The Worst Day Of My Life Was One Year Ago Today

Hurray! Today is the one year anniversary of the worst day of my life so I feel like we should write about it as some sort of therapeutic exercise and then maybe I can move or something like that. Maybe I should just write this and delete it but I won’t because I have dedicated the last 15 years of my life to oversharing… why stop now?

One year ago today was the memorial service for my good friend DJ Jess. He was one of the first people to hire me as a photographer in New York and had such a huge impact on my life that I could never fully express it. You can read this thing I wrote about him last year if you want to see me try.

I wanted everyone to know about his memorial service so I posted on Twitter that it was going to be at Webster Hall and that I would be there. This might have been a mistake because as I was walking into the club a woman tapped me on the shoulder. She said “Are you Nate Igor Smith?” I told her I was and she said “I am a huge fan of your website.  I have something for you…. You’ve been served.” She handed me a stack of papers and then ran full speed away from me.

Before I even could comprehend what happened a sheriff  tapped me on the other shoulder and told me I had to sign something saying I received the notice that I had been sued. The whole thing was like a scene in a move. I asked the sheriff “Who the fuck serves someone at a funeral?” and he was actually weirdly apologetic.

So I go inside Webster and I start reading this lawsuit. I am not really going to talk about the details of it but basically I was being sued by a former client and another person for something that I had almost nothing to do with. I spent the entire memorial service going back and forth between trying to mourn my lost friend and thinking about how fucked up this law suit was. I don’t think I ever really had the opportunity to mourn Jess but it was one of the most painful hours of my life.

From Webster a bunch of us went over to Beauty Bar for a drink and then eventually we ended up at another bar. When I decided I had to go home I mentioned that I had to go to my girlfriend’s apartment and move my car over to my place. My friend told me to be careful because he thought I was drinking. I explained that I was totally sober and my girlfriend lived walking distance from my place I just mostly needed to move the car across the street so it wouldn’t get towed.

(Quick sidebar about the car… I didn’t actually own a car. It was my parents car that I borrowed because they were moving and I had to get a ton of stuff out of their basement. The car was still half filled with boxes of stuff from my childhood.)

As I was parking the car a man who had stolen a SUV was being chased by the cops. He tried to make it around me but he hit an idling car bounced off it and crashed into the driver side rear of my car. It turned the wheel 90 degrees and snapped the axel in two. He then proceeded to hit several more cars before being caught by the cops a few blocks a way.

The side air bag was the worst part. It felt like I had been punched in the head. I couldn’t hear out of my right ear and I don’t think I noticed how bad the whiplash was. I wouldn’t notice that until three days later when I couldn’t get out of bed. After the ambulance came and the police came I had to get the boxes out of the car before it could be towed. Right as I started getting the boxes out it started pouring rain. I actually started laughing which confused the hell out of the cops.

Two days later I was feeling pretty shitty but I had playoff hockey tickets and a bunch of friends and I went out to Long Island to see our Washington Capitals take on the Islanders. We lost the game in overtime which was pretty awful but we had an even worse experience. I wrote about our shitty treatment at the game and sent it to a few friends and within 45 minutes it had gone viral. ESPN, Sports Illustrated and every local outlet picked up the story. I was getting, no joke, over 100 Tweets a minute at some point that very night. I got death threats and people talking shit to me non stop for a week.

The next morning I woke up and my back had completely locked up. I couldn’t really move. I was supposed to work that night but I had to cancel. I just stayed in bed. Luckily my hockey team was winning so I had a reason to suck up the pain and go watch with my friends.

Less than two weeks later my girlfriend broke up with me via text.

A few days later the Capitals lost in overtime of game 7 against the other local team the New York Rangers.

I am a pretty passionate sports fan, but with everything in my life going so horribly wrong the hockey playoffs were the only thing I had that was positive in my life. When they lost it hit me like no other sports moment ever had. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back and I no longer had a reason to get out of bed.

I spent the next six weeks or so barely leaving the house. Between my back and my depression and the looming lawsuit I sunk into the worst depression of my adult life. Coincidentally that time period was also really slow for work and I wasn’t exactly making an effort to find any new jobs. I gained probably 15lbs and I never really dealt with any of the shit I was going through. I didn’t really have anyone to talk to. I am still not sure I ever got over my ex. We are friendly but to this day we have never really had a real life conversation about the break up.

Now it’s a year later and my life is finally back on track. It took over 100 hours of billable legal hours but I got out of a lawsuit that the judge agreed I had at worst “minimal liability”. 2015 was the worst year of my life financially but 2016 has been a lot better. I just this week paid off my credit card debt that had climbed close to $10,000. I am still in a wild amount of debt from my lawsuit but that is manageable. My hockey team is in the playoffs again and while it will be disappointing if they don’t win all the games, I think I will be able to function as a human if they don’t. I lost most of that weight, I joined a new band, my last zine did really well and I am pretty sure Donald Trump isn’t actually going to be our next president.

So yeah, happy anniversary worst day of my life. Here’s hoping today is a good one.




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Comments (1)


  1. Jorge
    July 29th, 2017 | 11:16 pm

    well Igor sadly Trump is president
    Depression has me in a rut as well
    had some stupid things happen to
    me at a funeral too
    figured I would say something since
    reading about your Friend brought me here.

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