Playing in the swamp

If you’ve read here long enough you’ve probably seen Brooke Shaden‘s work because it’s the strange, whimsical and macabre photography that goes so well with some of my darker writing. She’s magic.

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what moves us

experiencing space


And today she’s coming to Texas so she can photograph me in a swamp.  It’s possible I’ll be eaten by alligators, but – in fairness – that’s probably a really fascinating way to die, and knowing Brooke she’ll probably get some awesomely disturbing  photos out of it.  I give you full permission to look at any death photos that might result, unless I look really fat, in which case just keep in mind that I’m retaining water and also that alligator attacks cause swelling.  Probably.

In other (non-alligator) news, earlier this week my sweet baby niece had her appendix explode in her because apparently she wants to be just like her aunt.  I informed her that it was my gallbladder that exploded inside of me but she didn’t care because she’s on a lot of morphine.  She’s recovering and is currently smothered in stuffed animals but if you’d like to send her happy thoughts and prayers, that would be lovely.  Also, if you’d like to send entertaining websites, videos, etc. to my sister who will be stuck in a hospital room for the next week (with significantly less morphine) you can leave links in the comments.  If it made you laugh your ass off or was so fascinating you couldn’t stop reading, please share it.

I’ll start:  Fascinating, hilarious, awesome.

PS. If I do die I formally bequeath my appendix to my niece.  Mine is the (so far) non-exploding kind.  You can never have too many.

PPS.  Just talked to my sister.  Apparently you can have too many.  So instead I leave my niece my appendix, but not to be inserted into her body.  Instead  I’ll just have my dad tan it in his taxidermy shop so she can use it as a little coin purse.  Everyone needs a coin purse.

256 thoughts on “Playing in the swamp

Read comments below or add one.

  1. I have a frog coin purse from the Philippines. I love to scare old people and small children with it when I go hunting for change.

  2. A google search for “appendix coin purse” images came up with very few coin purses made from appendices. I am disappointed.

  3. Wouldn’t an appendix make a card wallet sized bag? I need dimensions here. If they had let me keep my gallbladder when it went to crap, that would’ve made a perfect coin purse.

  4. I didn’t know there were alligators in Texas. Although I did hear there was quicksand. Why do they call it quicksand when people sink so slowly? Some Nestle’s Quick would be really good right now. Oh, good luck with the photos and exploding body parts and all.

  5. I’ve become quite a fan of lately. Good stuffs there, if you’re into nerdy cool stuff. And then I’ve learned about Death Salon and Death Cafe, groups formed to discuss discussing death…maybe not the best thing for a hospital…or end of life swamp photography, but interesting anyways. Get well soon, Jenny’s appendix-less niece.

  6. This video is hilariously wrong!

    I also love this one too, it starts cheery and becomes quite dark.

    Lots of love and wishes for your neice <3

  7. To Heather: THANK YOU for the twitter suggestion to Crap Taxidermy. The captions are as hilarious as the pictures. I have tears!!

  8. Seems more likely you’d get a tiny scratch and then a mystery infection that wouldn’t present itself for just long enough that you’d forget about that time in the swamp, making it even more difficult to diagnose. I just hope you get to keep your legs.

  9. I’m pretty sure you are safe from the alligators. The curlers would no doubt get stuck in their teeth. Without toothpicks and longer limbs, who’d want to deal with that hassle?

  10. I do not know how to put a picture in this comment because I am super not with it and stuff, however I just saw this picture (meme?) of a bowl of sherbert that said “Go shawty. It’s sherbet day” and I laughed and laughed and laughed because FUNNY. And I just looked it up because everything was telling me I was spelling ‘sherbert’ wrong, and apparently it’s ‘sherbet’ instead of ‘sherbert’ and now I feel completely lied to.

  11. I don’t even know how to reply on this one, and that’s the best part! Soooo…. I hope you don’t get eaten, sorry about your niece, and a coin purse sounds lovely? Sure, that all sounds good. LOL….. You are awesomely entertaining as always. So flipping cool about being photographed in the swamp though. Their photos are amazing!!! Have fun and try not to retain too much water.

