Skip to main content

The Amazing Adrenaline Simulator

Ever wonder how your characters feel after you've put them through car chases, murder attempts, and various/sundry other calamities? Well, as of this AM, I've developed the Amazing Adrenaline Simulator to help you get a feel for it.

First, you'll need two dogs (most will do, but mid-sized terrier mixes preferred; feel free to borrow my two), a fenced back yard, and a hopelessly-trapped member of the local wildlife community.

It helps if it's about 6:20 AM, just getting light, your dogs wake you from a sound sleep, and you stumble out in your night shirt and fuzzy slippers, your half-awake brain cells reminding you of the mess you had to clean up when you ignored their whining the previous morning.

As the dogs explode out of the back door, you notice that instead of one of the gray squirrels that frequently taunt them and seem to enjoy the chase before invariably escaping, the beasts are zigzagging through (and shredding) plantings in hot pursuit of an absolutely panic-stricken nine-banded armadillo.

Now, for those of you who don't know it, armadillos are nearly blind, dumb as posts, and known for two things around these parts: the long, sharp claws they use for excavation and seriously bad rep for carrying diseases. But not just any diseases; we're talking rabies and (wait for it) leprosy (yikes!) which they've been known to pass on to human beings who come into contact with them.

The armadillo runs faster than you might think, but not faster than the usually-benign dogs, who are tag-teaming the poor thing with savage, silent glee. (Too caught up in the kill to bark. Wow.) Running toward the fray, you start screaming at them (thinking of the gi-normous vet bill from hell this will likely result in): "Leave it! Leave! No! Bad dogs!" but they are hearing nothing but the panicked scrambled. Potted plants are knocked assunder, bushes are snapped, and just as the armadillo seems to have a shot of getting out (it had to've gotten in somehow), one of the dogs grabs it by the tail and holds on tight, then drags it back into the open, where the two cooperate to flip it over. (Even mutt terriers have some kind of instinct for this.)

The armadillo briefly escapes and determines that you offer the Path of Least Resistance. It scrabbles over your bare feet and ankles. (What the heck happened to those slippers?) Several times. You grab the larger, stronger dog with one hand, but alas, the other arm is broken, leaving the other dog free to C-R-U-N-C-H.

The sound of canine teeth against that chitinous shell is too much. Screaming "NOOO!" and feeling a surge of pity for the poor, terrified armadillo (which probably just gave you some biblical plague disease destined to make various body parts rot off) you loose your grip on the other dog, and the mayhem starts all over. And goes on for God knows how long.

Much chasing, barking, and shouting ensue, but you're committed now to preventing the inevitable carnage. You wade in, wondering if your own animals -- as in a dogfight -- will turn and bite your face off. Everything seems crystal clear and decision making (not always the best decision-making, either) happens at lightning speed. Saying screw-it to the broken arm, you manage to grab a collar in each hand, then somehow get both collars in the good one and drag them, muddy paws and all back into the house...

Where you sink to your knees, shaking so hard your movements lose all coordination. Feeling sick to your stomach, you huddle, looking at the dogs (no visible blood, but you never know with all that hair) but unable to move for minutes that seem like hours, you finally manage to get up and call your husband and blubber out a story so disjointed that he immediately ditches his golf plans and rushes home, fully expecting to find all manner of carnage.

It takes more than twenty minutes to stop shaking, about the same for the nausea to calm down. About that time, you start to feel the scratches and bruising on your own ankle (from one of the dogs, you're pretty sure) and the throbbing protests of your arm for your abuse of it.

If all this sounds like way too much trouble, you may just want to take my word for it. An adrenaline rush is far more potent and debilitating than it is in books and movies. And regardless of the cause, from a slasher coming after you with an axe or your dogs scrapping with an armadillo (this sounds so very Hee Haw, doesn't it?), your body will react in exactly the same way.

Note: This all happened a few hours ago. Miraculously, the dogs weren't hurt (unlike the oppossums and racoons around here, armadillos rarely bite), the armadillo survived (probably sore from its mauling but essentially intact thanks to its hard shell) to dig its way out of the yard (we think it pushed in beneath some wire in one spot, but because the wire had bent in toward the yard, it couldn't leave that way) and I'm fine, after a shower with plenty of soap, peroxide, a thick slathering of Neosporine just in case, and a couple of Aleve.

All in all, this turned out to be less trouble than the Zippy vs. skunk fiasco (after which she ran inside and rolled all over everything, from the carpets to my bedding) but this was much more dramatic.

Thank God my son wasn't there with a camera, or this episode would already be up on Youtube.


Suzan Harden said…
EeK! I hope you take it easy today. You're poor body has been abused enough.
Christie Craig said…

You poor thing. What I wouldn't have given to have had my video camera while all this was going on. You know, I would have won the funniest video. And yes, I would have shared the profits with you.

