Unless you live in a cave somewhere, you probably have experienced a rush of adrenalin from time to time, quite possibly not too long ago. You likely didn’t give it much thought at the time, even if it was a major emergency, but you might consider doing so next time, after the threat is over.
Recently, when visiting a friend, I had to deal with a violent attack by a rooster! He came at me “out of the blue” and three times struck my upper thigh with his spurs. I’ve got the bruises to prove it.
Not life threatening, but the adrenalin rush was significant for a number of reasons. Describing the event to others subsequently, I had an opportunity to deconstruct what happened in some detail, and to analyze both what I did and how that might relate to other, more serious incidents.
So, what happened?
First, I’d taken the friend’s word that the known attack rooster would be enclosed in a pen when I got there. Thinking about what we hoped to accomplish for the day, I’d let down my usual situational awareness just enough to be taken by surprise… by a chicken. Not good.
My response to the first hit was to step back, and kick at the rooster. He lost no time coming at me again, and I was loudly calling for my friend to come get his darned chicken before I shot it. I kicked it 20 feet, but missed the third time he hit me from the side, trying to get behind me. Luckily for the chicken, my friend’s mother came out, grabbed the randy little puke, and I went into the house.
I was very angry by this time, and could feel the adrenalin rush continue, even though the “threat” had ended. I did some deep breathing then, to release the tension, and castigated myself for being so easily angered. After that, my “rush” subsided rapidly and my pulse and breathing rate returned to normal.
A few lessons learned here.
The good: I responded quickly to the surprise attack. The adrenalin rush assisted me to kick higher and harder than I would have believed I could. I was able to control my response quite well, and to dial it down immediately when the threat was gone.
The bad: I trusted what someone said instead of my own eyes and ears, and let down my guard. Worse, I allowed the adrenalin rush and anger to cloud my judgment momentarily, just enough to even contemplate drawing a gun.
My friend just laughed, but I was sorely embarrassed. Embarrassment is a powerful teacher.
Carrying a gun is an awesome responsibility. I am not free to indulge my fears, hates, or the occasional adrenalin rush. The better handle I have on those, the less chance there is of making a serious mistake. I have much more to learn.
Please share with us your best (or worst) response to an emergency. What did you learn from it?