Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humiliation

Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humiliation

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by Aisha Tyler

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self-inflicted wound (n): a spectacularly humiliating, and often hilarious, incident entirely of one's own making.
see also: you did it to yourself.

Have you ever made a decision you instantly regretted? Humiliated yourself in a room of your peers, or shamed yourself in front of your massive crush? Ever blown a job interview, frozen

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self-inflicted wound (n): a spectacularly humiliating, and often hilarious, incident entirely of one's own making.
see also: you did it to yourself.

Have you ever made a decision you instantly regretted? Humiliated yourself in a room of your peers, or shamed yourself in front of your massive crush? Ever blown a job interview, frozen during a presentation, acted like a total idiot on a date? Ever said the wrong thing at the wrong time, unable to keep your tongue from flapping out the stupidest words you've ever said in your life, ever? If you are a human being, the answer, of course, is yes. Take heart. You're not alone. This is known as the Self-Inflicted Wound, and every one of us bears a scar. Or several.

Here, Aisha Tyler, comedian, actress, cohost of CBS's The Talk, star of Archer, and creator of the top-ranked podcast Girl on Guy, serves up a spectacular collection of her own self-inflicted wounds. From almost setting herself on fire, to vomiting on a boy she liked, to getting drunk and sleeping through the SATs, to going into crushing debt to pay for college and then throwing away her degree to become a comedian, Aisha's life has been a series of spectacularly epic fails. And she's got the scars to prove it. Literally.

Through it all, Aisha's triumphs haven't come in spite of the failures, but because of them. Because with every failure comes a lesson learned, a strength revealed, a fear overcome, or an adventure braved. Self-Inflicted Wounds isn't just about surviving failure. It's about embracing failure—pursuing it, even—on the winding path to success. And after you've failed a time or three, hopefully you'll have learned something. Or at the very least have a really killer story. Because to err is human, but to fail epically is hilarious.

