I took a long walk last night, hoping to get a nice endorphin rush in order to boost me out of the piss-poor mood I’ve been stuck in lately.  When I returned, I did a little online research into endorphins, and kept running across capsaicin.  Capsaicin is the active component of chili peppers, and is said to also release endorphins.  It is also used in those nice little portable vials of pepper spray that us gals used to carry around to ward off predators.  I used to carry one myself, and always wondered if it would really work.  Luckily, I was able to find out through personal experience.

While going to college in Knoxville, TN, I worked the overnight shift in a reservations center.  We got fairly bored on the overnight shift, and had to find ways in which to entertain ourselves, and stay awake.  A coworker/shift supervisor named Justin, with purple-ish hair and a talent for making jewelry, decided one late evening/early morning to test my pepper spray.  This seemed like a good idea to me, at the time.

He opened the virgin pepper spray (I’d never even opened the thing, though I’d had it for years) and sprayed a bit into the trash bin.  He leaned over to look in, and exclaimed ‘oh look, it’s red!’  Not sure why this was surprising to me, but it was, and being curious, I leaned over the trash bin too, to have a look.  [Any of you who have had any experience with pepper spray  probably know where this story is going.  It’s the moment in the story where you gasp and say “Oh, no, don’t do it!” ]

A few breaths later and we are both tearing up, gasping for air, coughing up lungs.  Eyes burning, noses running.  Immediately after sticking my head into the trash bin and breathing in the fumes of the pepper spray,  I know two things:  it fucking works, and oh fucking hell I am an idiot.

We both sat in the shift leader’s pod for about half an hour, gasping, coughing, laughing.

It’s really no laughing matter, to be honest.  Too much of the stuff can actually do a person in.  Just FYI:  law-enforcement grade pepper spray comes in 3rd on the Scoville scale.  HOT!!

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