  12. Today has been a sonofabitch and I’ve been feeling sad and weepy and like ten gallons of suck in a five gallon bucket. These pictures and your writing are helping. I hope your niece gets better soon. I don’t have a gallbladder, either. If your appendix has an alligator tooth hole in it, it might make a better hat than a coin purse. Related: I clearly have no idea how big an appendix is.

  13. Why did I not know I needed an appendix coin purse before now? Good and happy thoughts to your niece and sister 🙂

  14. I absolutely love Brooke Shaden‘s work. I can’t wait to see what comes out of your photo shoot. That is, assuming you don’t get attacked by an alligator. That would just make me sad.

  15. Dear, you have lovely skin, too. Have you considered having your dad tan it to use for covers for a very few, special edition copies of your book? (released after your untimely death, of course.) Human skin book covers have been a thing for centuries, apparently. It’s called “anthropodermic bibliopegy” according to The Atlantic: . If they’d published that article two days earlier, I’d have been more skeptical.

    Have a cool time swamp roaming!

  16. Well, color me stupid. I don’t think it ever occurred to me that you have alligators in Texas. If everything in TX is bigger, does that mean your gators, too? Because we get some pretty big ones here in FL and that would be kind of scary. Also, I’m a Florida Gator…as in the University of Florida kind and the only kind of swamp that really counts is “The Swamp” as in our football stadium, just saying. Although I’m sure it wouldn’t make nearly as cool of a photo shoot location.

  17. This may not be terribly helpful, but the funniest thing I have ever read on the Internet was this: But here are a couple of interesting (short) videos. One is about how wood frogs can freeze solid and survive: and the other is meerkats climbing all over a photographer: And as a bonus, here is an interactive sound map of 1920s New York City:

  18. Good luck not getting eaten by an alligator. Of all the ways to go, I think that’s the one I would like least.

  19. Do not try to pet the alligators. However, should the opportunity present itself, grab a baby one and hide it in your purse, take it home and raise it in the bathtub, then have it taxidermied. Victor will not mind.
    Happy thoughts to your niece! Wishing her a speedy recovery!

  20. hope your niece is doing better. my appendix exploded 20 years ago too. morphine helps. sleep does too.

    now for something creepy –it almost makes me want another baby –made of plastic!!DuObX

    and for actual fun: check out podcasts. use the search or the menu on the left by category. of course I love the sad royal childhoods the best. who doesn’t!?!?

  21. The daughter of a good friend of mine was recently hospitalized the weekend of the long-awaited Seattle Comicon, so she couldn’t go. I was able to get one of my favorite local comic artists make a “get well” sketch for her to cheer her up (she’s much better now). I thought that was pretty cool until her mother showed me the get well card she had KARL URBAN sign for her. Can you imagine her temerity?

  22. Fascinating: this blog…this post in particular.
    Hilarious: it’s silly, but it gets me every time!
    And awesome: even though I can’t cook to save my life and probably wouldn’t know what to do with that many eggs, I would still do this, for fun! 😀

    I am sending good thoughts and prayers for your niece. I hope she has a smooth recovery. 🙂
    Also, can’t wait to see what Brooke does with you!!

  23. dammit, now i want an appendix coin purse. it may be worth having mine electively removed. but if i do, and i send it to you UPS, can your dad tan and taxidermy mine? i guess keeping it in a jar of formaldehyde on my desk would be ok too. good conversation starter.

  24. It does strike me, that you’ve put this post under “But what does it mean”….could it be… could it really be…
    That the book cover…
    Or am I reading too much into this…
    OMG why won’t my mind stop squealing….?!

  25. Those pictures are amazing!!!

    Also, every time I go to Florida I suspiciously look around for alligators, like they are just lying in wait trying to kill me. Because they probably are. I would rather swim with sharks. Gators are terrifying. Fried Gator tail is delicious.

    Anything battered and fried is delicious.

  26. Hugs and healing thoughts to your niece!! Exploding appendixes are not good things. They are very bad things, but I am very happy she’s on her way to good health again! I’m sharing this because it made me laugh when I was down about my birthday yesterday. (I thought was okay and age is just a number, but I guess no one bothering to call or text to say happy birthday got to me.)

