An unwelcome surprise when I stripped off the dressing this morning. Probably should have been more careful about pulling stray cat hairs out of the wound…

This entry was posted on Thursday, April 7th, 2011 at 4:27 am and is filed under Flesh-Eating Fest '11. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

75 Responses to “Gangrene”

  1. ScottC

    Oh my god, Peter. I hope you receive attention for that immediately. I came here to do more “anachronisms” nitpicking, but now I just want to make certain you’re ok.

  2. Deckard

    Hmmmmm, THAT’S not good. Damn kitties have been reading the blog and now they’ve got some idea’s about taking over, hence …. Hope it is only a temporary setback – keep us informed.

  3. Steve Halter

    Um, doctor, now.

  4. Marek Krysiak

    Yeah, right. Stop screwing with your trusty fans, please. What’s that? Some kind of a bread-roll?

  5. Noemon

    Jesus–that looks like ground beef that’s been cooked with finely chopped onions and red bell peppers, sitting in a bread bowl. If this were April 1st I’d think that our collective legs were being pulled.

  6. dn

    looks like some kind of food to me!?

  7. ScottC

    If this were April 1st I’d think that our collective legs were being pulled.

    I certainly hope that is the case, rather than the alternative. Although it does seem sort of cruel.

  8. rosyatrandom

    I am setting my worry dial to 9, Pete.

  9. ScottC

    Now that the less gullible among us have adjusted my thinking, it does seem rather odd that someone whose leg was in danger of being amputated would choose to to blog about it first thing, rather than say, running screaming for the doctor. Coupled with the lack of hair follicles in that blurry pic, I am now embarrassed at my earlier concern. I’m guessing…Hot Pocket?

    Still, that post title was so horrifying, precisely because it was something I was genuinely worried about with Peter. Which he exploited for laughs. Which makes it even funnier.

  10. Peter D

    Oh, sure. Gangrene. This is just another excuse to not work on State of Grace, isn’t it?

    (This comment was posted under the impression that that is indeed, as it looks like, some kind of foodstuff posted for comical effect. If that turns out to be in error, err.. sorry)

  11. metoikos

    I look forward to hearing how this got solved.


  12. ken

    Yeah, I agree, I think (I sincerely HOPE) he’s just fucking with us. It looks like some kind of weird danish or bread product.

    Peter, you so crazy.

    If it’s not, get thee to a sawbones and get that freaky shit treated.

  13. Brashley

    My auntie makes a Canadian meat pie that looks something like that. (The secret is cloves and veal.) Was this tasty, or did you just snatch the photo off of the interwebs?

  14. rosyatrandom

    9/100, just for clarification. I am joining the foodstuff camp.

  15. ken

    Come to think of it, you should have really freaked us out and taken a picture of the cats gnawing on that weirdo danish.

    That would’ve been awesome. Then we’d know that it was really the cats running things all along.

  16. Yukon Val

    Tourtière or fatayer? Inquiring pathology/food porn types want to know…

    This image didn’t make me hungry. So, still disturbing…

  17. Carlos

    Peter, this made me chuckle. I assumed it was some sort of meaty pastry. But for those of us that are higher on the gullibility scale, please, add a wink and a nod so that they might not worry overmuch.
    Well played, sir!

  18. Marek Krysiak

    Can’t… fight… it… … awhellwithit I’m going to a freaking bakery to find something like that…

  19. Roger A

    Never knew gangrene could look so tasty! 😛

  20. Michael

    I guess I’m also part of the “it’s food!”-camp. Reason: on the left and right one can see how the pale stuff (meant to be skin) is overlapping each other. I don’t remember the wound looking like that …

  21. Steve Halter

    Ok, it does look like a pastry upon closer inspection and more caffeine. It is remarkably shaped like the wound site. So, good one Peter. (Unless you’re writhing in agony somewhere.)

  22. Peter Watts

    Glad to see I still have some credibility with your folks. It’s even hit Twitter: @PaulGrahamRaven tweeted “OK, I may have to swear off Peter Watts’ blog until his leg is fully healed. Nearly lost my lunch this time.”

    The ironic thing is, it actually is someone’s lunch: It’s from a pastry shop in the Netherlands, courtesy of one Branko Collin, who found it … strangely familiar…

    This was almost too easy.

  23. jrronimo

    If it’s actually gangrene: Get thee to yon doctor, stat!

    But since I’m pretty sure it’s just a Calzone or Stromboli or some-such: Hahaha, well-done, sir. Well-done.

  24. Kate Baker

    Hahahah. I admit, that almost got me too. Felt the bile rising and then I was like, “Hey. Red Bell peppers! Yum!”

  25. jrronimo

    Haha, yep, there we go. The similarities are striking, to be sure. Maybe when you’re all healed up you can have a “meat-pastry” party with a candle in it or something.

  26. rm3154

    Basterd! You owe us lunch

  27. ken

    He’s gonna put this little incident in State Of Grace somehow. I just know it.

    Peter Watts: Convicted Felon, Hugo Award Winning Author. Trickster Extraordinaire.

