A Chronological Account of My 7 Concussions
A listicle by Jordan DeFilippo.
When people find out I’ve been conk’d as many times as I have, they feel obligated to share the story of their conking with me. And typically their story is bad. They hit their head on their weird bed frame or they walked into a closet at full speed or they dropped an iPad on top of their face because they couldn’t be bothered to buy one of those kickstand cases and would rather attempt to fall asleep with their arms fully outstretched like a gymnast or an ape of some kind.
The difference between me and them is my concussions stories rock. They’re violent and cool. They make my life seem hard–which it is. It’s actually harder for me to do most things… Including writing this post… Because of all the concussions I’ve had… And everyone needs to, I don’t know, maybe respect that? The hand I’ve been dealt is actual real trauma that is more authentic and raw than you can ever experience in your TV-soapbox Euphoria-tinted minimalist-decor lifestyle.
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So here it is: The story of my seven concussions, rendered in full graphic detail and with lifelike precision, to the best of my memory.
It’s Halloween night, 2008. We’re trick or treating in a golf cart and I’m hanging off the back. The cart hits a bump. I fly straight up into the air and land horizontally. Head slams back against the driveway. My Ozzy Osbourne wig now covered in blood. I’m screaming that sort of adult anguished moaning scream. The neighbor whose house it is–-the teacher who is incapable of cursing, but insists on saying the word “poo” as much as she can–-tries to compliment my costume and my commitment to the persona. I am not in character. I am 12.
I’m now on our living room couch without any memory of having gone home. My doctor-hating parents coach me through the words I’m supposed to say if anyone asks what happened. My mom tells me the hospital wouldn’t do anything besides “tell you your head hurts, which we already know.” My dad paces around the kitchen, endlessly repeating “Either you want to go trick or treating or you don’t.”
I end up in a different neighborhood with friends. I have no recollection of the rest of the night or of watching “The Dark Knight” early that week which I’ll probably watch a dozen more times before the year ends. Some children have a bar mitzvah or try drugs or gain responsibility when a family member passes away, but this is the day that I became a man.
I’m playing hockey and my teammate serves me what is known as a suicide pass. A suicide pass is not a “Get Out of Suicide Free Card” even though that sounds awesome and is how some people must have felt about the optimistic and spirited thrust of Cee-Lo Green’s ‘Forget You’ (Explicit Version). A suicide pass is an invitation from a collaborator who secretly dislikes you to walk straight into a 250lb 9th grader traveling at 35mph–-sorry for all the math–-while you are at a standstill. It is a split in the timeline. It is a suggestion to try out for the school musical or maybe take a long autumn walk with that girl you like instead.
I get hit. I go lights out. Unconscious. Blackness. Floating specks of dust. Shimmering light. A purgatorial womb. I come to about 5 seconds later and my coach says something smart and helpful like “That was epic. That was awesome to watch.” My dad rushes to the bench and asks me who the president is. I say something along the lines of “They think he’s not a citizen, but he’s from Hawaii.” Apparently, that’s enough of a litmus test to throw me back out on the ice and throw out some adage about how they didn’t even wear helmets in his day.
I try to go to practice later that week, but I have a migraine. I go home early and sit with a towel over my face. I listen to podcasts. I don’t feel dumber, but I don’t feel smarter either.
This next one also happened in hockey. I’ll spare the details, but I got hit a lot in hockey. I was 4’9” until 8th grade and even after that I was maybe 5’4” for most of highschool. Bashing my brains in was the closest thing our small town had to a county fair. Men, women, and children all got to take a turn at the pale nerdy kid who didn’t know how to ride a bike. They lined up down the block to do it and it made my parents very wealthy. Like Britney, I’ve seen none of this money.
The third concussion took place when I was filling in for a minor league hockey team and got hit pretty hard. I think. I don’t know it’s kind of fuzzy, but it was such an honor to be there that I don’t want to doubt it. I sat in the nurse’s office doing computer mental training games for a week after, which were not as fun as the tilty marble game I used to play on the computers in study hall.
At boarding school, I get in a tiff (British for fight) with another kid. We met later that day in the underground fighting ring in the library. We enter freight elevators on opposite ends of the building and descend into the arena of cheering teens & faculty awaiting a spectacle.