    And one that made me laugh after a three hours of sleep night because my hubby was sick. 🙂

    Feel better soon, Jenny’s Niece!!!!

  27. Hahahaha…everybody needs a coin purse. An alligator coin purse maybe?? But a gall bladder coin purse? Eeeeww.
    I wish your sweet niece well. Her and her gallbladder. AND your sister. ‘Cuz I know what it’s like to sit vigilantly by your offspring’s side, while they’re hospitalized. It’s scary and you feel helpless. Totally sucks hairy donkey balls. So as stalkerish as it tends to feel to send a complete stranger messages about love and healing, I’m doing it. Because that’s how I roll. I am a human-being lover and a healer by nature. 🙂
    As an aside- You wrote on page 175 (in Nook pages anyway) ,of Let’s Pretend…
    “Then I saw Evany Thomas, and I was fan-girly and gushy because I love her writing, and I heard myself admitting that I have a tiny paper figurine of her that I’d cut out to put on my desk”.

    While I don’t have a cut out of you on my desk, I do follow your blog, am finishing your book and MUST say you have given me hope and inspiration! I have always written like I talk but have been afraid to share what I write for fear of judgement. I have a very warped and off-beat sense of humor and can be pretty unfiltered, like you. Maybe some just don’t care to read about dinner table conversations with my 13-year-old son and adolescent development. For me, this is the only undivided time I get with him to ask about things like the hair on his peaches and how “all that business” is doing ” down there”… Some really funny stuff comes out of these 1/2 hour scarf sessions. It’s fun to write about it, but even more precious to document for memory’s (blackmail’s) sake. 😉

    Anyway- I’m also ADD and am kind of all over the place so I aptly named my blog “Blog In A Blender”. You inspired me Jenny Lawson. I’m a fan and I’m not ashamed to say it!

    Peace and healing go out to your niece and family and kudos and wishes for continued success to YOU!

  28. I am a college student taking a course in writing for mass media. We were asked to comment on a blog, and I chose this one as I find it incredibly funny and relevant. We can comment on anything we like. So here I am. Commenting. To all you other bloggers out there (and if I could get a comment from Ms. Lawson that would be soooo cool)- how did you find your voice as a blogger? Did it take time? Was it completely natural and easy for you?

    (I kept writing until it came. It still disappears at times. ~ Jenny)

  29. Fooey. Someone got there first with the Mantis Shrimp. Here’s one about the Owl instead. The take-away here: Don’t do drugs, because an owl may just rip your face off.

  30. Reading the “Fascinating”. Says the tent was torn from the inside which lead rescuers to believe the threat was sealed inside the tent with them.

  31. What kind of madness happened to those Russian skiers in your first video? How am I supposed to sleep at night without knowing this? I’m going with the alien theory, because you know, aliens.

  32. Where the fuck is there a swamp in Texas? I know we have a lot of different geography/topography, but I don’t remember any swamps….

  33. Ever see outdoor step classes poolside at a resort…well, this guy decided to make it a little more fun! I’m not great with technology so I’m hoping this worked?

    (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = “//”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));

    Post by Kiki Marie.

  34. Oh Jenny do you know how much that appendix coin purse would be worth?!! LOL Best wishes of recovery to your niece and sister. Be safe in the swap chica! Watch out for the nutra rats too!!

  35. I don’t usually pos, but this one I couldn’t pass up. Sending prayers or a fast recovery to your niece and if your sister wants to get a little gentle exercise in the hospital, here’s a great video. I think. I don’t know, I have weird friends.

  36. Hope she feels better!! The coin purse should totally help, but you’d possibly have to change your donor designation on your driver’s license to say, “Yes/Some” so they don’t go in and find out “HEY. WE’RE MISSING SOME STUFF IN HERE.” Have your dad leave a business card in there or something…it’s only fair.

  37. If you really loved your sister, you would let yourself be eaten by alligators, because the photos would surely be entertaining and take her mind off her daughter’s appendix. I’ve just done all your work for you. You’re welcome. (I hope she and you get through this OK.)

