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‘Jackass’ Anonymous

Published October 21, 2021 by Maryanne
Me at 25

Disclaimer: Do not try this at home.

My name is Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta. And I am a Jackass.

“Jackass” was a television show that aired three seasons on MTV, between 2000 and 2002. Back then I was having too much fun in my real life to pay attention and poo-poo’d the show as something I was above watching. Then when I started dating someone who was into the show — and the movies — I realized, “That’s me, I am a Jackass.”

As a kid, I wouldn’t say I was a tomboy. In fact, I was bad at most sports. But I did many things that were a bit daring, like somersaults on a balance beam in gymnastics class. I also loved Evel l Knievel and did pop-a-wheelies with my bike. And one time built a ramp so I could do some jumps.

We always had a pool and I could never master a perfect dive, but I could do a somersault in mid-air into the water. That was my “go-to” feat at parties. When everyone else was being boring eating and drinking beer, I was the one doing somersaults off the diving board into the lake.

“There she is, showing off again,” some jealous bitch would say.

Why was being natural showing off? I do not know. People have done way more exciting stunts. I was just doing what felt free and natural. But I did notice as I got closer to age 30, my back would be a bit tender after doing these flips.

Then there was the big one. The most Jackass thing I ever did — decades before Jackass. In the summer of 1989, at age 25, on a canoe trip, I jumped off a 100 foot bridge into the Delaware River (New Jersey). It was the most exhilarating thing. It was a greater high than jumping off the diving board because it took forever to hit the water. Then once I hit the water I went so deep I thought I wasn’t going to come up. Then when I did come up, I had to swim against a current. I swam and swam and swam and didn’t get anywhere. Next thing I knew, a guy was swimming towards me, to rescue me.

Many people cheered. I was the first girl who ever jumped off that bridge, at that time. (The next year another girl did it).

Then when I thought it was all over, a cop was waiting for me and the two other guys who also jumped. There were signs everywhere that said “No jumping.” I honesty didn’t see them because I took out my contacts lens to do the jump (I didn’t want to lose them).

The cops didn’t arrest me (or the two guys). He gave one of them a ticket for all three of us. And that was that.

Later we all got to talking. I was so lucky. There were vessels under the water. I didn’t hit one. I was also lucky I didn’t crack my tailbone. I was also told, down the line, I’d “pay” for what I did. Aches and pains would show up later in life.

But that didn’t stop me. The next summer I was swinging from a rope on a tree over a river. And let’s not forget skateboarding and jumping on rollerblades.

Little by little, I slowed down, but never turned down a good opportunity to do my flips. In later years, it was no longer into water, but on hotel beds and couches. Children loved me at parties. I’d be the adult playing with them and pushing my limits. I was also big into yoga, getting myself into admirable positions. In my 40s, and even 50s, I felt immortal.

I am now 58 and feeling a bit…defeated. Last week I felt a small lump on the back of my neck and had it checked out. I got x-rays and I have arthritis in my neck. The chriopractor said it was from sports. I guess you could consider all my Jackass stunts “sports.” I never saw myself as an athletic person. Nor did I ever think any of this stuff I did was a big deal. I thought doing it showed I was healthy and flexible. I never in my wildest dreams thought it would catch up to me. Most of this stuff I hadn’t thought about in years. But when the chiropractor said my issues were due to what I did in the past, I thought long and hard. I also remembered I was in two car accidents and never got x-rays. I’m not beating myself up. Many young people believe they are immortal. This is normal. We don’t think we’ll get old.

But time marches on. Everything catches up to everyone. I now feel aches in my neck. Luckily I don’t struggle with back pain. But maybe someday I will. God only knows. The chiropractor wanted me to get a full spine x-ray. I did yesterday and await the results. The good news, he said, was that I have great posture and am in good shape. Most of his patients are overweight.

I recently read about a man who struggled with arthritis and due to becoming vegan his pain went away. I’m a fairly new vegan, and I believe my pain will be managed as well. I think my neck hurts because of the stress — discovering the lump (thinking maybe it’s cancer), going from primary care doctor to a dermatologist to x-rays to acupuncture to a chiropractor to more x-rays all in the course of a week. It was exhausting.