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Editorial Reviews

Entertainment Weekly
“In her new book, Aisha Tyler embarrasses and humiliates herself for 231 pages—to our extreme reading pleasure.”
Adam Carolla
“Aisha Tyler is one of the smartest, funniest women I’ve had the good fortune of meeting. She makes me laugh every time I see her—and this is coming from the guy who thinks women aren’t funny.”
Margaret Cho
“A beautifully tortured and sick-with-self-consciousness manifesto of regret. I’m equal parts proud and embarrassed for Aisha Tyler, which doesn’t get in the way of my loving her, as you will when you read Self-Inflicted Wounds.”
Anthony Bourdain
“Self-inflicted wounds are the nastiest, most painful, and most likely to fester. Also the funniest. Aisha brings back every awful, suicidally stupid, shameful, and all-too-familiar episode of a life well lived. Reading this book made me feel a lot better about myself. Prepare to be horrified—and entertained.”
Felicia Day
“One of the most kick-ass women I know, Aisha Tyler hilariously rips herself open and shows you her guts. On the schadenfreude scale, Self-Inflicted Wounds is a ten.”
Patton Oswalt
“Good God. The Amazon can write. And write well. We are doomed.”
Dave Eggers
“For once, Patton is correct. Aisha Tyler is one funny son of a bitch.”
Sharon Osbourne
“The first time I met Aisha I felt we could have been sisters. Tall, beautiful, African-American, comedienne…after reading Self-Inflicted Wounds I found we had more in common: setting the house on fire, peeing ourselves in public, and an endless list of people we’ve offended in some way.”
Andy Richter
“If you’re the type of sicko who enjoys a hilariously talented person debasing herself for your amusement, then Self-Inflicted Wounds is the book for you.”
Jay Chandrasekhar
“Aisha Tyler’s book, Self-Inflicted Wounds, is an uplifting, hilarious trek through her life of insults, agonies and failures. Each story is not only painfully funny, but it’s also thoughtful and stunningly candid. I really do love this book.”
Seth Green
“We all do stupid stuff, sometimes on purpose. But rarely do we ever talk about it, let alone publish an in-depth retelling-leave it to Aisha Tyler to help us all feel a little less dumb and a little more connected.”
author Touré
“Aisha is living proof that for nerdy outsiders things really do get better. But, in her case, before they got better, they got a whole lot worse. It’s impossible not to laugh while reading Self-Inflicted Wounds. It’s also impossible not to worry about Aisha’s mental health.”
Baratunde Thurston
“What Aisha says about embracing your fear and using mistakes to forge character is beautiful. What she says about Oprah is unforgivable.”
Bill Burr
“Aisha Tyler’s incredibly vivid stories of going for big air only to land flat on her face (or possibly a rusty spike) are a unique combination of cringe-worthy and inspiring. That she shares these stories makes me love her all the more.”
Wayne Brady
“Self-inflicted wounds. We all have them, but no one exploits their own pain for the funny like Aisha Tyler.”
Chris Hardwick
“Aisha Tyler’s brain moves faster than a shock spell from the hands of a lightning mage. She is hilarious, hyper-articulate, and will kick your ass in Call of Duty. She is the life of the LAN party.”
Kirkus Reviews
An actress and comedian's episodic ruminations about the painful blunders that helped shape her as a person and a successful stand-up comic. For Tyler, comedians are a breed apart--"lack of shame is our superpower [and] humiliation is fuel for [our] art." She demonstrates her commitment to her calling by transforming stories drawn from her life into fodder for laughter. The daughter of two African-American vegetarian hippies, Tyler was "seven kinds of weird" from the start. She was also an accident-prone bungler. When she was just 5 years old, she managed to slice herself from "nose to navel" after getting thrown from a rusted hobbyhorse. At 7, she nearly set herself on fire and burned down her apartment after a kitchen experiment in deep-frying went hopelessly awry. Her teenage years were equally rife with embarrassments. Wearing clothes that made her look like "Boyz II Men had gotten in a fight with an angry thrift store," she managed such ignominious feats as getting followed, and then caught, by her father at an underground San Francisco nightclub, taking the SAT with a massive hangover, and spewing vomit on two boys she liked two separate times. Tyler did her first comedy sketch--which involved her dressing in drag as a drunken frat boy--for classmates at Dartmouth. From that point on, she was "completely in love" with comedy, although she would not pursue it seriously until after she discovered that working for a living "suck[ed] major ass." Tyler's work is refreshing not just for its unabashed candor, but also for its humorous insights into the human capacity for screwing up and bouncing back. Things "will go wrong. Terribly mind-blowingly wrong." But under no circumstances should it stop someone from pursuing their dreams. Smart, sassy and surprisingly wise.

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Product Details

Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date:
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Self-Inflicted Wounds

By Aisha Tyler

HarperCollins Publishers

Copyright © 2013 Aisha Tyler
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-06-222377-7

( 1 )
The Time I Cut Myself in Half
“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”—RUMI
“This is gonna need ointment.”—AI SHA TYLER
When I was about five years old, I stabbed myself in the chest.
Well, not exactly stabbed. More like sliced. Yes. I sliced myself nose
to navel, as if conducting a frog dissection in science class. Only with-
out the relatively sanitary tools, face protection, or pursuit of scientific
And, also, on myself.
I could say it wasn't my fault. I could protest that it was an accident—
unforeseen, unpredictable, unkind, unfair. None of that would be true.
I did this on purpose. I knew exactly what I was getting into. The
entire debacle was calculated, focused, and gleefully headlong.
Before you gasp in horror and thinly disguised pity, this was no
suicide attempt.1 I was not trying to gut myself. At the same time, I can
blame no one else for the bloody vertical striping that occurred.
I courted that stabbing, poked at it with a metaphorical stick,
1 People have called me a lot of things, but one word they have never used is depressed. I
am, fortunately or not, depending on your perspective, nauseatingly upbeat, disgustingly
cheery. Please, withhold your disdain. This is a genetic condition. Much like synesthetes or
people who love musical theater, this is just how I was born.