  28. Ausir

    April Fools Day was days ago, you’re a bit late. 🙂

  29. George Berger

    Hi Peter, I first heard about this at @PaulGrahamRaven, who managed to shock me and ruin my dinner. I replied to his tweet. I do hope this is a prank, but I’m going to remain neutral.

  30. Ausir

    Well, you got me at first, but only because I know that if you really did have gangrene, you’d totally post pictures on your blog too.

  31. Nestor

    Ha ha, got me for a second before I noticed the breadlike texture of the crust.

    That said last time we all joked around about flesh eating bacteria it turned out to be a prophecy so be careful. I may be an atheist but I can’t help feeling that random chance sometimes has a bloody minded sense of humour.

    BTW here’s a short story I found on livejournal, thought folks around here might like it

    The story of Emily and Control

  32. Branko Collin

    The lady behind the counter called it a byrek, and the filling is minced meat.

  33. George Berger

    OK. I guess it’s a prank. I believe the thing is a Hamantaschen from Amsterdam. Happy Purim, folks!

  34. Daniel

    I disbelieve and make a saving throw.

  35. Yukon Val


    Fatayer are little dough/phyllo pastries/small pies filled with minced meat, although they can have cheese or vegetable fillings also. They would be the Lebanese version of byrek, I’m guessing. Do I win meat pies or a case of flesh-eating disease?

  36. George Berger

    @Branko. I lived in the Netherlands for 37 years. Specifically, in Amsterdam. You are right. It’s a byrek. It can also serve as a Hamantaschen. Are you Dutch, what those horrid creeps call an Allochtoon, or worse yet a second generation Allochtoon? Or were you lucky and were simply a tourist? But I do wish Peter would cut out these pranks.

  37. Anony Mouse

    The boy who cried Canis lupus.

  38. Soon Lee

    Oh well played. You had me.

  39. TheEchoInside

    I feel like the phrase, “A true prank master does not bend to the calendar, he strikes with surprise and without warning,” or something similar should be hovering around this post.

    I ran the full gamut too, from, “But, I trust what Mr Watts posts,” to “Is that a flaky and delicious crust?” =P

    … Time for lunch.

  40. George Berger

    They *are* delicious. I’ve been eating them for more than 60 years. My mouth is watering now. But JHC, I ate my dinner before I saw this, going only by Paul Graham Raven’s tweet. My partner was a nurse, and she told me about such diseases years ago. And yes, gangrene is one outcome if you are not careful. I need a drink!

  41. Mirik Smit

    Haha, good way to show people that it’s exclusively the mind’s interpretation that makes stuff horrible, not the visual information.

  42. Branko Collin

    @George Berger, I am one of the horrid creeps.

  43. Peter Watts

    Haha, good way to show people that it’s exclusively the mind’s interpretation that makes stuff horrible, not the visual information

    I found that fascinating too: exactly the same visual stimulus can make your mouth water or leave you tossing your cookies, depending on expectation. This started out a nothing but a juvenile joke, and yet I find it strangely educational…

  44. Anthony Cunningham

    Son-of-a-bitch, you had me worried. *Don’t* do that again.

  45. George Berger

    @Branco I’m a Westerse Allochtoon who has the best of reasons for despising very many things about Nederland. But not the great cakes, or whatever they are called. My excuses please.

  46. seruko
  47. Sheila

    You, and I say this is the most friendly way, suck! You totally got me even though I thought it looked like food. and I was extra grossed out that it looked like food.

    on the other hand, when I thought it was your leg, it looked like your flesh had grown closer together much more than the last pictures, which would have been cool apart from the ick. but, hey. Maggots! right?

    If you are curious you can probably dig up research in to the nature of disgust. I remember some survey where they had people rank disgust of pictures with different qualities from viscosity, to consistency, to I can’t remember.

  48. Deckard

    Good One! Feeling well enough to torture your readers are you?! OK, you must be fine… ya sick bassturd 🙂 I’d still keep an eye on those kitties though – ya just can’t trust the little buggers!

  49. a

    I think part of the reason this works so well is that when you see something that’s allegedly a picture of a gross wound you don’t want to look very closely, and when you read that someone has a bad medical problem you want to scroll down for more details rather than look at the picture.

  50. Ben

    Aren’t you just a little bit tempted by the prospect of a cool robot leg? The pain and risk of death and need for further operations aside, I mean.

  51. Tim

    You evil bastard. You would not believe the feeling of horror that washed over me when I saw that title with that picture. But I know where you’re going to be this weekend, and I will hunt you down.

  52. Ross

    You have done irreparable harm to the maker of those meat pastries. His business will never be the same.

  53. Nyth

    Is it wrong that I found that a bit appetizing… before I found out it was really a food item?

  54. Lodore

    On the appetizing/disgusting paradox, the same holds for smells. Ever drive past the city dump and find yourself unaccountably going … Yum?

  55. weaver

    A byrek, eh? I was thinking pide. Or maybe a weird open kind of pirozhok.

