I like to give back.   In the past, I participated in mission retreats, helped built schools, and I usually brush my back hair before going to work, just because I’m a nice guy.  This is a story about giving, and how by being a giver, you can be an idiot.

During residency we had weekly educational meetings.   One fine week we had police come to explain control methods they use on the public when they act stupidly, but not quite stupidly enough to shoot them.   They showed us mace, rubber bullets, and then, of course, the TASER gun.

A hush fell over the semi-stunned ER residents when the police officer asked for a volunteer to be TASERed.  He had just educating us on how it worked.  A criminal or (ER resident) is shot with 2 darts from a gun traveling 300 feet/second sticking 2 barbed needles into your back.  50,000 volts of electricity (but only .36 amps) then courses through the body causing muscles to constrict 19 times per second, which completely incapacitates anyone struck.

Fun fact of the day: TASER stands for Thomas A. Swift’s Electronic Rifle; which is a fictional characters weapon of choice.  Go Wikipedia!


Courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taser

TASER Gun (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tazer)

So as the officer patiently waited, we started becoming jumpier.  Others started calling out names, but nobody stepped forward.  We came to see an idiot get zapped so the rest of us could laugh at him/her and then later ask what it was like.  Another long pause.  Suddenly it dawned on us that all of the preparation and excitement about seeing someone getting the Bajimineez zapped out of them (named after Samuel Franklin Bajimineez, the inventor of the first electric chair (not from Wikipedia)) might not come to fruition.

Life is about choices. Yes or no.  Do I want a third portion of pie, or am I going to stay on my current diet of only having 2 pieces.  Call a cab after drinking at the bar, or do I feel comfortable driving home.  Sometimes, these decisions have clear rights or wrongs.  Some choices define who and what we are for the rest of our lives.  Making one simple decision, at the right time, in the right circumstances can change us forever.  This, however, was not one of those times.

“Sure, I’ll do it,” I said stupidly.  I saw as I walked over that another 2nd year resident already had his shirt off and (I believe) was about to volunteer.  I tried to compel him that he was much more qualified for such an undertaking, but he disagreed and aided me to the right spot so I could be adequately TASED.

TASER barbs that were in me

TASER barbs that were in me

Right before I got shot, I reminisced about a resident video I had seen.  This showed several residents getting TASERed.  It looked quite painful.  I remembered one getting shot and saying “What was I thinking!” afterwards and everyone laughed.  Hahaha!

I then thought I should come up with something witty to say after being TASERed.  Something clever, something like:

“One point twenty-one Gigawatts!”  or

“Man, that was nothing, I could hardly feel it,” or

“heheheh, that Tickles (like Tickle Me Elmo).”

So, I undressed to my T-shirt and the officer aimed the TASER gun at me.

“Are you ready?” he asked.

“I guess so, I think that-” I started.

And then my world became pain coursing from my shoulder to my lower back, unable to move or breathe for what felt like 30 seconds.  It actually only lasted 5 seconds, but wow does that feel like a long time when you can move, or breathe, or react.

Life is pain princess, anyone who tells you different is selling something.  Two residents caught me since I instantly fell to the ground.  Pain!  Pain, pain pain!

While this happened I yelled “nyang-nyang-nyang-nyang-nyang-nyang-nyang” and I couldn’t stop.

I think it might be one of the times when pictures really only come close, so this is my re-enactment:



(just a re-enactment, the actual TASING hurt much  more)


When the pain stopped everyone was laughing and oh boy what an event.  The time had come for my classic one liner.  After careful deliberation, I said:


Hmm, that didn’t quite come out as I had planned.  I actually don’t remember my F-bomb, but others did.  Ah well, nothing like being in the moment and cursing in front of your program director.  Then everyone wanted to know “what it was like.”

To which I responded it was a glorious Swedish massage.   I mean, I’ve felt good before, but this was just slightly sub-orgasmic. The cool thing was that right after it was over the pain was gone.  Well, that was until they came over and hand to yank out the barbs that were still in my skin.  I really didn’t mind that so much, considering I was still feeling zappy from the TASER.


One of the girls in our residency is doing a research project on TASERs, and then asked if I’d do it for her project.

Smooth and confident as always, I put on my most confident nonchalant grin and answered “are you insane?”


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