By Jerry Aragon
I was born, and still reside in Albuquerque, New Mexico (USA), and when I was young, my family lived down the street from a community center. Us kids would go there to participate in various activities such as sports; arts and crafts; dancing...and, we had a lot of fun, especially during the summer months when school was out.
One day, a bus load of us kids from the community center, were taken to the Fraternal Order of Police grounds near the Rio Grande river, for an all day picnic. The usual stuff was at the picnic...hamburgers, hot dogs, softball, horse shoes and ice cream...and, that's where it all started...the ice cream!
The ice cream was kept cold with the use of dry ice, and when the picnic was over, three of us kids decided to take some of the dry ice with us on the bus. (Big mistake!) We all had small pieces of dry ice in a box, and we thought it would be cool (no pun intended), to pretend we were doing a little smoking! We would put the small pieces of dry ice in our mouths, and watch the steam come out of our mouths and noses! Fun, eh? (For 10-12 year olds, this was not very smart)
Kids will be kids, and it was fun for a while, and then a sharp turn by the bus to the right, and a little horse play by the kids in the back of the bus...and...PANIC! EMERGENCY! I swallowed the piece of dry ice in my mouth, and it lodged in my throat! I quickly found myself on the floor in the back of the bus gasping for air! My throat was burning, blistered, and swelling up and I was having trouble breathing!
I was scared to death as I lie there on the floor, and several of the kids were standing over me and they were laughing and laughing having a good time! I was dying...and they were laughing! I couldn't understand it! Fortunately, we were close to the community center and the bus driver whisked me into his car and took me to a near-by hospital. I was given emergency care and released...I would be okay! For the next week or two, I could only eat warm broth and warm milk. (YUK) Pulling a stunt like this, it wasn't my throat that needed attention...it was my brain that needed attention!
A few days later, as I thought about the incident, I couldn't understand why the kids were laughing at me while I was on the floor of the bus. I was told that the reason for the laughter, was because when the dry ice lodged in my throat, steam was coming from my mouth, from my nose, and from my EARS, too! When I heard this, it made me laugh, too! WOW...the kids must have thought I had some kind of magic powers to pull something like this! It must have been pretty funny for everyone!
A few weeks after the incident, I recalled what happened on the bus that awful day, and with all those little smiling looking down at me as I lay on the floor, I knew humor was going to be a big part of my life in the future, but, I wouldn't go through all that over again just to get a laugh!
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Advice: Do NOT play around with dry ice like we did! Stay away from it, and let people who know what they're doing handle it. I learned my lesson the hard way, and so did the other kids.
Jerry Aragon, Copyright; 2006