Every year at the Gathering, there's at least one person who does something so terrifyingly absurd that they become a minor weekend celebrity. Like the Juggalette Who (Repeatedly) Ejaculated on Command. Or the Juggalo Who Took Ecstasy Up the Butt (Then Sucked Tequila from a Beer Bong and Vomited). Or my personal favorite, the Juggalo Who Spent a Month Walking to the Gathering from the West Coast.
This year's human spectacle was the Guy Who Cut Off His Nipples. His name's Adam Roberts. His right nipple was removed on Saturday afternoon. With a scalpel. In front of a crowd. For $100.
“I’ve been getting mixed responses,” admitted Adam the following day. “Alotta, ‘What the fucks?’”
Here's what the fuck. About 10 days ago, Adam's friends back home in Alton, Illinois offered to pay him cash to cut off a nipple, thinking he’d never do it. The 25-year-old has extensive body-modification plans—his face is already a tattooed corpse-paint mask—and he intended to have his nipples removed someday. This usually costs money, so Adam figured he was saving if he did it on a monetary dare. “I’d rather get paid than pay,” he reasoned. His cousin sliced the left one off right there.
For that feat, he profited $58—though he thinks he’ll ultimately earn more for the actual severed papilla. “I got a buddy who's buying it to put it in his living room as a conversation piece,” he explained. They’re still negotiating a price. In the meantime, the soon-to-be centerpiece is sealed in a plastic bag back in Adam’s home freezer.
Once that sale happened, Adam’s other friends wanted to buy his remaining nipple. “I was like, ‘Welp, I'm going to try to auction it off at the Gathering,” he recalled, laughing. “I didn't know I could sell them.” His friend J.T., who cut it off at the JumpOff Stage, bought it for $100. He wants to patch the preserved nipple onto his hat. (A photo of Adam's nipple in a plastic bag is here.)
Standing along a dirt pathway with his megaphone-barking friends, Adam eagerly pulled down the neck of his grey tank top. Where his right nipple used to be was a fleshy red raw circle. (I gagged.) The left side looked like a cigar burn. His torso was covered in red speckles—this weekend, he’d also been stapling dollar bills to his chest.
“I handle pain differently than a lot of people do,” he reasoned. “It doesn't really bother me that much.”
In conversation, Adam seems like a genuinely sweet kid. He speaks with a lisp; when people recoil at his stunts, he elicits a hoarse giggle. He currently works on a factory assembly-line in Granite City, Illinois. Before that, he says he had a slew of other vocations: rehab work, selling life insurance, running a store, and studying music production full-time student. On the side, he makes techno and dubstep tracks under the alias Tek Kno Kng.
About two years ago, he got his face tattooed and he's still acclimating to the response. “I walk through stores sometimes and I'll see parents blocking their kids' eyes,” he said. “I don't mind it, but it's kind of like, ‘I wonder what the hell do they think I am?’ I’m not something to cover your kids' eyes from—and most kids love me.” He doesn't care if the menacing design is misleading. “The people who do that—I just laugh at their ignorance,” he said. “I don't believe in judging people at all.” (Update: As it turns out, Adam was the star of a viral mugshot from March.)
It was around six o'clock in the evening and two young women approached Adam to talk about his missing nipples.
“This girl I know once ate a pile of horse shit for $100,” one said.
The other girl squinted in disgust. "Eww." But then she reconsidered. “One hundred dollars is kind of a lot, if you think about it.”
Adam winced. "I don't know if I could eat a pile of shit for $100,” he said. “That’s gross.”
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