taunted it like a rangy pit bull behind a wobbly storm fence, mocking
and laughing as it slavered in captivity—right up to the moment the
dog leapt, snarling against the wire, knocking the fence to the ground
like a structure of drinking straws and me face-first into the dirt. Or,
more accurately, face-first into the hot, abrasive summer pavement.
Some might call such behavior stupid. They would be one hundred
percent right.
Here's the thing. I am uniquely, and occasionally quite stupidly,
fearless. I have never been afraid. Well, not truly afraid. I have had
moments of trepidation, acted tentatively on occasion. Tiptoed toward
my fate timorously, doubts creeping, internal alarms blaring. Occa-
sionally, I exercise a bit of caution. But more often, and to my sustained
chagrin, I run sprinting toward my own demise, without consideration
or forethought. I like to shoot first and ask questions about why there
is a bullet lodged deeply in my own foot much, much later.
So on this golden August day in my fifth year, I had been playing
outside in my Oakland neighborhood with a dusty scrum of local kids
in a completely unsupervised group, the way we used to in the good
old days, before the Internet told parents that this was a terrible idea2
and likely to result in your child being abducted by aliens or devoured
by wolves. We were all in various states of typically dirty late-summer
disarray: faces sticky with rivulets of many-hours-dried melted Popsi-
cle and festooned liberally with dirt, most shoeless and many shirtless,
including (inappropriately I suppose in hindsight) me.
Yes, I was running around a city neighborhood unchaperoned, on
hot pavement with bare feet, and worse still, a bare chest.3 Now, before
you jump into your time machine and call Child Protective Services,
get over your prissy self. It was the seventies. Kids ran around unsuper-
vised. This is before people felt the need to meticulously curate every
2 Along with kids riding the bus, doing their homework without parental “assistance” (read:
“doing it for them”), using a kitchen knife or an open flame before the age of seventeen, or
anything else that builds character, instills mental toughness or makes kids into actual people.
3 I was a five-year-old girl. I still had a “chest.” If you think it was inappropriate, you need
therapy. Also, you may need to look out your front window and see if Chris Hansen from To
Catch a Predator is lurking in your bushes waiting to strike.

minute of their child's day. In the morning during the summer, par-
ents opened the front door and forcibly ejected their children into the
street with five dollars and a firm admonition to come home when the
streetlights came on and not to run into oncoming traffic. This is just
how things were done. I suppose if we were rich, the nanny could have
followed behind us in the family's second minivan, but we weren't, and
she didn't, and that, my dear friends, is that.
So we were running around barefoot, narrowly avoiding puncture
wounds from the abundance of rusted nails and broken bottles strewn
liberally about the streets, fleeing rabid dogs and hissing cats and the
occasional loitering ne'er-do-well, and having the time of our fucking
lives. We climbed some trees, chased an ice cream truck, terrorized a
squirrel, picked up dried dog poop, threw rocks at things that break
when they are hit with rocks, and were generally on raging kindergar-
ten fire, when we found an alley. Sweet.
Naturally, it being an absolutely terrifying place, and me being
feckless and wild,4 I decided to go into that alley. And why the hell not?
After you've touched dried dog feces with your bare hands, nothing
much else troubles you. And in that alley, among empty fruit crates and
mosquito-infested puddles, we found . . . an abandoned hobbyhorse.
Abandoned! Who the hell leaves a perfectly good hobbyhorse just
lying around? I announced to the group. Heathens! Profligates! God-
less people, that's who!
I was a dramatic child.
We dragged this hobbyhorse from its dank hiding place and into
the street, the better to surround it with hard surfaces that might em-
brace a small person's tumble. We surveyed it briefly from all sides to
confirm that it was, indeed, in functioning order. And then, in turn,
we each hopped on board and rode that thing like a Hapsburg prince
on a Lipizzaner stallion. Springs have never clung to life so dearly, nor
groaned in protest

