Friday, November 21, 2008

D-10: Things are Getting Weird

Anyone who has ever served in the military knows this; bored men are their own worst enemy. With only 10 days left before I begin my journey home, and my duties nearly completely turned over to my relief, I took upon myself to gallantly drive this point home.

It started with someone telling a tale of a fight they once participated in, in which they learned what it felt like to get punched in the face. Due to the competitive nature of story-telling, the remaining four men in the room took turns telling their stories of pain. I contributed my timeless classic of getting pepper-sprayed machine-gun style by the State College P.D. in Beaver Canyon following the Nittany Lions’ defeat of Miami in 1999. I was counter by my friend Matt, who was twice tasered in the same night by a bouncer at a bar.

That story trumped us all, and we asked a myriad of question about the physical sensations of being tased. Obviously, one thing led to another, and I realized that I was in an Army infantry battalion and had access to virtually every weapon known to man. No sooner than my friend mentioned that his Platoon Sergeant once allowed his troops to tase him, did that very Sergeant walk in the door. I took this as fate, and without thinking (as is my custom), I asked “Hey, Sergeant P, you wanna tase me?”

Well, good old Sergeant P didn’t need much convincing; he said “why?”

I answered, “Because I want to know what it feels like.”

“I’ll go get my gun.”

I gathered up an audience and a video camera, and we staged some dirty mattresses and blankets around the front porch. My buddy Nate, like a good buddy ought to, decided that no one should be tased alone, and agreed to join me.

I wanted to go first, but as I was showing someone how to operate the camera, he stood in front of the mattresses and declared himself ready. I aimed the camera at him, and Sergeant P raised his weapon, and fired his first shot. Somehow, he missed, and the two barbs sailed over Nate’s shoulder, narrowly missing his neck (which would have been excruciating), and falling just short of hitting a spectator in the leg.

He reloaded, and his second shot hit Nate square in the back; he screamed and immediately fell backward with his body frozen, hands pinned to his sides, and chin tucked into his chest. Unfortunately, the soft mattress landing zone was in front of him, and he landed on the hard tile with a dull thud, his head just missing the door-jam of the open front door. Gasps of horror and roars of laughter filled the air.

Learning from Nate’s mistake, we re-arranged the mattresses, so that I had a landing pad both in front of me and behind me. With my back to Sergeant P, I stood in the middle; I was terrified.

I heard the loud electric pop of the gun just an instant before pain coursed through my entire body, my vision flashing white. Like Nate, I fell straight back, unlike Nate, I landed on a Mattress. My neck snapped as my head bounced, and Sergeant P shut the gun down and I was instantly relieved. I rolled around in pain, my whole body was sore from the combination of the tasing and the fall, and my back was screaming where the two fishhook-like barbs penetrated – about two inches left of my spine, half way up my back. I rolled over until I was on all fours, laughing and groaning, begging anyone to pull the barbs out.

Nate’s shot hit him right on the spine, which while extremely uncomfortable, at least prevented very deep penetration, allowing the barbs to be pulled out effortlessly. I was less fortunate, my shot landed in the meatiest part of my back, and the barbs buried themselves as deep as they would go. My friends yanked them out without much bedside manner, and I felt the blood trickle down my back as soon as I stood up.

That all took place about an hour ago, my back still hurts where it was pierced, my neck is a little bit sore, and I have a small headache. But I proved that I am extremely cool, and I have an awesome video to prove it. Totally worth it.

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