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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks

Another Day, Another Dollar

I’ve been in training for the past couple of weeks before actually beginning my job at the penitentiary. Training has been an interesting experience. Some of the classes are rather dull, covering legal stuff and such, while others are very hands-on – including putting classmates in full body restraints. I shouldn’t have to do much of that stuff in my position (mental health), but we’re supposed to know it all just in case.

This week I had a very interesting experience, however. I knew that this week the class was going to be exposed to oleoresin capsicum (pepper spray), because those who will be correctional officers will need to know the effects and know if they can function even after some exposure. I had been told that all clinical people would not be allowed to participate in that training, though, because of the whole “do no harm” oath and such. Thus, I was surprised to learn just a few hours before the actual exposure that I was supposed to participate. Apparently it gets used enough at the facility where I will work, that they want to be sure that I understand what it can do if I’m exposed. Good thing I’m salaried, huh?

(Here’s Avey after putting all of her “friends” to sleep on the kitchen floor)

I caught a breath of it a couple of times on the outside, and it was like taking a deep sniff of some very spicy hot wings (oleoresin capsicum is pretty much cayenne pepper on crack). I coughed a little, but it wasn’t too bad. Then it was my turn to go inside. Everyone reacts to it a little differently, and I was pretty surprised to find that it didn’t bother my lungs or throat very much, but it felt like a thousand bees stinging my eyes all at once – and not those cute honeybees who just want to be on their way to the next flower, but some sadistic, evil, bee/hornet/porcupine hybrids who live for one purpose: to cause me large amounts of discomfort.

Anyway, after some cold water in the face I was good as new, but let me tell you, that quickly convinced me never to commit a crime, or if I do, never to get caught, or if I do get caught, not to mouth off to anyone holding a can of that stuff.

Oddly enough, I’ve been craving spicy foods lately. Maybe if I get enough Tabasco in my system I’ll be immune to the spray next time…


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