Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Things We Did

I spent a couple of nights recently performing intimate acts upon a life-sized doll in front of a room full of strangers. When I was done I sat down and somebody else rose to take my place.

In this way we all got a turn with her.

We even paid money for this "opportunity".

This is not a party where people know your name. But everybody knew her name: Annie.

Resusci-Annie they called her. She wasn't much to look at, but she has helped start more hearts than candy, flowers, Cupid, and tequila combined. Yes folks, C.P.R. classes are going on, right in your neighborhood!

In six hours, over two nights
  • You'll be lectured by a grinning instructor (the smile comes from knowing what you will soon be doing),
  • Write down a lot of numbers (because nobody like a heart attack victim blown up like a balloon),
  • And you will aggressively kiss an immobile, unspeaking mannequin (no worse than a blind date really).
  • Wear comfortable clothes. Bring a pen, a kiss, and your humility.

My group was taught by an emergency room intern, and no job will give you a more ghoulish database from which to elucidate. 

So along with the movements and numbers we learned some fascinating factoids about lacerations, blood, boogers, vomit, severed limbs, electrocution, and something horrible called a "fingersweep".

No faces in the photos.
Its an unwritten rule.
The most important thing we learned was this: You're going to screw it up. You may get to second base with Annie, but 6 years from now, when some doghouse-shaped person looks up from his burger and fries and realizes that his pulse has taken the afternoon off, when he does a quick bossa nova and sinks slowly to the linoleum like a Madonna video, when you finally get a chance to ventilate and compress! - you'll blow it. Time lapsed and adrenalin will conspire to turn you into an irish setter.

So the first thing you do is get someone to call 911. Then you lay them down, tilt their head back and try to remember some of the moves. In reality though your job is to 'not kill them' until the pros arrive. 90 minutes of foreplay with Resusci-Annie will not enable you to cheat Death. But perhaps you'll be able to annoy Death long enough.

Besides our own inevitable ineptitude we learned other things:
  • Practicing the Heimlich maneuver is a novel way of meeting people.
  • Imagining an artery slowly filling up with fat until your blood decides to just pull over for the night is a great way to start choosing salads.
  • You can find a pulse just below your ear, below the bicep, on the top of your foot, or seemingly anywhere your hand drops. Its a very vulnerable feeling.
  • Performing the Heimlich on a child will cause the child to turn inside out. Instead turn the kid over and whap it, like your cleaning the toaster.

I took the class because of guilt; simple as that. Picture a loved one, or any human being (or animal) dying and knowing that you might've been able to save them, Ick. I'll pay $20.00 to shut my conscience up.

Also, you just might be a hero. Fancy that: pictures in the papers, interviews, cheers, parades, perhaps a cash 'thank you', attractive people wanting to ventilate you and have you compress them...

Yes, She was the inspiration for "Smooth Criminal".
I'll wager that this does not really surprise you.
Among those who were there those dark nights in the Rec. Center there is now the silent camaraderie of group embarrassment. After all, we basically were playing Barbies. 

Now we nod slowly to one another in crowds. We exchange shy smiles across intersections. We do our two-fingers-below-the-ear salute as we pass on the mall. We are invisible, but we are everywhere.

With ourselves we are proud. The world may not understand us or the things we did those nights, but sometime, somewhere, if your heart suddenly hangs out a 'for rent' sign, you'll probably be glad we were there.

So thank you Annie - you are the most ethical slut of all.

Angus McMahan

(Photos from Author's left hand, and

P.S. The creepycreepycreepy story behind "The most kissed face of all time": ANNIE, are you OKAY?

P.P.S. I wrote this piece several years ago, and in the interim CPR has been streamlined immensely. All you need to know to save a heart attack victims life, in less than 6 minutes, right HERE.

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