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Have you ever had a dream so realistic that, for a while at least, you weren’t sure if you were awake or not? It can be pretty disconcerting. Like the one where you walk into work or school, look down and realize you’re not wearing pants. At some point, it dawns on you that that you’re dreaming, but until then your heart’s pounding and you break out in a flop sweat. No fun. So it was probably just that type of feeling that explains why Steve Tilbury was willing to do just about anything to wake up from his chemically induced head trip. Except he wasn’t really asleep . . .

Steve’s the kind of guy who likes to expand his mind, exploring altered states of consciousness. Along with some friends, he’d managed to get his hands on some funny funghi Tuesday, eating some of it and drinking tea brewed from the ‘shrooms. But Steve passed out at some point and, as details, his buddies took off.

“Tilbury said he woke up and it felt like it wasn’t real,” deputies wrote in the report.

Tilbury told investigators he felt like he was awake in a bad nightmare and could not escape from his house.

OK, yes, the News-Journal story was written by someone named Patricio G. Balona, but it’s way too late for an April Fools joke. Whatever, the solution to Steve’s problem was obvious. Or it was to him, anyway.

“Tilbury said he thought if he shot himself he would wake up from the bad dream,” investigators said.

The teen told deputies he walked into his parents’ bedroom and got a .22-caliber rifle. He then went back to his own bedroom, sat down on his bed, put the butt of the gun on the floor, removed the safety and fired once into his own forehead.

We’re guessing Steve’s seen Inception once or twice too many times. But they say God watches over drunks and small children and the big guy must have a soft spot for psylocybin experimenters, too. Despite the gunshot to the forehead, Tilbury didn’t “wake up.” And somehow he didn’t die, either.

For some reason, the bullet didn’t fully penetrate his brain case (start the caliber wars…now!) and thankfully he’ll be just fine. As he told a deputy who asked if he was trying to off himself, “No, I just wanted to wake up from the bad nightmare. I am happy and I love my life.”

We’re just glad Stevie’s folks didn’t have a .30-.30 instead of a .22 or they’d be repainting his room about now. But we suggest they keep the trusty rimfire under lock and key until young Master Tilbury can be trusted around the house alone. In the mean time, Steve and his folks will get a little IGOTD keepsake from us to put on the shelf in his bedroom and we feel confident its mere presence will help keep him firmly grounded in reality for some time to come.

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  1. I remember hearing a story once, perhaps apocryphal, about a guy who tried to kill himself with a .22. He was ultimately successful, though not in the manner he intended. As the story goes, when he tried to shoot himself in the side of the head, the bullet burrowed under the skin down past his ear and entered the soft tissue of his neck, rupturing the blood vessels there, and he subsequently bled out.

    • I know a guy who was shot in the ankle with a .223/5.56 and the bullet exited his hip. Bullets do strange things in the human body.

      This idiot however should try harder next time, maybe he will wake up out of our nightmare.

    • You can fail with any caliber. Captain Herbert Sobel, of Easy Company fame, attempted to suicide with his trusty 1911. All he did was blow his jaw apart. Epic fail.

        • I was going to leave Ian’s comment, but he beat me to it, and I’m not enamored of saying things using only Wikipedia as a source, anyway. But since you’re quoting Stephen Ambrose, I decided to look it up.

          Marcus Brotherton wrote a book titled We Who Are Alive and Remain: Untold Stories from the Band of Brothers. I downloaded a copy. That book has a section where he invited three adult children of deceased Easy Company members to tell about their fathers. One of those was Michael Sobel, Herbert’s son. His exact words from that book are

          My father had shot himself in the head with a small-caliber pistol. The bullet entered from the left temple and passed behind his eyes out the other side of his head, severing the optic nerves and leaving him blind. I found this rather odd; my father was right-handed.

          I guess you just have to choose whom to believe. On one hand, you’ve got the son who is getting the story after the fact (three days after, as it happens) from the authorities, and on the other hand you’ve got the author of Band of Brothers. I can’t speak to the veracity of his claims, but it is conveniently poetic that he would use his trusty 1911 to do the deed, and the guy is in the business of writing poetic stories.

      • Same thing happened with the French Revolution leader Mr. Robspierre, after he took a percussion .50 from a guard to his temple to kill himself, he slipped and the gun inched just a few inches lower and he blew his jaw clean off.

  2. Not to be nit-picky, but how do you know the rifle was not locked? How do you know the firearm wasn’t locked in a safe and he knew the combination? A 17 year old is old enough to know the combination.

    You can idiot proof something, but nature always comes up with a better idiot.

  3. we cherry pick these incidents to prove our favorite calibers are best. my cousin shot himself in the leg with a 45. the bullet traveled the length of his leg. he was drawing from a holster when he fumbled a little and fired. the bullet exited from his foot. he never fell, walked back to his car and drove himself to the hospital. the gun was a ruger blackhawk single action.
    dad’s friend did just about the same move with an h&r 22 and had to have his leg removed. arguments over handgun stopping power are fun, but really useless in the real world.

  4. Have you ever had a dream . . . [l]ike the one where you . . . look down and realize you’re not wearing pants.

    That was not a dream. That was my sophomore year in college. Glory days, they pass you by.

  5. I don’t even know what to say, I’m a big proponent of personal freedoms, drugs, sex, guns, whatever other dumb shit you want to do to yourself but this is something else, I lock em’ up anyway but next time I have a few teens visiting my daughter, I’ll double check, holy cow.

  6. Once we sell hypnotic mushrooms in the stores we can develop wake up kits and devices which should snap our adventurers out of their trip without putting holes in the ceiling.


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