By Justin Huft
The last thing I expected to do was give myself a concussion outside of class. Especially, while I was sober. If you’re wondering how this happened, join the club. I’ll rewind, like some trendy Tarantino movie that all the cool kids these days like, and tell you what happened. I’ll start from the beginning …
I’m new at UC Irvine. Being new, I didn’t really know what to expect. I do, however, have a mental list of things I don’t expect to happen on a day-to-day basis. Everyone has these. It’s normal. You wear sandals, because you don’t expect it to snow. You go to Quiznos, because you don’t expect to get food poisoning. You flirt with the blonde T.A. in your psychology class, who always looks really cute in a grey cardigan, because you don’t expect to find out she’s married. Everyone does these things. My list of things I don’t expect to happen to me include: not getting shot at and definitely not being attacked by highly poisonous creatures.
It starts in one of my psychology classes. During our second class, the teacher starts talking about classical conditioning. Being a psychology student, I’m a little bored, since I’ve heard this lecture a dozen times before. Then, all of the sudden, he holds up a stuffed lion, and screams “Simba!” before raising a handgun, and firing towards the ceiling. Everyone screams and covers their ears. Only after they realize it’s just a starter pistol, and that our teacher is a total kookoobear, do we all laugh. He continues lecturing, every now and then, firing the pistol wildly into the air. The whole room smells like smoke. It wasn’t what I was expecting. Also, The Lion King 3D is going to give me PTSD.
Fast-forward to my class dealing with phobias. The teacher starts the class asking who’s scared of snakes. A few girls raise their hands, and the teacher invites them down to the front of the class. He then brings out a couple of snakes, ranging from a two-foot snake to a twelve-foot snake. It took roughly 45 minutes for the girls to be comfortable enough to touch the snake. “Ha!” I said to myself. “Ha. Ha. Ha! I’m not scared of anything. And even if I was, it wouldn’t take me that long to overcome it. I’m not scared of …”
Then he brings out a scorpion. Oh yeah, I forgot. I’m not a fan of those. It’s not so much the poison, as the stinger. I have a terrible fear of sharp, stabby things. The teacher holds the hideous creature in his hand, and then looks around for a volunteer. No one wants to raises their hand (for good reason!), and his eyes lock in on me. I can tell he’s going to want me to do it. I panic. I start to sweat. He just keeps looking at me, while he slowly walks towards me. I get up from my seat and rush for the door.
Just the thought of holding that thing makes my heart pound. I make it outside, and, for some reason, I still can’t breathe. I take a couple steps, and I feel light-headed.
The interesting thing about needle phobias (as in the stinger of the scorpion), is that instead of activating the sympathetic nervous system, and making you really on edge, it activates the parasympathetic nervous system, and makes you pass out. So … I make it a few feet out the door, and my vision goes. My stomach churns, and it feels like I’m throwing up, but I don’t know for sure, because my face is rushing towards the ground, and I can’t see anything. A few minutes later, I wake up. My head is pounding. A student walks over and says, “You aren’t feeling too well? Here.” and hands me a beer.
I love college.
Filed Under: Features