MOVIE OUTLET MALL
Many of my friends know this story, but I’m not sure many of them know this detail that made one of the worst nights of my life—and easily the single worst night at the time—that much worse.
There are three things you need to know before I tell this story:
The year was 2009. Pop punk was still relevant (at least to me it was), and we were all still living off the high of Vampire Weekend’s debut, self-titled album.
I had just competed at our high school state championship, swam really well, and was primed to swim really fast again heading into the biggest meet of the season, Sectionals. And even though my girlfriend (who was on my same club swim team) had just broken up with me, I wasn’t going to be put down by it (just yet) because like I said, I had just swam super fast the week before. Swimming was the only thing that mattered.
On the 3.5-hour bus ride down from Plano to College Station, Texas where Sectionals was held, I got violently sick. I had a fever, started throwing up, and I had incredibly painful stomach cramps. Thinking I had the flu, the coaches put me in my own hotel room so I wouldn't get anyone else sick.
Spoiler Alert: It was not the flu. I had appendicitis.
Now, I’m going to fast forward through the next two and a half days of swim meet to not bore any of you. I swam horribly for the most part.* On top of all of the humiliation of swimming terrible, feeling like shit and throwing up all the time, my girlfriend had started dating another guy on our team and, in classic teenage relationship fashion, they were not shy with PDA.
However, Saturday afternoon, I miraculously started feeling a little better.** Sadly though, the worst was far from over. That night, it came back with a vengeance.
Saturday night, I went back to my hotel room after finals and turned on the TV just in time to catch SNL.*** Being exhausted from the meet and literally dying, I dosed off.
At some point, I woke up during a MacGruber sketch, the theme song blaring, "MacGruber! MacGruber! Dazed—and not knowing where I was, what the hell was going on, and arguably even who I was—I desperately felt around for the remote to turn off the TV before falling back into a restless sleep.
Stuck in a semi-conscious state somewhere between sleep and hell, my brain chose to fixate on one thing: MacGruber! MacGruber! Amidst all of the stabbing pain, the cramps, the chills, burning a fever, and heartbreak, the MacGruber theme song—but mostly just the part of yelling MacGruber—reverberated off the walls of my skull for an eternity. Its incessant chorus drove me to the brink of insanity. Had the devil approached me in this state, I would have sold my soul in an instant for a minute or two of peace—or for him to kill Will Forte.
Finally waking from this fever dream, I went to the bathroom and passed out in the shower.
Don’t worry, I didn’t fall. I remember turning the shower on and sitting down (because standing hurt too much), and then nothing. I have no idea how long I was in there.
I woke up sometime later, managed to crawl out of the shower, and dry myself off before crawling back into bed only to be met with another couple hours of crap sleep, a reprise or two of the MacGruber theme song, and waking up to find that I had shit myself (just a little bit).
Two days later—yes, a full two days later—I went to the hospital and had an emergency appendectomy. I was in the hospital for ten days.
Last year, I decided to face my fear and watched the MacGruber movie. It’s one of the dumbest movies I’ve ever seen, but after much soul-searching, I decided to forgive Will Forte and the rest of the people responsible for MacGruber for making one of the worst nights of my life that much worse.
*Okay, here’s the gist: I swam like shit in prelims and my coach would come to me that afternoon and be like, “You think you got it in you for a relay tonight?” And I’d be like, “Sure.” Then I’d somehow go a best time.
**Fun fact: The doctors thought that this was when my appendix actually burst. I felt better initially because the pressure built up in my body had released.
***I did some research and found out that Tracy Morgan hosted the March 14, 2009 episode with Kelly Clarkson as the musical guest.