Rourke” but it reads fine the other way too.


    • Peter –

      Welcome back to the fine pages of Fancy Plans. Truly a pleasure to see a new, but somewhat familiar face.

      In all honesty, I have yet to see a Ray Romano look-alike do anything more than park my vehicle or check my coat. I do appreciate the fact that these articles will go on to do greater good/damage to a whole new generation of actors, when they’re not busy cleaning your mother, tending to your catering or brunching the lawn(?).

      As for your Lexus quandary, perhaps you could offer a bit part on the next season of Entourage to the first actor under the wheels. Reach full speed before you tell them to “Go!”

      Come to think of it, I’ve never heard Peter Lawford complain about anything. Well, he did say something about “being an errand boy, even in the afterlife” during one particularly lively seance, but I chalked that up to the inadequate candlelight and my repeated requests that he fetch my dry cleaning.

      Thanks for the crisply funny comment, Peter. And I think you’re right: “servicing Mickey Rourke” is the proper English.

  4. True story, whenever I see the word “unkempt” at the beginning of a post, I know I’m going to enjoy it. Not in a pleasant, “Hey guys, let’s all gather ’round the monitor and check out the LOLCATS!” kind of way, but still.

    Although both accounts are equally amazing, I have to say that Jake Longwell’s touched me on a personal level. (And yes, just so you are aware, I did notify the proper authorities.)

    The idea that he continued to persevere even after losing the use of both his extremities and flavor-saver (what will save his flavors now?), is a testament to his indomitable spirit and love of life.

    I guess it’s true what they say; some people talk about doing the dew, while others just go out there and “Do it”. With quotation marks.

    Mind-blowing stuff, CLT. As always, your brillian narrative more than makes up for the fact that my comment defies any and all logic.

  5. Deftly written CLT and as hilarious as it gets. Elizabeth is correct on all counts.

    Also, I had to groan as only recently I suffered an unfortunate soul patch accident myself…I can’t bring myself to talk about it.

    • Thanks very much, FJ. I am truly sorry to hear about the soul patch. It was one of the things I imagined I would really like about you, especially if it looked like I imagined it.

      When you want to talk, I’ll be here, entertaining some strange mental images.

  6. […] Capitalist F. Lion Tamer: The Bible: Fancy Plans Edition Volume 7 and I Survived: True Stories of Human Survival Vol. 2 […]

  7. I don’t mean to break character and even more so, ask for you to break yours, but are you a professional writer? This shit is so good and your blogs are awesome too.

    • To date, I am NOT a professional writer, RR. So far, I get paid in compliments, which is actually not that bad. Plus I have total creative control, which allows me to OCD myself into a corner frequently.

      Thanks very much for the compliments, RR. That’s what keeps me going.

  8. […] enjoying a full recovery, it’s… I Survived! Vol. 3. Be sure and check out Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 if you haven’t already. They’re worth every minute of your time and contained brutal […]

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