I stumbled out of the studio and toward the house where my wife and children were staring out at me in horror. They had seen the flash and heard the tremendous crack that comes with a nearby lightning strike. My son Felix said the flash was so bright that he thought it had gone through the kitchen. As I staggered into the house looking like a wide-eyed psychopath, everyone knew something had happened. “I, I, I… think we need to call 911!” I stuttered.
At this point, I still couldn’t sit down, so I paced the house like a coked-out fratboy, clutching my heart while my wife Kris spoke with 911. “I’m sorry, did you ask if he had shoes on?” she said, then directed the question to me. It turns out there’s something of an obsession with shoes and lightning, the predominant belief being that rubber soles offer some insulating protection against the current. But as Kyle Hill writes in a blog post, “If lightning has burned its way through a mile or more of air (which is a superb insulator), it is hardly logical to believe that a few millimeters of any insulating material will be protective… I tend to believe that there would be little effect from whatever is on the bottom of your feet.”
By the time EMTs arrived in a siren-wailing ambulance (to the significant delight of my two-year-old), I was feeling much better. Still soaked in adrenaline, I felt no pain. The EMTs took my vitals and urged me to go to the hospital for testing. I declined, promising to call my doctor if anything weird started to happen. I mean, my grandmother was struck by lightning twice—how bad can it be? I didn’t have any burn marks, nor did I end up with a badass Lichtenburg scar. I was like a pirate with no peg leg or eyepatch.