Saturday, November 26, 2011

Electrocuting Myself...On Purpose

I found myself at my in-laws for Thanksgiving with the worst, most persistent headache I have had in quite some time.  After some semi-expert self diagnosis, I determined that it was caused by a nerve I had pulled in my neck or shoulder.  This diagnosis was very scientific, requiring experimentation and hypothesizing...the whole scientific method.  (My wife rubbed my neck and shoulders and the headache went away...temporarily)  Shady as science goes, but good enough for me. 
Being that I was in a room full of children and family, all trying to enjoy the holidays, I was not excited about being the old fart with a weird ailment.  But, there I was, sitting in a recliner, trying my best to be chipper while my head pounded away like a overzealous Bandie in the percussion section.  I had tried  several over the counter pain medications to no avail and my loving wife's hands were going to cramp up if I let her rub my shoulders one more time.
So what to do...
Electrocute myself apparently.

My Uncle in-law, I'm not sure if that is actually a real name for a relative but I'm going with it, noticed my suffering and mentioned that when he had a similar problem with his back, he had tried something called transdermal stimulation.  And as luck would have it, my host happened to have one of the contraptions on hand.  What is transdermal stimulation you may ask?  Well, you place these small pads on the area of your body where you're having trouble and a machine applies a small tingling electric shock that contracts your muscles, stimulates blood flow and relieves the pain.  Willing to try anything once, I applied the stick pads, turned on the juice and as my muscles tingled and twitched, the pain in my head began to vanish.
Now, with my pain subsided and armed with a devious new toy, my Peter Pan complex took over and I regressed back into my old self again.  Here I was with a room full of people and a device that made muscles involuntarily contract.  What to do?
After some trial and error I found the perfect spot on my biceps and began to turn up the intensity.  Laughing at myself as much as the audience, I proceed to smack myself in the face as the electricity forced my arms to contract.  You would think that I would have stopped there, after all I had gotten a laugh with minimal injury to myself, but you would be wrong.  I then proceeded to place the pads on various parts of my neck to force myself to answer questions with involuntary nods and shakes.
I have no idea why this was as funny as it was and no idea whether it will translate in a blog post, but if you trust me at all, believe me it was funny.  What's even more amusing however, was the reaction of the children as I performed my little stunt for them.  While the adults all laughed heartily, the children simply starred at me with perfectly normal expressions, no doubt wondering why it was so funny.  I tried explaining how I wasn't actually smacking myself in the face, that the machine was doing it, but they either didn't believe me or didn't care.  What was even more disconcerting though, and even more amusing to me, was the fact that despite not understanding what I was doing, none of them asked me why I was doing it.  To them, it was perfectly acceptable that their father/uncle Brandon was hitting himself in the face.
Why share this with you?  Not so that you will all go out and purchase one of these devises and see if you can make yourself walk (I tried but the machine wasn't strong enough for large leg muscles).  No, I share in the hope that you can imagine me smacking myself in the face and laugh a little yourself.  After all, my headache did go away and they say laughter is the best medicine.  Although, now that I think about it, it might have been easier just to smack myself in the face from the beginning and save a great deal of wasted time being grumpy.  Oh, well.  Maybe next time.  Be sure to check out you copy of Scarlet and the Keepers of the Light.

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Scarlet Hopewell