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Cleansing Via Bed O' Nails

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Hello. My name is Chris. Some of you readers may know me from such experiences as "Do you smell something burning or is it just me?" parts 1 and 2, "Double Whammy!", and "more Fun with Hot Metal". This is a true story, as well as an experience story, for anyone who is interested. I'm not too sure where you would categorize this on BME, but we'll leave that up to Shannon and friends. I digress. Ah Yes. The story Starts off a few weeks ago with my partner in crime, John Whitby(see Above Stories).

John got an infection in his newly pierced conch, which I might add, was in no way the piercers or his own fault. He ignored it for a day and continued with his daily regimen of saline soaks, etc. The next day was worse, and he went to consult with our piercer buddies, Joel and Suzzane at Planet Three. They said that to give it another day and then seek help. The Next day it was swollen. And I mean SWOLLEN!! I've Never, nor Have the staff of Planet three, seen a body part swell that much. The normally thin cartilage area of the conch was a little more than half an inch thick(!) and red as a raspberry. Later that day he went home and puked his guts all over the bathroom. Later that night it was off to the emergency room.

While waiting for him to be seen I encountered some particularly rude and ignorant people. John had just rolled out of bed, and was dressed like so, You can't blame the poor guy for looking unkept. There was a group of southern Blacks*(see below) sitting not more than 15 feet from us making fun of John For his appearance quite openly and loud enough that we could hear every word. They couldn't see me, So I moved into position next to him to take some of the flak off of him. Now, I'm not what I would consider a heavily pierced individual. The fact that 7 of the 9 piercings I have is above the neck is beside the point.

These people started ripping on me like you wouldn't believe! Damn were they rude. I did what anyone in my position would do. I gave them the evil eye and made horrible jokes at their expense. What else can you say when you're being made fun of by a 300 pound teenager in a moo-moo with a hair-do that looks like a horse took a shit on her head, some guy trying to be cool with his one pant leg rolled up, green shirt w/ matching shoes, and a red leather baseball cap turned sideways. What made it worse was the fact that they seemed to be accompanied by their parents.

Well After all that bs, I was rather peeved and glad to go back with john to the examination room. We found out that he would need to be hospitalized for the next week or so. So started my week of hell. Now, Any moderately or heavily pierced individual can relate to me on this one. We All get shit, every single day. Day in and day out, incessant questioning and badgering. I get it more so than others, due ti the fact that Ilive in the bible belt of Georgia(I just go to school here, thank the gods) where the Gene pool is Stagnant and people don't get out that often. Usually, I can take it in stride, because it doesn't really bother me. But there are times when it DOES get to me.This week was one of those times.

Since John was in the hospital, I was his source for everything, including companionship, etc, etc. I spent almost every waking hour in that hospital, nd when not there out running errands.It was like the whole city had decided to have A "lets pick on the non normal looking guy" day. I was fucked with everyday in the hospital. The little kids on my street and their belligerent and ill educated brethren Fucked with me. The local Jarheads from the military base fucked with me. HEll, Even the hospital staff gave me attitude. I was at a breaking point, I was so upset I could kill.

Then I remembered something. My school, SCAD, or the Savannah College od Art and Design, Holds an annual festival called "Sidewalk Arts", where students compete in an anything goes Sidewalk Chalk Art competition. What better a place to try and communicate my pain and my anger, my views and my suffering to that ill mannered hoard of humanity that is known as Savannah, Georgia. What to do. What to Do. AHA! I knew just the thing. Performance Art. I gathered what little resources I had and went to home Depot to make my creation: An 8 foot by 2 1/2 foot bed of nails, and a box of large sized black binder clips.

The day arrived. John had been released a day prior to the event and had voiced his interest in participating, but come the next morning and He couldn't get out of bed. So Off to the event I went. After parking As close as I could, I clambered out of the car and retrieved my 2part bed from the trunk. I can tell you, some of the looks I got from people as I walked to the event, my beds attached to a length of chain on my shoulder, were thoroughly amusing.

I Set up at my assigned square with my chalk and set to work with it, usinhg some old tint brushes and water to make the chalk like paint. Having no plan, I started with two tribal-esque designs I have tattooed on both forearms. I outlined these in deep burgundy red and added licking tongues of flame to their tops. Next in the middle, I Painted the japanese kanji for "eternity" in white outlined in grey. Then in bold blue I wrote "yes, it does". At about 11 I mounted the first bed and sat ion it. I Took out my clamps and attached 3 to the skin on the tops of both hands, 4 to each Arm in a row, 2 to either side of my cheeks along the jawline, and a large on to my throat. And then I just say there. I've used the clamps before, and while uncomfortable and quite a bit painful at first, it slowly eased off into a mild sensation, and then into almost nothing. The bed was the same way.

I sat and closed my eyes and smiled, breathing in and out and listening to people as they passed. To say I caused a stir was an understatement. Next, I stretched out on both on my stomach and raised my head, arms and legs, putting all my weight on my abdomen and chest. The sensation was exhilarating, though a bit sharper than before. Next, I had one of my friends, and then another, stand on my back while I lay there. I did this for 45 minutes and then switched sides, Repeating the process and even having 3 people sit on me. This was uncomfortable only in the fact that I had trouble breathing.

On And on this went until the end of the day. I must have had 600+ photos taken. I even offered to have people sit next to me and share some of my lemonade. Damn was it good. I had started out feeling such a horrible distaste for my fellow man, and By the end of the day I felt whole again, full of life and happiness, without a trace of anger. I didn't win anything or get a mention, but that was ok. I did it more for me than anything else. As I was walking out to my car I saw a young man, obviously a Scad student, Doing something similar. He was juggling, and quite technically and skillfully I might add, 3 flaming torches and 3 daggers, af well as blowing and eating fire. A really nice job. I had a long talk with him after his show.

In conclusion, looking back on it, I think that I started into it without any real Idea of what would happen to me. My original goal was one of anger and hate, and I ended up feeling joy and happiness. I'm very glad that I was able to do this, and in front of so many people, even if they only remember me as "that nail freak". If you are even in that sort of position( It happens), Try something, be it play piercing, branding, or even sensory deprivation. I'm sure the end result will surprise you. It definitely did me.

questions or comment welcome

-Chris Dryden alseides@hotmail.com

  • (From the above statement on southern blacks,I want to make it clear that I'm not a racist.Theres too much fucking het in this world to go around already without the question of skin color being brought up. There is a noticeable difference between african americans from the north than from the inbred deep south bible belt Ghetto Black person)

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on: 15 May 1999
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