  38. I hope you don’t get eaten by alligators or get West Nile from the mosquitoes. West Nile would be a significantly less awesome way to go than being mauled by an alligator.

    Sorry your niece’s appendix was a fuckstick and tried to kill her. I have never had that happen to me, but explosions just sound like something your body really shouldn’t be doing. It also sounds painful as fuck and I am all about being a baby with things that cause any kind of pain. And because your sister can’t have the morphine kind of fun: Ze Frank’s “True Facts” YouTube series ( They are educational AND hilarious.

  39. I’ve never had an appendix coin purse but I want one. I used to have one of those purses made out of an armadillo (a dead one) and it was pretty scary.

  40. I’ve left this video before but only because it makes me very damn happy. This is Riley, of Riley on Marketing fame. Here she talks about food and her pronunciation is delicious. The first 2 & a half minutes are the best.

    Also, I want a Spiky Crushall because it sounds scrumptious.

    P.S. Please to not get eaten by any alligators but feel free to bring one home and call it Fred. He can live with Beyonce.

  41. Recommending the link Melissa B posted – She’ll laugh and laugh.. or at least giggle.

  42. Good Luck with the photo shoot, I hope you don’t get alligator et.. I send good wishes to your sister and your niece, and thanks to your links I might have to work late today. If I actually do get done with the immeadiate work that needs to be done I will come back for the comments. Well, I will do that anyway but maybe not today.

    I love you Jenny.

  43. Tell your sister that while your neice is in hospital that when they finally try to start feeding her the crappy clear liquid hospital food it is very very mean to sit and eat french onion Sunchips in front of her. But the best thjng in the whole world at that point is to let your neice lick the flavouring off a chip. How do I know? Cause that’s what my husband did to me when mine burst. Also she will get out faster if she gets cranky with the doctor.

  44. Brook’s work is magnificent! I knew of her before I found you. But now I must comb through your older posts to see where you include her. I hope you do not get eaten in the swamp because I think it would be a shame to die before you get to see the magic she will work with you. Can’t wait!

  45. if I can help to entertain someone stuck in a hospital, I do it. If I can entertain someone stuck in a hospital AND show a piece of video that I made, that’s just a win-win, right there. Incidentally, that is also the name of my imaginary panda. Although she spells it “Nguyen-Nguyen” because my imaginary panda is Vietnamese on her mother’s side. Here is a thing I made for the entertainment of a person in a hospital.

  46. Her work is awesome, I want pictures like that of me! Loved the links, very cool! Here is something cool I saw today on Facebook, it has the most wonderful stuff -

  47. My cecum exploded. Since it’s attached to the appendix the surgeon tossed that too. If I’d known you were making purses, I’d have had sent them both to you.

  48. I CAN NOT WAIT TO SEE THESE PICTURES! Please post as many as possible. And if an alligator chases you, run in a zigzag pattern–they’re terrible at corners.

  49. Wishing your niece a speedy recovery! I can’t wait to see your swamp shots, her other work is amazing. I’d post you something funny, but I’ve had insomnia all week and my brain is rather fuzzy. On a side note: If you sister happens to be rummage through drawers in the hospital and comes across any drugs that will induce coma like sleep… Never mind that is probably frowned up in some circles.
    p.s. Not my circle though.

  50. Your niece could be the first ever appendix transplant recipient. Which is probably just as good a conversation starter as an appendix coin purse. Either way, your niece is set. Unless you don’t die. Which I hope you don’t.

  51. Please don’t die in a swamp. I need you. WE the people need you. No pressure.

  52. Crap, hope you delete #116, it’s wrong, this is the right one:‎

  53. Probably superfluous, BUT I ALWAYS send people I know who are going to be flying, sitting, doing anything torturous, your post about Beyonce. Always,

  54. My thoughts are with you naturally Jenny, and your poor niece and sister.
    Yesterday (April 10 here in Aus), was my birthday, and I did not get my usual phone call from my daughter, as she is in hospital, having had a partial leg amputation thanks to cancer.