    Mmmm…. pirozhok…

  56. MEM

    Jesus Christ. Nothing like starting the morning by having your sympathetic nervous system dropkicked into fifth gear. Thanks buddy. I’m up now.

  57. Sheila

    I am a searching god! just kidding. I stumbled upon the right key words to find the survey I was trying to remember.

    survey with pictures

    The Disgust Scale Home Page

  58. Peter Watts

    Ever drive past the city dump and find yourself unaccountably going … Yum?

    I imprinted on the smell of sewer gas once. I was living in Vancouver, involved with someone in Toronto, only saw her every couple of months. She lived in a high-rise outside which a manhole cover kept belching sewer gas into the street. The only time I ever smelled the stuff was when I was heading to her place to end a month or two of abstinence. The operant conditioning hit me hard, so to speak. Every time I smelled sewer gas I got an erection.

  59. Hljóðlegur

    The operant conditioning hit me hard, so to speak. Every time I smelled sewer gas I got an erection.


    Love it. I feel so normal now about all the weird things that accidentally get associated with arousal for me. See – what I said about the incredible flexibility of human sexuality is true! Evolution has selected for flexibility in man when it comes to sex, not some indelible program to assure the correct mating sequence – we are evolved to be easily and widely arousable in a learned way.

    Okay, I am stepping off my soapbox now.

  60. The Doctor

    Holy shit. Get thee to the ER, now!

  61. The Doctor


    I guess that’s what I get for rickrolling HacDC….

  62. Hljóðlegur

    Also, wasn’t I the one who got all excited (not sexually, of course) by the idea of Peter documenting his transmorgification into something post-human for us?

    And now he has – he is turning into a meat pastie and letting us watch. A turn of events I could not have predicted. O.O

  63. Branko Collin

    Get him while he’s hot!

  64. Val

    The operant conditioning

    i really need to make a mental note to use operant conditioning in my favor and pavlov myself a bit vis a vis goodformestuff, like exercise. I keep forgetting how powerful it can be, done correctly. Would be vaguely useful if there was a document with best practices out there.

    How to brainwash yourself intentionally.

    What a horrifying thought, I suppose. But if the outcome is good, and it well…a “choice” insofar as one can use that word (ah free will, what) it’s good, right?
    Of course now we get into an argument about ends vs means . . .


    Ok, I’ll maunder myself to a close now.

  65. idleprimate

    no rotting you bastard! get the fuck well.

  66. Mr Camm

    Irregardless of the unforgivable pastry sadism, were they stray cat hairs or were they stray cat hairs? And did they have telescopes?

  67. Rommie

    Well, initially, you got me but GOOD. Got me into a state of anxiety. I read a few messages, but then scrolled up to have another look at the photo. That did NOT look like my idea of gangrene.

    Nevertheless, it was a relief to scroll down again, and read that it was a practical joke.

    Congratulations on one fine learning opportunity too – the psychology of all this. And, for those curious about what real gangrene looks like — many horrid pictures on the web, which look nothing like your “gangrene.”

    This post was as effective as the old news article in an April issue of a Macintosh magazine. Written at the height of the Macintosh /IBM Religious War. Article described in painful detail how IBM would be taking over Apple. It evoked fear, anger, and despair. Until the end of the article, of course.

  68. idleprimate

    breaking news: author Peter Watts was eaten by a mob of hungry fans

  69. Mirik Smit

    I found that fascinating too: exactly the same visual stimulus can make your mouth water or leave you tossing your cookies, depending on expectation. This started out a nothing but a juvenile joke, and yet I find it strangely educational…

    I sense the birth of a new field of learning; Juvenile Science.

    How many times a day do men think of sex and how to increase it? How can I teach people to throw up whilst smelling what was previously their most favourite meal? How can condition someone to perceive their spouse as permanently sexually unattractive (for the greater glory or poaching a babe)? How can I make a sane heterosexual develop homosexual tendencies (for the greater glory of humor and youtube)? How can I hypnotise a woman to orgasm by touch (even a small wind) alone, making her life a living-orgasm-hell/heaven hybrid? How can I make cats obsessively like my allergic neighbours perfume?

    I guess most of it already falls under behavioural psychology/economics, but it could be funny!

  70. 03

    Ouch, Peter!

    That was a fairly mean joke on your part

    I did laugh, however… Like, six hours later 🙂

  71. Außenseiter

    I was surprised that
    1) blurry picture- usually photographs here are good quality
    2) the wound looks so much smaller and
    3) gangrene looks like meatloaf..?
    (maybe not meatloaf but what we call sekaná..)
    No feelings of disgust, and I don’t ever toss my cookies – unless infected by something nasty.

    Then, I scored about 0.5 on the disgust scale.

  72. Billy Shaw

    Mmmmm, that looks positively delicious!

  73. Theo Stauffer

    Christ, almost lost it there!

  74. Sardonyx

    ew Peter!! you almost made me puke, and i was so proud of myself for surviving looking at previous ones!!

  75. Curtis G

    i thought that looked like strangely delicious leg rot…