Great birthday gift idea… A pocket Taser….or so I thought. Last weekend I saw something at Loftis Jewelers & Pawn Shop that caught my eye. The occasion was a birthday. I was looking for a little something extra for my wife, the charming Mrs. Rivet. What I came across was a 1,000-volt, pocket/purse-sized taser. The effects of the taser were supposed to be short lived, with no long-term adverse affect on your assailant, allowing her adequate time to retreat to safety. Sounded good; she teaches at the University and in the winter after night classes, this could be handy! Long story short, I bought the device and brought it home. I loaded two AAA batteries in the darn thing and pushed the button. Nothing. I was disappointed. I learned, however, that if I pushed the button AND pressed it against a metal surface at the same time; i'd get the blue arc of electricity darting back and forth between the prongs. Cool! I have yet to explain to her what that burn spot is on the face of the stove’s touch-control panel that we spent $300 to replace last year. Okay, so I was home alone with this new toy, thinking to myself that it couldn't be all that bad with only two triple-A batteries, right? There I sat in my chair, my cat Olive looking on intently (trusting little soul) while I was reading the directions and thinking that I really needed to try this thing out on a flesh & blood moving target. I must admit I thought about zapping Olive (for a fraction of a second) or her brother Dac (which she would have been very happy to see zapped) and then thought better of it. She is such a sweet cat…all kindness and claws. Dac…well, he is our resident goofball; uncoordinated on his best days. Certainly not a fair target. Hmmm…. if I was going to give this thing to my wife to protect herself against a mugger, I did want some assurance that it would work as advertised. Right? So, there I sat in my favourite pair of shorts and tee-shirt with my glasses on my head, directions in one hand, and taser in another. I have 20-20 close-up vision, so my glasses go up on my head when I read, and come down when I really want to see. The directions said that a one-second burst would shock and disorient an assailant; a two-second burst was supposed to cause muscle spasms and a major loss of bodily control; and a three-second burst would purportedly make the assailant flop on the ground like a fish out of water. Any burst longer than three seconds would be wasting the batteries. All the while I'm looking at this little device measuring about 5' long, less than 3/4 inch in circumference; pretty cute really and (loaded with two itsy, bitsy triple-A batteries) thinking to myself, “no way!” What happened next is almost beyond description, but I'll do my best. I was sitting there alone, Olive looking on with her head cocked to one side as to say, ' don't do it idiot,' reasoning that a one second burst from such a tiny little ole thing couldn't hurt all that bad. I decided to give myself a one second burst. I touched the prongs to my naked thigh, pushed the button, and ... HOLY WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION ! ~ PAIN!!!!!!! I'm pretty sure Jessie Ventura ran in through the side door, picked me up in the recliner, then body slammed me on the carpet, over and over and over again. I vaguely recall waking up on my side in the fetal position, with tears in my eyes, body soaking wet, chest on fire, with my left arm tucked under my body in the oddest position, and tingling in my legs. Important Note: If you ever feel compelled to 'mug' yourself with a taser, one note of caution : there is no such thing as a one second burst when you zap yourself. You will not let go of that thing until it is dislodged from your hand by a violent thrashing about on the floor. A three second burst would be considered conservative…. A minute or so later (I can't be sure, as time was a relative thing at that point), I collected my wits (what little I had left), sat up and surveyed the landscape. My bent glasses were on the woodstove. The chair was upside down and about 3 feet or so from where it originally was. My triceps, right thigh and chest were still twitching. My face felt like it had been shot up with Novocain, and my bottom lip weighed 88 lbs. I had no control over the drooling. Apparently I did lose control of my bodily functions, but was too numb to know for sure and my sense of smell was gone. I saw a faint smoke cloud above my head which I believe was from my hair. Fortunately, I did get a chance to clean up and straighten up the room, since she had an evening class.