    I think it’s also because she’s a teenager, and she doesn’t understand yet that strange and crazy runs in the family, and that compared to many of my relatives I am comparatively normal!
    I’m sure you can relate to that!

    I did however get to enjoy the amazing experience of seeing my retired racing greyhound have a good sprint at my local park – naturally a fully enclosed oval.
    Faster and more spirited than a racehorse, and yet he is so gentle placid you could have him sit and watch your children without fear of him growling or barking, even if they pulled his ears and tail.

    Anyway, good luck with the photo shoot, Alligators or not I’m sure you’ll look fantastic, and hey if you do get bitten that could be another chapter in an upcoming book for you, though if you get eaten someone else may have to write it for you!

  55. You. You & the family. sigh/dies a little inside I’m blaming the wine I wish I was drinking.

  56. Check out The Brain Scoop on you tube….behind the scenes at Natural history museums….awesome channel!

  57. Do NOT GET EATEN! I can’t think of anything funny to share right now cause I am super tired and a tiny, okay, a lot cranky. But your sister could totally go check out my blog. I’ve heard that it is sometimes amusing.

  58. Because you like Brooke Shaden’s work, I’ll recommend that you look into Alfred Gescheidt, who was doing that sort of Surréalisme in the days before Photoshop made it so easy.

  59. can’t wait to see the pics. Hopefully you made out okay and don’t have to worry about accessories being made out of you

  60. All good thoughts for your sister and niece! My suggestion for laugh out loud videos – search YouTube for Maru the Cat. Or just Maru. It is impossible to watch Maru’s antics without laughing out loud. 🙂

  61. Wow! So many talented people. I’m glad your niece is okay. I haven’t had anything explode lately, except for maybe the size of my butt. 🙂

  62. This is a must watch video of a child describing his diet while on the potty. Makes me laugh every time. Now we have a new household phrase “chocolate thingies”

  63. Luckily they yanked my gall bladder out before it ‘sploded…whew! Now I’m gonna fixate on exploding body parts….sigh. Best wishes, good energy and positive thoughts to niece and her mom….watching your baby be sick must reallllly suck.

  64. I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but it’s with cats, it’s hilarious, and at the end there are links for more of the kind 🙂

    I also highly recommend Simon’s Cat videos.

  65. My cousin’s appendix was just removed, and he requested to keep it as a gift for me. The doctors were total party-poopers and wouldn’t allow it. Uh, I’m pretty sure that’s his personal property that they stole. There’s got to be a legal case here, right? It’s like when a ring is sized: the jewelers remove gold from your ring, keep said gold, and then charge you for it. Seems backwards.

  66. If she gets to a point where words are too hard, I recommend looking at the google image results for “cats in hats”. It never fails to make me smile. If she’s in need of a group activity, looking through and making up captions for the pictures can kill a few hours. For instance, You know that girl is wondering how to model and hide the fact she’s chewing gum all at once.

  67. I just starting reading your blog about a month ago and I hadn’t heard of Brooke Shaden yet, and wow I am so glad I know of her now. Her work Is so magical and beautiful!! I’m in awe by some of those pictures.

  68. Your book is what I always recommend to friends, family, strangers… anyone really, who is having a bad day, and just needs a pick-me-up! Has she read your book yet? 🙂

  69. this one puts me on the floor in tears. Best wishes to both of them!

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    Post by Barry Donaldson.

  70. You maybe interested to hear that sell both a plush appendix and a plush gallbladder, in case your local hospital doesn’t allow you to take souvenirs.

  71. Here’s a YouTube video showing every asteroid discovered since 1980… It starts with just a few little pinpricks, by the end it’s a swirling maelstrom of destruction. It’s very pretty though.

  72. I suck at posting links, but go to youtube and search for Pinky the cat. That news story kills me every time. I’m smirking just typing this.

  73. Poor niece! I too had an exploding appendix years ago. Not a fun thing.
    I want to order some of her prints but couldn’t figure out where I could get them from her website. Maybe I am just having a stupid Friday.

