I’m probably more torn about the Running of the Bulls than I am about anything else.
It’s something I think about every year. The news reports come out about how many people were gored/maimed/crippled/killed, and I think to myself “What kind of fucking imbecile do you have to be to do that??”
But then I realize that if I happened to find myself in Pamplona about this time of year, I’d probably have a couple of beers and think to myself “Ah, fuggit…only live once”.
I guess the best advice I can give myself is this: Never go to Pamplona.
Considering the bull had just then gored him, with the horn on the way up his leg ([sub]ow, ow, ow[/sub]), it probably hadn’t had a chance to bleed yet. I imagine the aftermath was, uh … messy.
Not quite the word I would have used. But then yours can be used in mixed company.
Either did I. I could understand gorings that involved the horn stabbing against something hard like bone, where it can gain pressure at a high enough velocity to puncture, but that instance looks like there wasn’t a whole lot of pressure required, which means those horns are pretty damn sharp.
Because if you survive, I’ll kick you half to death. Half only because you’ve got a wife and kid and they have dibs to kill you all the way or simply spend the rest of your life making you regret the day you jumped in under the influence of anything other than your own hormones.
Nava, from Pamplona. These are City Hall’s recomendations for running. They include such things as “if you fall down, don’t try to get up.” They say to curl up; what I was taught to do by my father and others was “make a turtle”: face down, stick to the floor like it was your skin (makes it harder for the “horned ones” to horn you - cows and calves are also run) except for putting your brow to the floor, your chin to your chest and covering your nape with both hands (if you get stepped on lower along your spine, you may end up in a wheelchair - on the neck, you can end up tetraplegic or dead).
When you’re on the slippery floor and a dozen nervous animals weighing between 900 and 1600 pounds are pounding the floor around you, when people are yelling, when you can barely see what’s going on, it’s going to be very difficult to have the cold blood to Stay The Hell Down. If you know that you won’t be able to do it, don’t run. Wounds to the ass or legs leave you on crutches for a while, but unless the main artery is affected and you can’t get enough blood transfused in time, you’ll be fine in weeks. Ventral wounds are much worse and they’re normally earned by a guy who was trying to stand up when the bulls were going by. In fact, I’ve seen repeats of that particular kind of image so many times I could probably draw it decently by now :smack:
There is evidence of “young guys” (Sp. mozos) helping the cowherds drive bulls that were going to be fought from their corral to the arena as far back as the Middle Ages. The first known case of death is from 1910: one of the mozos fell down and was gored as he tried to get up. 1911 was the first year that the path followed by the bull’s drive was fenced in; the first year that the bullrun was part of the official program of the feast; the first year that the major, the town’s veterinarian and two other councilors started inspecting the path every day to check that the floor is as clean as it can be humanly made and the fence is in place. The fence is designed specifically to make it easy for people to escape through it (large spaces under and between the horizontal shafts).
Pamplona’s “bulls in the street”, being among the oldest in Spain, one of the biggest sources of income for the town and the one thing that makes it known the world over, have much greater safety measures than those of other places. The infirmary in that bullring has a fully-equipped surgery; they keep blood of all types as well as plasma and have the equipment to ask for volunteer blood donors and do an “on the run” transfusion. Two of the best hospitals in Spain are there (to give you an idea, the University Hospital is where the royals go when they’re doing something more complicated than give birth). This same year, in I think it was the Thursday bullrun, there was a moment when a wounded guy (from a bull that had run faster than his brothers) was being tended by a Red Cross volunteer and two guys in civvies while the main group of bulls ran by.
Including that 1910 guy, there’s been 15 deaths in Pamplona’s runs. Five of them were running for the first time, including a Mexican and a Chicagoan (this second one gave positive for more things than the hospital knew how to analyze for, according to the hospital’s lab manager, whom I’ve known for, uhm… 23 years). The weekend runs are the most dangerous, because there’s more people, more newbies, and more of them who aren’t properly rested and shoed.
It’s dangerous. Yep. Like going to Everest or bungee jumping, the fear is a big chunk of the thrill - and if you’re not afraid, you’re an idiot of the highest order.
But if you run without ever having seen what those bulls look like, or being drunk, or not having caught a wink and showered? It’s asking for a Darwin award.