Excerpted from Self-Inflicted Wounds by Aisha Tyler. Copyright © 2013 Aisha Tyler. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humiliation 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Luke90210 More than 1 year ago
I wasn't familiar with Aisha Tyler before getting her book Self-Inflected Wounds. I found the writing to be excellent. Her stories of vomiting on a boy she had a crush on and getting drunk and sleeping through the SATs are amusing. Who of us hasn't made mistakes? Tyler has a likeable style that makes this a quick read. A very interesting path to fame that is sure to delight even the most casual interest.
IzzyBIB More than 1 year ago
Laugh Out Loud Funny! I couldn't put this book down and had to wipe tears from my eyes from laughing so much. A real feel good read.
EG678 More than 1 year ago
A darn good book!
bookchickdi More than 1 year ago
 Aisha Tyler is a standup comedienne, co-host of TV's The Talk, voices a character on FX's Archer, hosts Whose Line Is It Anyway and has a hugely popular podcast Girl on Guy. (She is a bit of an overachiever.) One of the features of her podcast is asking guests to recount a self-inflicted wound, something incredibly stupid that they have done in their lives. She turns the table on herself in this book, recounting her own self-inflicted wounds in humorous and touching essays.  I have seen Tyler at her various jobs, and always thought she was funny, but I never realized how smart she was. She is a terrific writer, and her misadventures on the way through life had me laughing out loud. She says that she wants "this book to inspire you to be yourself. I hope this book will encourage you to follow your dreams." It does do that. If this too tall, intelligent, nerdy girl with a smart mouth can succeed in a business where women are not often welcomed, you may have a shot at success in life too.She opens each chapter with a quote from someone smart, such as "The wound is the place where the light enters you"-Rumi, then one from her- "This thing is gonna need ointment", which opens the chapter "The Time I Cut Myself in Half", about the time when, as a child, she rode on a rusty, broken rocking horse she found in an alley and fell off, cutting her stomach wide open.You'll laugh and feel empathy for Tyler, and even recall your own self-inflicted wounds and realize they weren't that bad after all, and just maybe they help to make you the person you became. (A note to anyone who goes to lunch with Tyler- she has been known to throw up on people. Consider yourself warned.)
Teenster More than 1 year ago
I bought the audio version the DAY it came out! Then Barnes/Noble had it on sale on ebook, and I had to buy it for my Nook as well! I love Aisha! She's REAL!!! Buy this book and you will laugh!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Laugh outloud funny. I've always like Miss Taylor as a actress. I just started reafing it. If you don't know her watch her on The Talk on CBS. I would read more from her.
tootie_mari More than 1 year ago
I an not done reading this book as I have 3 books going and lot's going on, but it is a wonderful book . If you need a good laugh, this is a book for you. :)
JMTDiva More than 1 year ago
This book is such a refreshing change from all of the other celebrity aggrandizement..Aisha Tyler speaks to all of us and our very own 'oh no' moments in our lives. Highly recommended reading!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was looking forward to reading this because I love her as a host on 'Whose Line Is It Anyway.' However, the stories grew tiresome. Yes, we know, she has an Ivy League education, blah blah blah...but sometimes the stories could have moved along a lot faster without trying to say the same thing three ways just to show off her vocabulary. Although I thought her chapter on homeless people though was very heartfelt and made me re-examine how I feel about contributing to those less fortunate. I read that chapter three times. Anyway, just my .02.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a well written, funny book. Don't pass up the notes which are equally as funny. The author has a great vocabulary and she uses all of it. Sit back and enjoy. Judith
undie1 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed listening to Aisha Tyler tell her story. Very amusing and I could recognize some of those embarrassing situation. Liked her perception and wit.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A tad lengthy for the genre, but hilarious nonetheless. Her vocabulary is immaculate and the imagery is superb. Grade A entertainment!
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Really funny and down to earth.
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that dates me the base of most humor is cruel no one should feel a need to share these mom
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is this the best bn has to offer?