The annual Tetanus Day event is set to take place on Tuesday at the Memphis Scrap Metal Museum and Gift Shop on S. Florida next door to the National Semi-Trailer Graveyard. And, if past experience is any indication, it will not be well attended.
"Well, the idea is that the public is welcome to come on down and step on some rusty nails or scrape their arms with a rusted out piece of metal siding," explained museum spokesperson Russell "Rusty" Troubles. "And then, they sit back and wait for the tetanus to kick in, which can be a few weeks. Less if you're lucky"
The idea behind the event is to give people tetanus in a controlled environment so they can experience muscle spasm and lockjaw through a controlled process, as opposed to less certain exposure through normal means.
"We don't want kids or people over 60 doing this, as it can be real dangerous," Troubles explained. "And, obviously, if you have an up to date tetanus shot, I wouldn't bother."
Participants sign a legal waiver before participating, and are urged to prepare a will and durable power of attorney documents.
Organizers are ambivalent about attendance, but note that they do not expect a large turnout. "Last year, no one took part in this," Troubles said, while passive-aggressively pointing to a museum t-shirt for sale that was clearly marked with a 2008 date. "Zero. That is the same number we've had for the past five years. Honestly, I have no idea why we do this. And, truth be told. you'd be an idiot to participate. It's ridiculous."
The Scrap Metal Museum and Gift shop is open intermittently on weekdays.
Joey Hack is a regular contributor to Fly on the Wall and member of the Wiseguys improv troupe.