Opening phrase of choice for stories swapped at wilderness medicine training sessions. Such stories usually involve puncture wounds, dislocated limbs, and all manner of thrilling and nauseating details of injury, improvised medical treatment, and rescue. Usually told over lunch.

Journalist Michael Hodgson has used this title for his 1994 anthology of outdoor adventure tales highlighting the mishaps and stupidity of raft guides and thrillseekers in the backcountry. ISBN: 0934802971.

The phrase is also used by skydivers and the military, to introduce stories of mishaps.

Grammatically, it would appear that the sentence is answering the query, "No shit?" or "Are you shitting me?" However, the phrase has become canonical in the subcultures in which it is used, in the same manner as "Once upon a time..." and thus requires no introductory question to use.

A classic story, commonly told in the MIT Assassins' Guild. The original storyteller had been in the Guild before he left for the Air Force, and came back and told this story at the Guild meeting in 1987. Today, almost every Guild member has his or her own version of the story, and it's become a popular incant in some Guild games. It was once even turned into a half-hour-long sermon. This is the story as he tells it:

Names have been left out to protect the not-so-innocent. This can be rectified if the original author or someone who knows him tells me to. Or, for that matter, I can remove his version and put in my own.

Everyone in the military, from the greenest buck private to the grizzled old war veteran, has his or her own version of the "No shit, there I was..." story. Such stories begin with the indicated phrase and go on to detail all manner of the teller's exploits.

I went to MIT on an Air Force ROTC scholarship, and ended up being commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force upon graduating. My first real duty station was at Offutt Air Force Base, south of Omaha, Nebraska. I was staying at the Bachelor Officers' Quarters, which was right next to the Officers' Club. The first night I was on base I wandered over to the club to drink a couple of beers and yell at the stupid contestants on "Jeopardy" on the TV and saw, when I entered, that there were only two other guys in the bar -- clearly telling the pilot's version of the Story, because it started with "No shit, there I was, flying straight and level at thirty thousand" and degenerated into a whole bunch of pantomime hand waving indicating intricate aerial maneuvers. I didn't want to just sit at the bar and be anti-social, so I sat down with these guys. Pretty soon it became clear that I'd have to tell them my Story in order to gain their acceptance. So I made one up on the spot, and it goes like this:

No shit, there I was, pinned down by a deadly hail of enemy fire. It was actually just me and this one other guy, out on that little-known island on the end of the Hawaiian chain -- you know the one, Kamaunawaunalaya -- where we were fighting the forces of the evil Wan Hung Lo. It was hot that morning, but dry, and there we were, with nothing between us except a roll of duct tape and a box of Frosted Dutch Apple Pop-Tarts -- in their original foil wrapping.

I'll bet there's one thing you didn't know about Frosted Dutch Apple Pop-Tarts -- in their original foil wrapping.

They lase.

So where was I? Did I mention it was a dry heat? Oh, yeah.

So we made ourselves a Frosted Dutch Apple Pop-Tart laser -- see, we used the duct tape to tape an extra layer of foil on one end of the Pop-Tart, so it would know which end to shoot out of -- made ourselves that laser, shot our way out of there, and I'm here to tell you about it today.

That other guy I was with? Guy named MacGyver? Aw, he's a wimp. I taught him everything he knows.

So like you can imagine, that story went over about as well with those pilots as it did with you.

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