A friend recently accused me of being an adrenaline junkie. Not in a pejorative way, it was kind of a joke more than anything. Never the less, it made me wonder, am I an adrenaline junkie? I don’t feel like one. I drive very average (except at work). I only ride my bicycle as fast as I am willing to crash, which these days, isn’t terribly fast and I always wear a helmet. I don’t climb rocks or go rappelling. To be honest, I am afraid of heights. By nearly all accounts I am pretty dull when it comes to taking risks. The only exception is my work. I don’t take unnecessary risks at work, but there is some inherent risk in doing my daily tasks. Now let’s be honest. Everyone has risks in their jobs not just me. People take risks every day just traveling to and from work. There are thousands of accidents every day involving people on the way to or from work. So clearly I am nothing special.
As I pondered why I would be considered an adrenaline junkie I was forced to ponder when the last rush of adrenaline I experienced was. It wasn’t too hard to remember. It was a call I was on a couple of years back. I remember it being a cool January night around midnight. I was standing outside of some crapy duplex helping two other officers out on a domestic violence call when I heard. Pop pop pop pop pop….pop..pop pop pop pop pop………pop pop pop. I got on my radio and asked the dispatcher if there were any shots fired calls east of my location coming in. I must have broke her away from a good book or something because all I got was a smart assed “No!” as a response. I checked with the other officers who were good with me leaving since they had it under control. I again got on the radio again and told her I would be in route to the shots fired call that was inevitably coming in. As I neared the area I advised dispatch on the now hot call of multiple people calling in of a fight with shots fired.
As I skidded up to the location I observed the surreal. It was a white Crown Victoria just like mine with the front doors open and bullet holes all over it and a Hispanic male laying on the ground in next to the open drivers door. It was also clearly the scene of a party. And dozens of people (gangsters) were still in this courtyard. Not knowing any of the details of the incident yet since it had been less than 2 min since I heard the shots until I arrived. I exited my patrol car drew my weapon and advanced making certain to “slice the pie” on the corner that was to my right and had who knows what exposed. I looked over and saw that the shooting victim had a gunshot wound to the chest and his friends were doing chest compressions. But each compression only forced blood out of his mouth and nose and there was no bleeding coming out of the bullet hole. With my weapon still drawn I told everyone not doing first aid on the subject to move back. Keep in mind I was still alone and there were 30+ gangsters there. Now you might ask how can I make a judgment like that? How did I know they were gangsters? Well, let’s just call it OJT (on the job training) I remember on one had the word BITCH in 2 inch high letters across his forehead. His face was so covered in tattoos it was hard to read the whole phrase but later I read it up close and it read in whole “Trust no BITCH”. Now I know this is a tangent but, I pretty sure that you have resigned your life to prison or construction with a tattoo like that. I mean you can’t even work fast food. I mean who wants to order a Big Mac from a guy who’s face has BITCH among other things tattooed across it.
As other officers arrived we started to try to take control of the chaotic scene. It was clearly a homicide scene. I checked for a pulse and the subject had none. But the party goers were mad that we weren’t doing CPR on their friend. With my gun still drawn and pointing at them I told them I didn’t know if one of them shot him and I wasn’t going to turn my back on any of them. As more officer arrived the harder we pushed to secure the crime scene. We were trying to restore peace and order, but we were still deep into the jaws of chaos. It turned into a 9 minute brawl amidst the blood, broken glass and bullet shells. I pulled the tape of the event and it was seriously 9 minutes of wrestling bloody people to the ground and handcuffing them until they calmed down. It was absolute insanity for 9 solid minutes. Now 9 minutes may not seem like a long time. But it is. Think about it. A UFC round is 5 minutes.
In the end it turned out that two gangsters shot and killed each other. The other half got into his car and drove about a mile with half of his face blown off until bled out and died. The fortunate thing was that no bystanders got injured in this event. (notice I didn’t say innocent bystanders, because I don’t think there were too many if any innocent people there). It was however a massive rush of adrenaline and very gratifying to battle so hard to restore peace and order and triumph.
So it’s been at least two years since I had a massive adrenaline rush. I sold my Porsche. I don’t race go karts or bicycles anymore. So I work as a cop and occasionally fly around in a helicopter. Do I really sound like an adrenaline junkie to you?