Monday, February 18, 2008

The Choking Game

...a game that teens today sometimes call Space Monkey, Airplaning, Space Cowboy or Flat Liner.

The names may sound funny, but the game is deadly serious. The nicknames refer to what is more accurately called the “choking game,” in which youngsters wrap everything from dog leashes to bungee cords around their necks to temporarily cut blood flow to their brains, as this AP story explains. The goal is a dreamy, floating-in-space sensation when blood rushes back to the brain.

In a first, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published an estimate of the death toll from the choking game that relied on reports in the media and on two Web sites. Death certificates, the researchers wrote, aren’t precise enough for the task. The researchers found 82 probable deaths among youths aged 6–19 years, from 1995 to 2007, due to the choking game.

This is one idiotic game; I say this because I know a much safer and much easier way to feel something very similar. Sit on a swing, push yourself higher and higher until you are as high on the swingset as you can manage; then lean as far back in the swing as you can while holding on tight; put your head back; then keep swinging. Suddenly, pulling with your arms, bring your head and body back up; the blood that has rushed into your head while down will rush out of your head then slowly back in. You will feel awesome for a few moments. As far as I know, this is not dangerous for a healthy teenager. It's a nice 'high.'

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