Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Picking up brains

Thought provoking? Which first, the right or left side? What was on his mind? Can I pick your brain?

The first time I saw brains in person was on a street in the valley. The valley covers what is north of Los Angeles proper, think north of the 101 freeway, west of the 170, going up to just north of the 118. You now have a tilted rectangle, two hundred sixty square miles in size, just over a million and a half people divergent in race, politics, and economic classes.

Rich peoples brains I find are normally out on a fine carpet or expensive bed. Self inflicted gunshot wound is a nice way of saying they aired out the noggin. Money does not equal happy. I really know that. The poor can and will do the same. The bed is more likely to be a rental or from a discount store. I would like to be there once when it is taken back.

The first time I saw them in person I was covering a fatal traffic collision, something we call an FTC. This was on a wide North, South street, three lanes per side. A motorcyclist riding a sport bike, known locally as a crotch rocket, was headed North bound. A young man, was driving a Mercedes Sport Utility Vehicle, SUV for short, Southbound. The crotch rocket driver was coming back from a beer run for a barbeque. I know this by the beer cans that were still in the now opened back pack, the rest were scattered just like the mind that did the following. He made a sharp left to go into his mothers driveway, the SUV clipped the back end of the bike and the front right tire pinned his foot to the street long enough for the man to be whip-lashed into the side of the SUV. His body was thrown the opposite way he was going, the SUV went into a spin, another SUV coming Northbound hit the Mercedes along it's drivers side raking open both doors causing the driver and his little nephew to be ejected.

The rocket driver was whipped into the SUV with such force his seven hundred dollar helmet split open at the top, his brains came out like stepping on a ketchup packet, more like jumping on it. I took photo's of what we thought were his heads former contents for the distance of one house front. There were gloms ranging in size up to a golf ball.

There were other scenes, mostly jumpers, where lots of internal contents were ejected and had to be retrieved. The coroner is responsible for picking up any body, or body pieces. Brains tend to be slimy. They are difficult to handle in small pieces. Often some scoop is improvised, a bit of cardboard or paper that can be made stiff to scoop up and then put into a biohazard bag.

Gallows humor is something shocking the first time you hear it. The last scene I was on where brains were out was a jumper. Every joke in the book and some combinations I have not heard before came out and a contest of who could top who was born. Finally a detective thought it humorous to suggest that I take a photo of the heads empty space after all it was never good for much. There was a large crack on the top. I look at the coroner who did not see the humor in time and complied by using both hands to open the crack. So, I stuck my camera in close enough, made sure the lighting was right and now all the detectives have a fine set of photo's of a cranium just as empty as their jokes were void of originality. I hope they get my humor.
There, that'l show em.... hehehe.

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