Do you remember the hottest pepper you've ever eaten? I'll give you a moment to ponder... Now take that pepper, multiply its wrath by 1000, rub it all over your face and in your eyes. That's what it's like to experience the power of police-grade pepper spray. One of 12 recruits in corrections academy, the anxiety built up for at least a week prior to that dreaded day was felt by the whole class. We all shared a nervousness that would only be calmed after what can be described as torture was over. One of our instructors who never smiled came in that morning with a wide-eyed grin on his face. 2,000,000 Scoville units to the eyes. How bad can it be? Famous last words. “JUMPING JACKS, NOW!” I proceeded quickly, so as not to upset the person about to spray hellfire-in-a-can into my Lasik-scarred pupils. “HIGH KNEES!” I can do this, I can do this! “SQUATS!” Oh man here it comes! *spray* Me, thinking to myself: “Hey this isn't even bad, maybe it doesn't work- *tries to open eyes* -DEAR LORD JESUS IT WORKS. Oh God it BURNS!” “PALM STRIKE!” Back to reality, I'm fighting through what can only be described as someone pouring gasoline on your face and lighting it. “THIGH KICK!” I'm using the anger from my pain to will my body to fight through this terrible situation I've willingly put myself in for good benefits and retirement. “YOU'RE DONE. Now go get cleaned up. NEXT!” In this field, if you can't rely on your team for support, everyone suffers. Luckily my partner was able to pry my eyes open, dump some baby shampoo in them and clean the physical gel out. But the after effects... the nostalgia is making my eyes tear with irritation simply from memory as I write this. Every blink was shards of glass under my eyelids. Every breath was only met by intense fits of coughing, which in turn made the draining of all my facial orifices worse. Only on that day was I grateful that I lived in such a cold state, as the cool winter wind bathed my face with relief. I then immediately cursed my ignorance as I realized when I'd walk inside my pores would open and the pain would only re-ignite... It did. Fast forward 30 minutes and a shower later. Leuitenant: “You all went through a lot today, but came out on the other side stronger than you were before. Go home and get some rest... and DON'T BE LATE TOMORROW.”
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