I’m told to stretch, stretch, stretch. I always thought I was a stretcher. I do yoga every day. But I guess it’s not enough. The older you get, the more you have to put into your body. I thought I was doing so much, but now I need to do more. I was also told that being a professional writer for over 25 years, it has it’s wear and tear on the neck as well. The chiropractor sees this in many professions – like hairstyling and accounting. Anything that needs intense focusing. While writing my books, I’d work hours straight without getting up for a drink or to go to the bathroom. So, it all makes sense.

Do I regret becoming a writer? No way. Do I regret my Jackass stunts? No. It was all good for my spirit. The lesson here is not regrets, but to live with what I have to work with. And moving forward, I will. But I really do wish there was a Jackass Anonymous, so I can talk to others who have done kinda crazy things in their youth and realize I am not alone.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at:

She is the author of the following books:

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit:Be (Extra)Ordinary

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: I Don’t Want To Be Like You

Her fiction book “Love Cats” second printing is now available, under the pen name Krystianna Mercury, from Pink Flamingo. You can purchase it here: Love Cats

Corpse Bride

Published August 29, 2012 by Maryanne

I feel guilty and please God forgive me!

I’m a good person with a big heart. I’m all for happy endings. For the most part, I don’t make fun of people. I don’t gossip. I don’t laugh at people’s misfortunes. I love animals. And I’m so sentimental even a parade can make me cry.

I don’t like to hear anything bad happen to anyone. It truly does break my heart.


My first reaction to the story about the Canadian bride getting water-logged and drowning to her death after going in the water wearing her wedding gown as she participated in a dumb tradition called “Trash the Dress” was LAUGHTER.

First of all, I call this tradition “DUMB” because it’s attention-seeking-keeping-up-with-the-joneses-narcissistic bullshit. Women feel they will never wear the dress again, so they try to do something they consider “artsy” with the dress and have it photographed.

This isn’t something I consider cool or admirable.

If you’re not going to ever wear a dress again that costs thousands of dollars, I have a ton of ideas for you. Why not give the dress to someone less fortunate? Why not sell the dress and give the money to cancer research? Why not SAVE the dress to remember your special day? Hell, I merely eloped and I’m saving my wedding outfit, including the shoes!

The dumb feat is so “me” — not “we” — oriented. A woman who got married just a few months ago should be floating on air  because of the attention she gets from her husband. She shouldn’t be doing childish things that beg for attention. Can we say “insecure”?

I question the security of half these marriages.

And getting rid of a very expensive dress is a slap in the face to the person who paid for the dress. What do all the mothers of the brides think about this “tradition” — I’d love to know.

As a middle-aged fool who now gets choked up and cries about almost anything, I have to admit I am surprised at my reaction of laughter to this incident. But, c’mon, we all know what happens when material gets wet. This story was just so absurd, the compassion in me took a holiday — which is so rare for a naturally compassionate person. The whole ultra-ridiculousness of it all stroked my funny bone — to the hilt!

Or maybe I’m just laughing at these idiots like I would laugh at the Jersey shore morons, with a roll of the eye and shake of the head.

But I have to admit, there’s another reason I found this story funny.

It reminded me of when I was a little girl. I used to play Batman with my Uncle Duke.

One day while we were playing Batman, Uncle Duke decided to jump in the swimming pool with his “cape” (a large beach towel)  wrapped around his neck.



And the heavy wet cape around his neck almost choked him to death as he fought to come back up from under the water!

My poor uncle almost drowned, but what a way to go! It was hysterical!

I guess the moral of this story is, I think common people — both rich and poor —  should just accept that they are mere common people and leave the Jackass attention-grabbing stunts to Johnny Knoxville and Steve O. — who I’m sure will leave us with a damn good laugh too when they kick the bucket via their stunts.

And at least I won’t feel nearly as bad for finding humor in it!