Providence Universal

published by Eric Mill on

A couple weeks ago, I traveled up to Boston to do a tiny Uniprov set and see some friends, where I suffered an awesome head injury. I was okay, and at this point there's barely even a scar, but I departed Boston with my loved ones' fear in my wake. I've reconstructed the scenario from different peoples' memories, including my own. In the following reconstruction, the name at the beginning of each paragraph is the person whose memory I'm drawing from.

[Me] Uniprov has a 3 minute slot at the ImprovBoston 25th anniversary megashow, which has about 50 groups from ImprovBoston's past performing 5-10 minute slots each, from 5pm until midnight. So when we go on, at about 11pm, there have been like 40 groups on at that point, and the stage is not in ideal condition -- there's a screen hanging down that we keep hitting our heads on, blocks are scattered about, etc.

[Me] We ride on after the next act, as a surprise (we weren't included in the schedule), and insist we've taken over the show. We're full of testosterone and the audience is loving it. We start off with a couple of high energy scenes that are ridiculous, and we're just banging into each other and falling all over the place.

[Manny] My unicycle suddenly slips out from under me in a totally uncontrolled way, and I fall back and hit my head hard against the brick wall that is the back of the theater.

[MaryBeth] She's worried, and doesn't know whether it's a joke or not. She locks eyes with Pete's and says "If this is a joke, it's not fucking funny." Pete freezes, staring.

[MaryBeth] She notices a bloodstain on the wall and comes onto the stage, kneels next to me, and asks me if I'm all right.

[Me] The world is very glazed and spinning, I don't know what's happening or why. I kinda figure out what happened, and I try to talk to the audience and let them know, but I can't seem to talk. I can talk about as well as in my nightmares, when I need to yell for someone to rescue me and I can get out barely a sound.

[Pete] He's in a weird state where some part of him knows I'm hurt, but he wants it to be a joke really badly. We'd talked before the show about how we'd end the set with someone faking an injury. It was my idea, so he thinks maybe I even have MaryBeth in on it, until MaryBeth swears at his face. He comes down next to me and yells "Medic!", in an in-show way, yet he also genuinely wants medical assistance.

[MaryBeth] She helps me to stand up, what she later admits to probably be a mistake, but she wasn't thinking straight.

[Travis] With the ability to half-talk, I try to explain away what happened to the audience without disrupting the show. I have no memory of this.

[Will] Will backs Travis' claim up by later remarking to the audience at the end of the show that I'm okay, and am incredibly resilient for trying to keep the scene going.

[Brian] After seeing the blood, he's totally out of it and of no use to anybody.

[Me] All I can think about is how embarassed I am, and keeping the show going. I'm led out to the microlobby, where an EMT comes in and interviews me about everything.

[MaryBeth] Someone tries to shush the EMT, and is ignored.

[Me] I'm thoroughly stretchered and brought to the Cambridge Hospital.

[Brian] He's out of it and just kind of wandering around. Manny says he's going to go to the hospital, and Brian says "Yeah...yeah!".

[Me] I spend a couple hours in the hospital. MaryBeth rides in the ambulance and stays in the room, and Pete, Manny, and Brian go to the waiting room. They're allowed to take turns visiting me, one at a time.

[Me] I'm feeling little pains shooting around different parts of my skull, so I'm sure I must have a concussion, but each doctor and nurse says I look great, and that I'm acing all the tests. I start insisting on a CAT scan, but am informed that new research shows the amount of radiation a CAT scan delivers is substantial, and that the current statistics show something like a 1 in a 1000 chance of developing a tumor. So I take their advice, opt out of it, and get a ride home with all the Uniprov guys and MaryBeth.

[Me] I was told to stay awake another couple hours, until 3am, just to be safe. By 3am, I have an overpowering urge to sleep, which is very unusual for me. This itself worries me, but I don't have a lot of mental room to worry. A little voice in my head takes stock of the care everybody showed me, and throws together a tentative acceptance of the slight possibility I won't wake up. The next morning, I take the day off of work, bus home in the afternoon, and enjoy the night by watching Howl's Moving Castle with MaryBeth.