“Yeah, I was going way faster than anyone should ever go on a moped. I was being quite a dumbass. About 60mph, I’m pretty sure? 10 miles over the speed limit”.
At or around 3:45am on Wednesday, June 29 2016, 19-year-old DC native Lauren ‘Duck’ Scott smashed into the median strip dividing San Diego's Cannon Road. Like the city itself, this arterial passage between Faraday Avenue and El Camino Real never stops moving, but Lauren’s accident halted traffic in either direction for hours.
“The scooter was a piece of shit, too. It would always start shaking for no reason. I thought it was pretty exhilarating seeing how fast I could go”. In doing so, she went hurtling into a roadway sign at such an angle her left arm was sheared from her body just below the shoulder.
“I ended up dying for a minute, which is debatably the most exhilarating thing you can do” – Lauren ‘Duck’ Scott
“I ended up dying for a minute,” she adds, "which is debatably the most exhilarating thing you can do, am I right? It was the second moped I owned. The first one was stolen two weeks before, which should have been a sign that I shouldn’t be driving the death machine”.
Now 20, Lauren made the news again when she decided to burst her personality all over Tinder in August this year. It took Reddit one day to find her profile. The rest is history, and headlines.
Lauren bounced between anorexia and bulimia as an adolescent and has “battled with depression since I can remember,” much of which she attributes to “drug and alcohol abuse at a young age,” which investigators suspected was the reason for her accident.
“It started in my freshman year of high school, although I had body image issues long before that,” she says. “Everyone always complimented me for being skinny so I figured the only logical thing to do was get even skinnier. I realised Adderall was a helpful supplement for this and started going days without eating, which also makes you lose your fucking mind so 0/10 recommend that diet method”.
everyone was like “lauren you fucking idiot don’t get a scooter you’re going to die” and jokes on them l only lost a 10 pound body part— DUCK (@DuckFanAccount) November 29, 2017
Lauren is not unique because of any of this, or because she’s missing a limb. The only reason she’s alive is because she wanted to die. The only reason she didn’t was because attending Carlsbad Police Department officers Reid Shipley and Stephen Brown had just been trained in the use of now-standard tourniquets two weeks prior. The only reason they’d received that training is because the US is always at war with someone, somewhere. As a result, their military’s ‘tactical combat casualty care’ has become highly advanced and is now starting to see domestic use.
After suffering a horrific injury, Lauren has reimagined herself not despite it, or even in spite of it, but – “I hated my life before my accident” – maybe just to spite everything.
“After I lost my arm I saw everything in a new light. I had a new appreciation for life. I saw how much people really cared about me” – Lauren Scott
“I was doing drugs every day, working a job I fucking hated and dating guys that I had no interest in at all,” she says. “I thought about killing myself every day. I didn’t have a relationship with anyone in my family and was taking out all of my anger towards life on people that didn’t deserve it whatsoever. After I lost my arm I saw everything in a new light. I had a new appreciation for life. I saw how much people really cared about me. I saw how resilient and strong I could be when put into the most difficult situation imaginable. I've always loved the saying, Que sera, sera – whatever will be, will be – and I really utilise that. If I can live through dying, what can’t I do?”
A more lively, naked amputee you've rarely seen unless you’ve really gone looking.
“I just don’t think nudity is a big deal and I look pretty good so fuck it,” she says. “I’ve been doing nudes ever since I turned 18, but me missing a limb obviously brings a lot more attention to them. I sell an 18+ Snapchat subscription, so it also gets me buttloads of patrons, it’s a win-win. People get pretty worked up about it and the psychology behind strangers giving more of a fuck than I do is pretty interesting. It doesn’t really phase me, though. The negative comments come with the territory of having 100k followers and a missing body part.”
Comments online range from “You’re pretty for having one arm” to “I’d still smash”. In person, she does spin her eyes at the occasional “You're still pretty”.
Then there are the fetishists.
“They’re called ‘devotees’,” she says. “They are obsessed with us amputees and they’re incredibly obnoxious and insensitive 90 per cent of the time. Some are cool, though, I’ll give a few of ‘em props. Apotemnophiliacs are fucking wack jobs. I guess it’s a mental illness, but I have very little sympathy for it. I watched a documentary about it once. People try to get into accidents bad enough to have to get a limb amputation or cut off their own fingers and shit. Sometimes I think it’s funny to tell people I was an apotemnophiliac and I cut my arm off on purpose”.
She thinks for a moment. “Someone recreating my moped accident with shitty Sims animation is the weirdest shit I’ve ever seen on the internet in general. My jaw dropped when I saw it. I laughed pretty hard. I want to meet the freak who thought that was a good idea.”
Then there is God, and strangers’ determination for Him to be in her life.
“My friend Justice and I go to this restaurant a lot for breakfast, a peaceful environment to do some wheatgrass shots in. Until this day it was a slightly subpar utopia really. I noticed the lady immediately when she walked in the place. My friend actually commented that she looked pretty cool. She walked over to us and asked if she could pray for us, and before we had a chance to consent she was going in. She started crying and said she was praying my arm would grow back. It sounded so ludicrous I started laughing. I found the notion a little offensive and ironic. Doesn’t god do everything for a reason? I'm not religious at all but I’m also not atheist. I know when I died for a minute, I didn’t see shit.”
She is, apparently, seeing a lot of people. At least, that can be the implication at times. She shouts out to her "faithful boyfriends."
“I’ll be real with you, I’m not really seeing anyone. I like to tweet shit that stirs people up for my own personal entertainment. Talking about men always seems to do the job. A lot of people on Twitter think I’m an extreme man-hater but truthfully I love men! I think they’re precious. With that being said, I’m not interested in any type of relationship with anyone but myself at the moment. I need a healthier internal relationship before I can worry about that junk."
She’s thoughtful and quiet for a moment. “My arm missing has been no problem in any way, in any aspect of my life. If anything, my relationships have been much more honest and healthy since I lost it. Before the accident, I had a terrible substance abuse problem so I was very detached from romantic relationships. The first six months after the accident I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about sex and intimacy in general after recovery, but I moved back out to California and dating was extremely natural.
“Man, I don’t care,” she says. “No arms or four arms, if you’re cool of course I’d date you. People are so much more than their ‘disabilities’, and as a decent person I would never discriminate based on something so trivial. People who have been through some shit tend to be the most interesting. If anyone doesn’t want to date you based on that, life’s better without them. In the words of Brother Ali: You would probably bore me anyway.”
It’s an attitude that sometimes complements the community, such as it is, that she’s become a part of by coming apart.. Lauren instructionally filming herself tying her shoes resonates.
"Yeah,” she laughs, “but if I’m being totally honest I usually ask my roommate to tie my shoes. It’s a pain in the ass to try to do at parties and the gym. I have the skill in my back pocket though in case of a shoe-tying emergency. I get a lot of really positive messages from other amputees. People with disabilities get very little representation and I don’t think it’s very often they see a naked amputee on their timeline. Shortly after my limb loss I connected with a limb-different model, actress and overall badass, Angel Giuffria, who helped me a lot through it all. She also has a really fucking cool prosthetic arm that I’m super jealous of.”
Which goes some way to explaining why – though Lauren feels enabled by her disability – (“I love my nub”) she’s also set up a GoFundMe so she can afford a prosthetic arm, which also goes some way to explaining The Tiny Hand (see above).
“I buy them in bulk from Amazon. I can send you some if you’d like. I’m thinking of customising my tiny hands and selling them. I tie them to my sleeves sometimes and try to have casual conversation with strangers. People either find it funny or get uncomfortable, both reactions I rather enjoy.”