  74. I wish your niece the speediest of recoveries and hope that you don’t get eaten by an alligator. Although, I’d love to see what an appendix coin purse looks like……

  75. My son’s appendix exploded when he was 2 1/2. While I can’t thank the doctors and nurses enough for all they did for him, I can’t berate the hospital enough for the crappy food available. Seriously, why is there a McDonalds in the hospital? How do you tell a 2 1/2 year old that he can’t have French fries because he can’t eat real food yet, because his little body is trying to kill him? Please take that woman some real food.

  76. VERY FAVORITE EVER!! (you know i’m serious, cuz it’s all in caps!)

    I see that you’re already getting a lot of True Facts, but this is one of my favorites:

    Kids trying Warheads…their little faces want to turn insideout!

  77. Tell your sister to look up Patton Oswalt on youtube. Brilliant comedian who’s as eloquent as you.

  78. I am sending her happy thoughts. But not all of them. I need some for myself too. Also, there are gators in Texas?!

  79. I look forward to your swamp photos. I admire your courage 😉

    speaking of courage, please read my latest post and know that YOU had a hand in helping me put it “out there.”

  80. If you haven’t already, get into Archer on DVD (or download or whatever), the funniest comedy cartoon I can think of.

    Even when I feel like jumping under a bus, an episode or two of Archer will have me in stitches, and falling off the couch in hysterics.

    It’s clearly not for kids, but perhaps if you and your sister got into watching it, it may help make the shitty times more bearable, I know it has for me.

  81. I’m laughing too much over fancy dress parties. Don’t let your neice see this, she’ll split her stiches. Hope she gets better soon.

  82. Tell your friend Brooke I love her photography. I saved almost every single picture. And my prayers for your niece. GBY.

  83. And even though my computer went weird and I had to restart several times and start over from the beginning of the pics I viewed all of them.

  84. Cat barks like a dog at bubbles:
    Best wishes for a speedy recovery for your niece.
    We could donate our appendices to be tanned and made into a macabre assortment of finger puppets .

  85. Brooke’s work is awesome. That red dress pic is totally you – and some of the rest of us, as well. Prayers and hugs for your niece.

  86. Wishing your niece a speedy recovery. For your sis – damnyouautocorrect and Mrs. Brown’s boys are a sure bet for shits and giggles.

  87. I spent the day with Brooke after she photographed you and she took us to the magical tree where we saw the baby powder evidence left behind. She introduced me to your work and your hilarity and said that on her next visit, we will all definitely need to meet. I absolutely can’t wait to see what she created with you!

  88. For your sister:

    I swear the humor felt while watching it was only like 30% due to my lack of sleep.

  89. Bahaha. On the plus side, if you win in this alligator battle you may have your own little coin purse.

  90. Oooooo!!!! Jenny’s sister! Jenny’s sister! Read my blog while you’re stuck in the hospital without the benefit of drugs!
    I have possum stories:

    Stories about being almost beheaded by a samuri sword wielded a flatulent ex-employee:

    Stories where cats try to sabotage science projects:

    and many, many more!
    I hope your sweetpea little girl gets to feeling better pronto!

  91. Also, Jenny…can’t wait to see the photos. You are beautiful and especially so in your element…like I loved the Steam Punk photos…and the ones where someone wrote all over you. I am sure these will be fantastic too.

  92. Chewbacca Cat – hilarious.

    276/B – if you haven’t already buy both of his books – hilarious, laugh out funny.

  93. I can not WAIT to see your photographs. As a photographer, Brooke is a true inspiration! I love watching her on Creative Live where she selflessly shares her knowledge at no charge, She is incredible!

  94. I think the second photo in this series needs to be the poster for depression because that’s exactly what it feels like. Coincidentally, this is also what my first marriage felt like, so there’s that.

  95. Free $5 on Audiable Amazon – Happy Easter for $0
    The promotion is valid to 11:59pm EST on April 21, 2014. I recommend Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, read by David Tennant.

  96. I may not have been in the hospital with my appendix bursting, but these videos are hilarious! I am going to have to take more time out of my day to watch all them, but the couple that I watch were hilarious so I hope your niece thought so too!

    Here is one that I personally love!

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