I want to claim that I have invented a new form of essay.
It’s easy and fun and with the uptrending in retirement age demographicals in the USA regionality, it might just become the dominant form of essay writing in the next decade. It’s possibilities for depressing content are unlimited! Take that kittens.
It’s called Gurney Essays. Or dare I say #GurneyEssay ? An example from my very own experience is linked at the bottom, but before that, here are the rules for your own chance to get in on this Kardashianesque thrill ride of Carly Rae Jepsen meme-tastic meme-ery.
The rules are simple.
1) A) Get injured.
2) B) Go to a hospital
3) C) Have your phone on you. (Protip! It’s good to have your phone on you before you get injured, because you can then use the phone to call the hospital to come pick you up!)
4) D) When you’re being wheeled around for x-rays, blood draws, MRI’s or coffin fittings record the progress of your trip. (Protip! Know that no one will want you to do this. Nurses, doctors, orderlies, no one wants a video recording everything he or she does. Of course, we live in a world where people record you all the time, from space even. But hospitals are slick with the fear of lawsuits, so be sneaky. The camera is usually on the back of your phone anyway, so it looks like you just have it turned over nicely in your lap.)
5) E) When you get home, (Protip! Get home. That’s where all of your stuff is.) write an essay that fits the exact length of your gurney journey. Then using space-age editing software, meld your essay with the Gurney Ride: either have the text on top of the Gurney Ride or record your own voice over the Gurney Ride. Gurney Ride! (Protip! You don’t know where you’re going, what they’re going to do to you once you arrive, or when you’ll get back. If they leave you, good luck ever finding your way back to your street clothes. Having your phone allows you to text donations to organizations that promise to help out people in your situation.)
6) F) For more material just wait until the next opportunity to get injured. They present themselves so often nowadays. (Protip! I got injured by turning my neck while asleep. I’ve spent my life having panic attacks about airplanes and turbulence. I got expensively and extensively injured just by turning my neck while I slept. I feel more fragile than ever. This isn’t a tip, I guess, it’s a realization: we are a system of billions of moving parts. I have Islets of Langerhans, for god’s sake. A duodenum. Rods and cones. A blood brain barrier.) (Protip! There will always be language that eludes us, no more so then the language that is used to define us. )
7) To quote Georgie from Denis Johnson’s “Emergency,” “‘There’s so much goop inside of us, man,’ he said, ‘and it all wants to get out.’”
David S. MacLean is a graduate of The University of Houston (PhD), New Mexico State University (MFA), and Warren Wilson College (BA). He was named the Best Emerging Non-Fiction Writer by the PEN/American Society in 2011. He is a co-founder of the Poison Pen Reading Series in Houston, TX. He lives in Chicago with his wife and their pets.His memoir The Answer to the Riddle is Me will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in Fall 2013.