Anonymous said…
The more I hang out with you, the more of this kind of thing keeps happening to me.

Coincidence? I think not. ;)

And I'm tougher than I look, Suzan. Ok, maybe not, but I get points for resilience anyway.
Joni Rodgers said…
Colleen, I swear, there needs to be a sit-com about your life. Holy cow. Hope you're able to take a deep breath and long nap this aft.
You're right, Joni. Lately it's been a real circus (zoo today). But I'm feeling fine now, really, and I won't need caffeine again for days. ;)
You need to sell this blog post to a magazine. I am still smiling... oh should be a writer! :)

TJ Bennett said…
OMG, Colleen. This sounds like the sort of thing that only happens to Christie Craig. LOL! I cannot believe those demonic beasts of yours (who, despite everything, still manage to be the cutest mutts evah!) have not been set on the corner with a sign that says, "Free dogs. Take two, they're small."

Oh, lordy. Bet your doctor will have something to say about those arm exercises you did today.

Christie Craig said…

You said, "The more I hang out with you, the more of this kind of thing keeps happening to me.
Coincidence? I think not. ;)"

Okay you're on to me. Can you tell my armadillo to come on home now?

And TJ, you're next. (SMILE)

Right now, TJ, the dogs are conked out and angelic looking as they sleep off their near bloodshed. They'll undoubtedly be regaling one another with tales of their shared valor for years to come about this.

I'd get rid of those two troublemakers (I tell myself) but then life would be so dull!

And Christie, I'm sorry to say your armadillo was last seen making a beeline for parts unknown. More than likely, he'll end us as most armadillos do, as part of some car's undercarriage. (I read today -- though I didn't see this in action -- that armadillos leap straight into the air when startled, to about fender height. Which is why you see so many of the little disease factories smushed on the road.

But they're really sort of cute, for all that. I like the way they bob along when they walk. Adorable.
I meant to say thanks for that. I really *should* considering writing. VBG!
TJ Bennett said…
In a total non sequitur, I saw a dead cat on the road yesterday that reminded me of a Dr. Seuss book.

That cat was flat. My, was that cat flat. I've never seen such a flat cat.

Seriously, I think it had been run over one too many times. Well, I suppose the first time is one too many, but there were several more after that which made it look like a cartoon character in 2D.

Don't know where I was going with that, but thought I'd share. :-) And no hate mail, Christie! I like cats!

And Colleen, now I'm trying not to picture you with leprosy...Next crit. meeting, you don't get to bring the snacks. LOL!

Fine, but just for that remark, I plan to drip my Cujo-foam into the bowl while you're not looking.
Anonymous said…
My gosh, Colleen, what a way to start your day! Sounds terrifying when you think of the diseases that could have been spread, and the way your sweet pets started acting like...animals. Grrr.
I hope your arm is okay, sweetie. Take care,
Teri Thackston said…
So scary, Colleen. I recently experienced a similar adrenaline rush one night when our boxer fell in the pool and--being all muscle--sank to the bottom. Thank God she managed to surface by the time I reached the pool or I'd have been in the water with her--40 degree air temp or not. But she couldn't haul herself out. That surge of adrenaline came in handy for me to lift her 58 pounds out of the water, but left me feeling almost as bad as you did...and I had 2 good arms.

Glad you're ok!
Hi, Kerrelyn and Teri,
Glad you could stop by.

Teri, your dog story sounds scary, too. Glad everybody survived relatively intact!
All I can say is... woah...

Popular posts from this blog

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button": Did you love it or hate it?

Earlier this week, Colleen and I went to see "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", the extraordinary movie based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I loved it. Colleen not s'much. (I was sitting there choked in tears at the end of the three hour film, so I only vaguely remember her saying something about "watching paint dry.") I want to see it again, so I'm trying to get the Gare Bear to go with me this weekend, but I won't be surprised if he reacts the same way Colleen did. The movie is long. And odd. It requires patience and a complete suspension of disbelief that modern audiences simply aren't trained for, so you've got to be in the right mood for it. The same is true of the short story, though the story and script have very little in common -- at least superficially. The story is very Fitzgerald (though it's not an example of his best writing, IMHO), and the setting -- Baltimore during the industrial revolution, Spanish Americ

APATHY AND OTHER SMALL VICTORIES by Paul Neilan is only good if you enjoy things like laughter

The only thing Shane cares about is leaving. Usually on a Greyhound bus, right before his life falls apart again. Just like he planned. But this time it's complicated: there's a sadistic corporate climber who thinks she's his girlfriend, a rent-subsidized affair with his landlord's wife, and the bizarrely appealing deaf assistant to Shane's cosmically unstable dentist. When one of the women is murdered, and Shane is the only suspect who doesn't care enough to act like he didn't do it, the question becomes just how he'll clear the good name he never had and doesn't particularly want: his own.