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More sensory overload

Posted: March 6, 2017 1:54 p.m.
Updated: March 7, 2017 1:00 a.m.

There’s something about longer days and warmer weather that really tickles the senses.

For instance, pollen tickles my nose hairs and makes me sneeze loudly and repeatedly. I’m afraid to sneeze into my elbow because I sense it will blow my arm right out of the socket.

But that’s nothing compared to the sense that all of God’s creatures are vying for a moment of my attention.

I was sitting on the couch the other evening when something very gently tickled my neck.

As it turned out, that something was hairy, huge and possessed a lot of legs -- or so I deduced from a cursory examination of the two-dimensional corpse embedded on the bottom of my shoe – which I could see even as I clung to the ceiling fan some 9 feet above it.

Who knew a guy my age still had such a vertical leap? 

Actually, they say adrenaline is an amazing drug, the effects of which are still not fully understood. I can remember reading stories in those dentist office magazines about kids my age who, under the influence of a major adrenaline rush, were able to do things like lift a car with one hand to save their parents from some bizarre disaster. Strangely enough, all the adrenaline in the world couldn’t help me escape the dentist’s chair in the first place, but you don’t think about those petty details when you’re that age. You just kind of go, “Wow, that’s cool. Lifted a whole car -- hmmm. Hulk angry?”

I have never tried to lift a car or a tractor; in fact, in recent years, I really haven’t attempted to lift anything larger than, say, a Yeti cooler, but I have experienced the power of adrenaline. There was a time a few years ago when a fuzzy caterpillar who found his way inside my shirt collar made me levitate. That happened up in the mountains and several witnesses to that supernatural event still live here in town. 

But probably the most eerie instance was the time I was just hanging out in my garage having a cold beverage and listening to music when I sensed this weird presence. I was at once reminded of the late, great Oliver Onions, who once wrote that ghosts are like “stars in daylight.” 

My hackles rose; I could feel the adrenaline valves preparing to unleash. There was nothing I could see; it was more of a will-o-the-wisp kind of thing, a flash; a brief flicker at the corner of my eye, different sensory perception that I might not be alone.

Then it ran across my foot. All I saw was a long tail disappearing under a piece of furniture.

I have always considered myself a veritable paragon of stoic, studly, manly virtue and I am still sure to this day that I regarded this situation with a barely cocked eyebrow and nary a sound. That’s why I found it a little odd to be telling several cops, only a few minutes later, no, I had not heard a woman scream in my garage or on my property or even anywhere in the neighborhood. 

Then they told me they were responding to a call from my next door neighbor, who apparently reported a murder in progress.

“She’s a little nutty -- very much the drama queen on our street,” I chuckled, even as the SWAT team lowered their AR 15s and helped me up from my new and inexplicable face-down position on the floor. You’d think with the emphasis on fitness and martial arts these days, they would have recognized my perching in a quasi-gargoyle position with my toes clamped around the top of the back of the couch while wildly swinging a shovel over my head was nothing more than an advanced form of Tai Chi. 

But that’s the power of adrenaline.

And mice.

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