One Bad Thing Leads To Another

Our treadmill gave up the ghost yesterday. Numerous attempts to power it on failed. The two attempts that seemed to work were head feints since when I pressed the Start button the power went off.

Since it was Monday I had to get my exercise. I decided to roam around the neighborhood. I put on jeans that I seldom wear because the front pockets are small, put my grizzly bear strength pepper spray in the right front pocket–like I always do, and went out through the front door.

After a satisfying 50-minute walk/jog through the neighborhood I reached the junction of the sidewalk and the walkway to our front door. I had to pull the pepper spray out of the pocket to get my house keys. What exactly happened next wasn’t clear at that moment, but I heard the canister spray and the next thing I knew my eyes and my forehead were on fire.

Somehow, I got the front door unlocked and stumbled into the house while screaming for help. My wonderful wife ran downstairs while I tried to explain what had happened. Wisely, she suggested I get in the shower and rinse my face with water. I must have told her to call 911 and she did, relaying to me that the dispatcher had given her the same advice. When I didn’t sense any relief, she had the dispatcher send a crew, I assume with at least one EMT. The crew arrived promptly, but informed me that unless I was having trouble breathing, which I wasn’t, there was nothing they could do for me and that I would just have to stay in the shower with the water running on my face for 20 to 30 minutes.

After 25 minutes or so, the burning subsided to the point where I could open my eyes. After about 30 minutes I got out of the shower. Even though I had been sprayed outside, the inside of the house also became affected. The rescue crew told my wife to open all of the windows in the house.

I can tell you the first five minutes after being sprayed might have been the most awful experience of my life. I could not see and I thought I might be blinded for life. The burning pain was indescribable.

A “post-mortem” revealed that I had actually sprayed my shirt, leaving a burn mark on the skin underneath, and had not sprayed my face directly. The spray that reached my face was “rebound” from the abdomen. I guess I was fortunate in that way–the label indicates that permanent eye damage can result from a direct spray in the eyes–but I sure as hell did not feel fortunate, especially in those first five minutes. Here is a picture of the canister:



OK, I am not living in Ukraine or starving in Africa. This is a “first-world” problem. Still, I only wish this experience on my worst enemies. Yes, I know the more common expression is that I don’t wish this even on my worst enemies; I’m only human.


“If you prick us, do we not bleed. If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that.”

– Shakespeare


Why do I carry the spray? Perhaps it’s my background of being raised in a dangerous city, perhaps it’s because I have seen multiple coyotes roaming the neighborhood during the day while I walk.

This morning I am still not 100 percent. The back of my throat still feels a little burned and my eyes are still uncomfortable. I guess no cosmic front has arrived to blow the cloud of sh*t out of my life.

I can tell you that acquiring a replacement treadmill is now of the utmost importance. I can also convey that I have not completely ruled out continuing to carry the pepper spray on long walks through the neighborhood.




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13 thoughts on “One Bad Thing Leads To Another

  1. One: get a gun.
    Two: milk. Or so I’ve been told helps.
    Three: Did you have the east coast treadmill fixed or is this one new since move.
    Four: this made for great blog material!

    I can sympathize. I was cleaning the roof top deck at my ex wife’s house and attacked a pile of leaves. Suddenly, a haze surrounded me followed by intense pain. I somehow did not go over the side, and made it back into the bedroom, where I discovered wasps at my feet. Not bear spray, but painful nonetheless.


    1. Thanks, Doc. After the “shock” passed, I did tell my wonderful wife that a washcloth soaked in milk might have been a decent treatment. This is/was the East Coast treadmill that had been repaired by a local electrician.

      If I had accidentally discharged a gun, the outcome could have been MUCH worse, of course. I appreciate your approval of the post, but wish I could reach similar heights reporting good news.

      The only two times I have been stung by a bee have been inside my house, once in my 20s and another time in my 50s. I did not have a severe reaction either time, but it was only one bee and not many.


  2. I would suggest a belt holster for the bear spray canister. Carrying in the pocket slows down the reaction time to use said defense spray. A belt holster will also lessen the chance of an accidental discharge. On your walks, I would be more concerned with javelina than coyotes. That is unless the coyotes are of the two-legged variety.


  3. Since you don’t have kids or pets that can get trapped under the deck, you may be able to pick up a Peleton treadmill for a good price…


  4. Living out in the country, a pistol makes more sense when I’m out on my property. No bears where I’m at, but plenty of feral hogs and stray dogs of various size and temperament. Not to mention the deer that like the gardens, and fruit trees, on my property. A mule deer, in rut, can be as big of a problem as any stray dog or feral hog. Folks carrying firearms where I’m at is more the norm than the exception, BUT if one is going to carry a firearm they need to know how, and when, it should be used. This means shooting it regularly which these days is pretty costly.

    Anyways, I agree that even your spray should be in a holster. A small “clip on” holster should be relatively inexpensive and much safer than your pocket.


    1. Thanks, DDM. I am not a gun owner nor will I ever be. If I had accidentally discharged a firearm, I could have killed myself or the one of the painters at the house next door.


  5. Wow! Happy to hear you are on the way back to normal. What an experience!

    It’s a good time to look for a used treadmill, people with new years resolutions are giving up and wanting the thing out of their space. It reminds them of their failure to keep the resolution. >grin<

    You might check local estate sales. They sometimes have stuff like that for sale.


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