August 14th, 2007

there!, Hello

Selling My Body for Science ~OR~ Hey, it worked for Robert Rodriguez, why not me?

A coupla weeks ago, I volunteered for a study on the effects of alcohol on the immune system. This morning was the big day. I packed up my copy of Marvel Essentials: Man-Thing and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, and off I went for my little meeting with destiny.

So, I arrived a few minutes early (9am was the time of my appointment) and stood around waiting for Nurse Bernie (a rather genial woman in her sixties, perhaps as tall as my shoulder) to lead me down a hall to a room that looked like something a dentist might once have used (the big, uncomfortable looking dentist chair/dead-robot's arm combo was gone, replaced by two barcaloungers) and tell me to have a seat.

I signed away my right to sue (er, my consent to the treatment), and answered several questions. "Do you smoke?" she asked, and I replied: "Only second handedly." That sort of thing... Then came the time for the tap (they'd be drawing blood at regular intervals, you see; much like the climax to that Vault of Horror story, I was to be a human keg -- though I certainly perceived no vampires skulking about looking to tie one on), the breathalizer test, and the first blood draw. 100ccs from near my left elbow. My blood was not the splashy scarlet of so many gore films, but a flat color, like old paint or bricks. After that came the drink. Several hundred milliliters of Smirnoff Vodka with a splash of either cranberry juice or orange juice (I chose the former). The page said that I should drink this slowly over the course of half an hour, Nurse Bernie said to drink it as fast as possible, and it was such a strong drink that I chose to chug away. One minute thirty seconds later, the cup was empty (you know those plastic party cups? Well, fill one to about the three quarter mark with the above cocktail and then try to sip it. Nosir. Maybe I've been watching too much Deadwood) within fifteen minutes I was back at NECON for a bit (and you were there, and the squirrels were dancing, and F. Paul Wilson was on the guitar...).

Good thing I brought comics to read while my brain was sloshed. Ah Man-Thing... The character is obviously Marvel's take on the Swamp Thing, of course; the stories are strange little blends of pulp horror, sword and sorcery (?!), the Karloff-style "emotional" monster, and science fiction (with Daredevil randomly arriving for two frickin' panels!?), and is overall a quirky, nostalgic delight for me nevertheless (despite such mind numbingly stupid instances as where a jar of peanut butter mystically transforms into a sword wielding barbarian; even with a Blood Alcohol Content Level of 0.11, that strikes me as beyond the levels of acceptable horse pucky). I found again the story "Night of the Laughing Dead" which I once owned in a 45 record edition, as a wee lad... What an eerie little record that was and what lovely art it still has (thanks to Mike Ploog). But I digress.

So, Nurse Bernie came at half hour intervals, drawing more blood off tap, taking blood pressure and my BAC level, until... Bum BAH! Four hours later, it was all over. Well, except that I hadda walk more of the liquor out of my system (to get down to a 0.04 BAC Level), and then off I go, compensated with a little cash, one free drink (first thing in the morning), and the knowledge that I just did some good. (All while on the clock at my regular job. Hee!)

Hmmm. Now, if I can repeat this a thousand times, I might have enough to make an uber-low budget movie...

-- DRR2