"What do you do for a living?"
This is a simple, normal question that every adult hears on a regular basis. I just don't have a simple, normal answer. My usual avoidance strategy is to play the vague card: "I work in advertising," and hope we can leave it at that. But we rarely do.
"Oh really? What does that entail?"
This is where things get hairy. Although I work in advertising, my responsibilities can't be summed up in "I'm like Don Draper without the drinking problem." Three years ago, I started down a logical path as a copywriter, but I've been all over the place since then. Today, my title says "Associate Creative Director," but it doesn't say that I'm also producer, director, casting director, make-up artist, shrink, chef, hair stylist and den mother. These are all responsibilities that fall under my umbrella as the creative director of several online video series that my agency creates for ... wait for it ... the NRA. Yes, that NRA.
The up side here is that my work stories are far more entertaining than anything my accountant friends have to share, and I can bewitch 95 percent of men by dissecting the pros and cons of a Glock vs. a Sig Sauer.
I've also gotten to go to some cool places and see some cool things. That was supposed to be the case when I took a crew of eight people to film a night hog hunt last week. I was going to be hardcore and outdoorsy! There would be wildlife! Camo! A lake! S'mores!
Oh how naive I was. Have you ever been hunting? If not, it's completely different from whatever you're picturing. Especially in the dark. On night one, I sit in a nylon chair for six hours in complete silence (minus when I have to tell a member of my crew to stop snoring) until finally waving the white flag at 2am without so much as one hog sighting. But I will not let my spirits be dampened; tomorrow is another day for hog hunting. And did I mention the s'mores?
I awaken on Monday morning, ready to fulfill my chef duties by making breakfast for my groggy crew and two newbie hunters. We may not have gotten a hog last night, but we are going to have bacon -- a sign of good things to come on night two of our hunt, surely.
Then I slice my finger open with a serrated knife. Expletives are used, and I find myself headed to a city I still can't even tell you the name of, to visit an emergency room where I'm the only patient and clearly the most exciting thing that has happened all day. Six stitches and a lot of driving later, I'm once again the girl sitting in a deer blind by herself in the pitch black darkness until 2am.
For the record, we would have gotten something that night had it not been for the neighboring rancher who fired off six shots around 11pm and scared away every living creature in the area. But I'm not bitter or pointing any of my nine functioning fingers at anyone. Nope. Not me.
As another morning dawns and we pack up to return to Dallas with no hunting tales to tell, I set out a bunch of pastries and steer clear of all sharp objects. Surely I'm out of the woods (literally and metaphorically), right? Apparently not.
Upon my return to Dallas, I notice what I assume is a mosquito bite on my left pinky toe. I go about my business of unloading, returning the rental car, catching up on a few emails... until I look down and realize this is not a mosquito bite. The hypochondriac in me then starts frantically sending photos of my feet to everyone I know with any sort of medical background -- including a babe of a plastic surgeon I met a few months ago who now definitely thinks I'm a psycho and has way too many unsavory photos of my swollen toes.
Since I'm supposed to leave for Wisconsin in T-minus 16 hours, and since my sister and the plastic surgeon confirm that I'm not imagining this, I beeline it to the nearest urgent care clinic. The doctor there agrees that, yes, a nasty insect did indeed prey upon my flesh. He gives me a steroid shot, an antibiotic prescription and draws a line on my foot where the rash stops. My instructions are to make sure the rash doesn't pass said line and take my antibiotics. If it isn't better in 12 hours, I get to go back to the emergency room.
The next 12 hours consist of me taking even more pictures of my feet to track progress. And of course, there is no progress. My foot and I are back at the ER by 6am. Once there, the receptionist asks to see my injury and gasps with wonderment when I lift my foot onto her desk.
Perhaps I'll join the circus.
Much more poking and prodding later, I'm back in another hospital bed with an IV infusing another antibiotic into my body. And BONUS! The other bite on my elbow I just happened to mention to the ER doc is a tic bite. I get another prescription for that so I don't get Lyme disease. Casual.
In summary: I'm never going outside again. Also, I have a massive bag of jumbo marshmallows and lots of chocolate if anyone is interested in making some s'mores. Hit me up.