The Urban Legend of Marty Nozz

Sometimes fiction becomes 'fact'. This happened a lot more often before the internet. In fact since the internet came about urban legends have shelf life. They eventually get proved false. It takes more effort to keep them going especially since information and access to records and facts are more readily available.

So, how was it that I had the flesh eating bacteria that attacked my leg and put me on crutches? How about that cocaine habit of mine? Why do I only work on my comic at night? Did Kevin Smith really buy one of my buttons from my previous studio? Did I really burn that house down? Was it indeed me who pelted PETA HQ with raw hamburger?

The answer to most of those is 'no'.

Urban legends start as rumors or just someone having a laugh. Someone says something that seems plausible enough, so people start believing it. Somewhere in the chain of events the fact that the source might not be completely accurate gets lost in the shuffle.

Let's examine the flesh eating bacteria bit. I chose this one because it freaked out about a third of students at James Madison University to the point that some of them skipped classes to avoid me. I was indeed on crutches for about a week or so. The reason for this was most likely a spider bite on the bottom of my foot, but due to the thick calluses from martial arts training there it was tricky for the doctor to say definitively. Still, some good strong antibiotics and some orders to try to stay off the foot were in order. This led to the crutches.

Fast forward about five days later. Me, having hobbled over to Dr. Geary's "Literature and Problem of Evil" class, sat amongst the rest of the 'M Squad' (I had my own super hero group in college. Its true because I said it on the internet.)and got hit by The Scorer (The official brains of the M Squad.) with a "Goddammit Marty, what the hell have you done now?" It seems his housemate were going to skip class because of the rumor that someone on campus had the flesh eating bacteria and it had put him on crutches. To the housemates, "It's just not worth it".

If a little thing like the potentially fatal flesh eating bacterial are going to prevent you from seeking higher learning, then college just isn't for you.

It did not take long for The Scorer to put two and two together and identify me as the center of the rumors, which I found out later had spread through about a third of the campus. Defusing this was simple enough. By the time it was getting close to fevered pitch I had recovered enough not to need the crutches anymore. So, not more guy on crutches pretty much solved it.

So, how did something so outlandish start?

At the time I was bit by the spider there were confirmed cases of the flesh eating bacteria in the city of Harrisonburg, Virginia where JMU is located. One person did indeed pass away from it. So the pump was primed for rumors of a student getting it to start. And it seems that the person who started it was... well... me. I was sitting in my drawing class reading for my next class because the teacher for the drawing class was hung over and didn't make it. Everyone went home but me because getting back to my apartment on crutches who suck and my following class was in the next building over. The studio had a radio, so it didn't suck.

Enter: James Bond.

Honest to goodness, his name was indeed James Bond. We all called him 'JB'. JB was a grad student who also taught classes in the studio. He dropped in to get some stuff ready for his class and found me sitting there with the crutches. We chatted a bit, because we were pretty cool with each other and he asked me what was up with the crutches. I told him, "Pretty sure its a spider bite, but the docs ain't 100% sure. I figure I'm cool as long as it's not the flesh eating bacteria." I was obviously joking, and even told him the doctors were sure that it wasn't flesh eating bacteria.

That didn't stop him from telling his class that it was flesh eating bacteria. I back tracked the rumor. Seems it started that one of the art students had it. That's why it took a bit longer to get to my attention, I was an English Major who took a couple of art classes.

I really should have kicked JB. I did yell at him a bit.

That's all it takes to get those urban rumors going. Just ask that Justin Bieber kid who it seems is not dead. Elvis though, still dead. One person saying something and other people believing him.

That being said, I want everyone readying this to tell everyone that this blog is the greatest thing on the internet.

Never know. Someone might believe it.