Chapter 58 - July 10, 2012

When you have Traumatic Brain Injury, you spend a lot of time just sitting there, thinking.  Remember, don't think too much.  Anyway, I was in my parent's house sitting on the back patio when I noticed my little black puppy sitting in the garden.  He was about 30 feet from me.  I kept calling his name over and over again.  He just sat there.  I called him again and again.  He just sat there.  I threw a toy at him.  He just sat there.  Then I realized, it was my parent's black onyx sculpture of a cat.  I had been yelling at a black sculpture for 20 minutes.  I felt stupid.  I felt even more stupid when I looked over and saw my dog looking at me like, you young idiot.  I'm right here!

I would like to start out with a story.  There's a moral to this story.  Anyway, I was in the British Virgin Islands on a family vacation.  This is when I was young.  I wanted to go on a dive and they only had the afternoon of the next day to do a dive.  We went down to the dive center and they only had one dive available.  The dive available was a wreck dive.  Wreck of the Rhone.  It was 100 feet or so.  I had my dive license and I got certified in a swimming pool, 30 feet max.  I figured, eh, what's the difference?  30 feet, 100 feet.  Big deal, so I signed up for it.  I was way underqualified to go on this dive, plus I was alone.

The dive center said I needed to have a partner so they paired me up with a dive instructor.  I was to go with him.  We got to the site, took a small boat to the location.  It was real choppy, real windy.  Everyone was really anxious to go in.  The dive instructor yelled out, "All right, everyone get in.  The guy at the back of the boat by the engine, you go first."  He pointed at me.  I was nervous.  And he said, "Wait, hey you, wait for me when you get in."  It was all a bit disorganized.  Anyway, like the young idiot I was, I forgot to fill up my bouyancy vest and then I grabbed the weight belt next to me which belonged to probably a 300 pound man.  He yelled at me, "Hurry up!"  I just jumped in.  Next thing you know, there were bubbles all around me.  My ears were killing me.  So I held my nose to clear my ears (mind you this all happened in seconds).  Then my eyes started killing me.  The glass of the mask was against my face.  It hurt so much.  So what did I do?  Being the young idiot I was, I ripped off my mask.  Then I hit the bottom, 110 feet.  So, there I sat, 110 feet, no mask, thinking, OK, I'm dead.  But I didn't panic.  I held my nose and breathed out what little breath I had.  I took a little air from the tank. It was ok and then I took another.  Then I opened my eyes and looked around for my mask.  I found it eventually.  I put the mask on, cleared it, and then saw the instructor coming down the anchorline.  He grabbed me by the shoulders and he looked at me.  He gave me the universal, are you crazy?  We did the rest of the dive together.  Everyone kind of kept their distance from me.  Later, when I got on the boat, everyone was whispering and looking at me funny.  The dive instructor said, "Listen, you have mask-squeeze.  Your eyes look kind of funny.  I'm going to show you your eyes. Don't freak out, but your eyes are bulging and there's a little bruising."  Then, he said, "If you wake up in the morning and you have problems with your eyesight, I suggest you go to a doctor."  Well, the next morning I woke up and as I was brushing my teeth, I noticed my eyes were black and blue and read and there was no white.  And to top it off, I looked like the actor, Marty Feldman.  My eyes were bulging and sticking out.  I looked like a goldfish from hell.  I had bruising all around my face from the mask.  Well, after my mom freaked out, I decided to go out that night of course.  Remember, I was only about 16.  So I went out wearing some Ray Ban sunglasses.  You know, I was 16.  I wanted to meet some girls.  You know what it's like.  Anyway, every time I talked to a girl, she would say, "It's night.  What's with the sunglasses?"  I would take them off and of course they would run away.  I looked like the demon child from hell.  So, to summarize, the moral of the story is:  Don't panic.  Stay cool even if you look like a demon child from hell.

Forever hopeful.  Like my little black dog who sits under my wheelchair.  He's forever hopeful I'll try the hangersteak cooked medium rare in butter.  He's forever hopeful.  I'm forever hopeful.  When you have Traumatic Brain Injury, you have to be hopeful.  Remember, a few blogs ago I was hopeful to just walk over and get some water.  That's all.  Well, guess what!  I had my first glass of water the other day.  It only took me 3 years, but I did it.  Now, the next thing I'm working on is walking over there to get it.  I'm working on walking right now.  It's not easy, and it's a lot of work, but I have a new physical therapist who is really cool.  He's like a coach.  He keeps pushing me and it's what I need right now.  I'm using a device called an Up and Go.  It helps you learn how to walk.  It also helps me do exercises that will help me walk.  It's a really cool device.  Expensive, but cool.  I also ordered a power chair.  I keep calling it my electric chair, but I think that's something different.  Anyway, I'll use the power chair until I can walk.  I also am looking at a car that takes a power chair.  It's a cool car.  Just made for those in a wheelchair.

OK, now I'm going to make a couple more fashion confessions.  They are things I've always felt guilty about.  They are things that happened on fashion shoots.  Things I'm not proud of.

The first situation took place in the Bahamas.  I was working with a young girl.  She was great, but she was very new.  Anyway, I had to get a shot of a girl jumping off of a dock into the water.  The dock I chose was pretty high, but I said to the model, "The ladder's right there."  Anyway, the whole time I was talking to her she looked really nervous.  I just figured, you know, she was new, so she was a bit jittery.  Well, I backed up and said, "OK, now run and jump and act like you're having a great time."  She ran and she jumped and she went right to the bottom.  After a minute or so, I looked at my assistant and looked at the bottom, and said Holy Shit!  I threw everything down.  He did too, my assistant and we jumped in.  We swam to the bottom and brought her up and to the ladder.  I said, "Are you all right?"  She said, "I am now, thank you."  I said to her, "What happened?"  She said, "I can't swim."  I thought, my god, I've got to go back to flipping burgers.  This is crazy.  I said, "Why did you jump off?"  She said, "I just wanted to do a good job."  I felt bad.  We took the rest of the afternoon off.  P.S. The shot was great.

The other situation took place in Bermuda.  I used to love to do watershots.  You know, underwater, in the surf, in the rain, etc.  Well, anyway, I had to do a swimwear story.  There wasn't much to the location and I wanted to do something different so I looked around.  I noticed the waves were big that day, and they were crashing on the beach.  It was really cool, so I had the model stand in the impact zone.  I directed her to look relaxed as possible.  She was all into it.  The shots were working out great.  Then it happened.  A freak wave came.  I thought Oh my God.  A giant wave just hit her.  It knocked her down.  Her little string bikini which was a retro suit from the 70's exploded.  Her bottoms blew off and went to the left, and her top went to the right.  She went ass over tea kettle flying through the air.  She got washed up naked at my feet.  All I could do was look up to the sky and say thank you God.  There is a God after all.  Well, she was pissed.  The rest of the afternoon were all shots on the beach.  All the shots were wet, sandy, angry, sultry with an emphasis on angry.

That's it for now.  Remember when you're lying on your back for hours, it's good to remember things.  See you next week.  Love, B. Nice