Last night, the missus and I went out for dinner with a few friends. I play softball on Sundays, and it’s a long-standing after-game tradition that the team should get together to drink enough beer and eat enough delicious dead animal parts to counter any health benefits we might gain from exercising on the field. Then, we eat and drink some more, just to be safe.
On this particular gorge-fest, I was in the mood for wings. HOT wings. I like spicy food, and when I order it, I’m not dicking around. This particular joint has a disclaimer on their hottest style of wings:
‘Atomic Hot — don’t say we didn’t warn you!!‘
“I ordered a batch of wings from the waitress, and asked her to tell the chef I said his hot sauce tasted like watery ketchup, and that I probably had disparaging things to say about his mother’s hot sauce, too.”
Promising. I ordered a batch of wings from the waitress, and asked her to tell the chef I said his hot sauce tasted like watery ketchup, and that I probably had disparaging things to say about his mother’s hot sauce, too. I figured if the wings came back so-so spicy, then he probably spat on them, or worse. If they were five-alarm hot, then he just loaded the pepper sauce onto them.
They were screaming hot. Just the way I like them. Mission accomplished.
(How do I like them, exactly? Let’s just say I like my wings like I like my women — when they get close, I want my lips burning, my brow sweating, and a side of bleu cheese for dipping. And if there’s celery involved, who am I to argue?)
And maybe the chef still spat on my wings — so what? With that kind of heat, anything living in his saliva was dead before it hit the plate. This was the good stuff. You could sprinkle anthrax and bubonic plague into this sauce, and you’d be fine. I’m talking ‘hot like a napalm enema’ hot here. And that’s hot.
Now, as a frequent consumer of wicked spicy consumables, I knew what I was in for. These babies were going to hurt. The first pain would be in the mouth and throat area. Lots of burning around there. I was prepared for that.
The second pain of eating spicy foods is a bit delayed. And often prolonged. I believe it was around three in the morning when I first ‘heard the call’, and shuffled into the bathroom. This pain was, of course, in a different place. Not the mouth. More southern.
If my body were France, this pain would be somewhere down in my Mediterranean area. If I were America, it would be in my Mississippi delta. And if I were the size of all of North America — not out of the question, if I keep eating the wings — the pain would be roughly on the underside of my Yucatan peninsula. You get the idea.
Still, I’ve been down this highway before. It’s not always a pleasant ride, but I know the drill. No surprises there.
I did, however, make one rookie mistake. Before I went to bed, I took out my contact lenses, and put them in their case to soak overnight. I had washed my hands, to be sure. But apparently, I hadn’t scrubbed my hands, to ensure that any lingering hint of glorious pepper oil was banished from my fingers. And so, those contacts weren’t ‘soaking’, really. They were simmering in a stew of capsaicin and saline, lying in wait to cockblock my corneas and set me crying like a little girl without a Barbie. And I never saw it coming.
This morning, I showered as usual, brushed my teeth, and slid the first lens out of the case. I popped it into my eye — and immediately felt the wrath of a hundred thousand Scovilles singing my sclera. Between the squinting, the tears, and a fuzzy orange haze, it took me a while to get the contact back out. By then, I was bloodshot, blubbering, and blind in one eye.
I’m sure a real man would have put both lenses in, and waited for the oils to clear. Me, I rinsed those bastards in cold water for a good ten minutes before I even dreamed of trying again. Maybe I’m just a pansy that way. I’ll simply have to learn to live with it.
So, I got a third kind of ‘burn’ from my hot wings that I wasn’t at all ready for, and not remotely happy about. From now on, I’ll soak my hands in an ice bath for a few hours after eating spicy foods, and before I dare touch my contact lenses. Or I’ll take them out, and then eat them. I’m sure they’d be tasty, and it beats the hell out of jamming pepper sauce into my eyeballs. There are only so many orifices that hot food should hurt. And I’m sticking with the two I’ve dealt with before. This is no time to be a hot sauce hero.Permalink | 9 Comments