The abbreviated version is that some friends and I were swimming late at night in a Las Vegas hotel. I dove, spectacularly, from the edge of the water and flew easily 45 feet in midair, and at least 2. When I finally let gravity win, my angle of approach was perfect, my splash polite, but I had underestimated the distance of the far wall. I am used to swimming in a 50-meter pool, and this was, if I recall correctly, a hot tub. My face and the wall embraced like old friends, or more accurately, like a water balloon filled with blood and cartilage hugging a slab of concrete.
"Oops," was my first clear thought, followed closely by "Uh-oh." And finally, once I had time to weigh the situation fully, "Oh no, the source of my powers!"
Now, you may be thinking, "How does any of this explain why you took off your pants in the waiting room of the ER and cried in that windowsill?" Well, there are two answers, really. One is that in my rush to get to the hospital while still hoping to appear presentable, I put on jeans but failed to take off my sopping wet swimsuit first. And the second is that I was very very drunk.
Which I would have thought was obvious.
Now, nobody likes wearing wet jeans, so I hope that progression makes a little more sense now. As for the crying, I'd expect a doctor to know that emotions are heightened by alcohol, and I refuse to apologize for preparing myself for the worst-case scenario. It may not have been obvious to you, but behind the swelling scabs and blood-soaked towel, I am very handsome. Some would say abusively so. I don't expect you to understand how catastrophic it would be for a handsome person to lose his handsomeness (how could you, with that sloping forehead, that ear hair?), but my whole identity and my entire life hinge on me being good-looking, forever. That's why, when we first met, instead of introducing myself like a normal person, I instead asked you through deep sobs who was going to love me now. See? Not so weird after all.
That Part Where I Requested to Be Carried to My Room
There's no way you could have known this at the time, but I am a big fan of blood staying inside bodies. Loose blood makes me very anxious, particularly when it is my own. While some people have called it a "crippling phobia," I prefer to think of it as a "realistic understanding and respect for the value of life, goddammit." Everything about exposed blood looks and smells like a warning, and anyone who is comfortable ignoring that warning probably has a numb and calloused soul.
"We have traded in our instincts for money."