My WWE fighting persona is a mix between Roger Rabbit & Bam Margera (a hometown icon of West Chester, PA) meaning I was silly and also a little bitch. A chair flies straight at my head much like in the movie Whiplash, but the lesson my opponent is teaching is less clear than “rushing or dragging”. I think it had something to do with “I am the alpha of the betas.” So actually, in that way, it was a lot like Whiplash.
In the end, the other guy grabs my head and slams it into a nearby wall. Which hurts a lot. The surrounding kids were kind enough to drag me to the nurse, who, by then, hated my guts. While many onlookers would call what I did self-defense, I actually got suspended.
But this time because I was under the watchful eye of an institution--go bureaucrats!–-and not my parents, I go to the hospital and get an MRI. The ambulance radio plays ‘Forget You’ (Clean Version) and I contemplate killing myself. The waiting room has pictures of cats painted on the walls (because C(a)T scan lol) and I grab the radiologist by his collar and plead with him not to fry my ass 9gag style.
I’m cast in the starring role of the film ‘Project X’ (a film none of us saw, but we all got excited about). It’s the role of a lifetime and I’ll do anything to keep it. During my grueling Hollywood training process I indulge in several body transmorphing activities: I eat raw fish, I crack peppercorn down my throat, I learn to paddleboard, I crush a pig’s skull so I can snort up the dust. I am nigh invincible.
On the day of the scene where I am meant to jump off the roof of the house and into a group of 30 year olds wearing shutter shades & drinking fake vodka (water), I get cold feet. By that I mean, it is so cold outside that my feet are actually stuck to the roof of the house. I cannot jump. I stall production by two hours. The lead rigging grip has to come get me on a ladder-lift and chisel my feet out of the ice. A PA decides to bring me hot tea while I wait and spills it all over my feet, burning my shins and melting the ice. I slide back and smack my head on the roof. I experience an extreme sense of deja vu, the kind that pushes people to pursue a life of yoga instruction.
I finish out the production because I’m a champ, but then they reshoot the whole thing with some other fucking guy. My life is hell.
I’m riding down hill at full speed in a boxcar of my own making.
I speed directly off a cliff.
Blackness. Floating specks of dust. A whirling hum reverberating down a long chamber hall, possibly a cavernous public restroom where the stalls are a mile apart so you can’t see anyone, but you sure can hear them. Math equations float through the air, originating from nowhere, and I swat them away with my bare hands.
A swan chases me about with a baseball bat in its bill. I was attacked by a swan as a child outside the pond at my friend’s grandparents’ house. The same house where their uncle taught me scuba diving lessons in an above ground pool (max depth 6ft). The same house where I almost froze to death after sledding into a creek. The same house where I
I trip over a branch in the long dark hall–which is full of brambles–and the swan hulks over me, its body squeezing and expanding like an accordion, balking at me with its googly eyes and hissing like a cat. With a gunshot and a squawk, it lays dying. General Custer and his men march forth from the East.
“Thank you for your service,” I say to them.
“Who’s the president?” Custer asks.
“Garfield,” I say. “President LasagnaCat ‘Garfield’ Obama.” Nothing has ever been truer. And nothing has ever been bluer. And nothing has ever been newer. And nothing has ever been huer. And Custer heaves me back up to my feet with the strength of eight men, but my feet are not there and neither is the ground and neither is Custer’s men and neither am I and now I fall and I fall and I fall and I fall and I fall and I fall and I fall and I fall and I fall and I fall and I fall……………………………………..
And then I woke up and I hit my head on the bed frame.
Hey guys, Jordan here. Thanks a ton for reading the story of my seven concussions. These stories are completely true. I have, in fact, had seven concussions and it makes it difficult for me to apply for jobs and remember all my bits when I’m performing stand-up comedy.
That’s why I need your help. Please send whatever you can to @deflip on venmo so that I can live a normal comfortable life from my couch, safe from the horrors of the outside world. Any little bit helps and I know if you’re reading a SubStack, you likely have disposable income. Ritam and Nabeel also granted me access to the account metrics page so I can know who viewed this and didn’t send a dime.
Thanks again and remember: watch your head!
Haha, I’m just playing around :)
I wonder if Jordan had a soft skull as a child
In my head, as a kid, Jordan looked like this:
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