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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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I May Never Learn… But My Sinuses Have Never Been Clearer

My parents got me a bag of ‘wasabi peanuts‘ for Christmas. Or my birthday last summer, I forget. I doesn’t really matter — the point is that these things were sitting around unopened for quite some time before the Super Bowl a couple of weekends ago. We had a few people over to watch, so I decided to whip out the ‘hot nuts’ and see who might enjoy a taste.

(Okay, so that last sentence got awfully perverted all of a sudden. Look, you know what I mean. Or not. Either way, I’m gonna keep going; this train is moving on.)

Anyway, there were exactly two takers for the little wasabe balls — me, and a friend of mine, T. He had two of them, maybe three. I ate three or four of them. Let’s just say that we were not altogether satisfied with our tasting experience.

The bag of nuts is still in the kitchen. They mock me, sneering, from the countertop. ‘Eat us,’ they chant. ‘Eat us — what are you, chicken?’ Bastards. They can eat me. I want no part of their little reindeer game.

Until today, that is. In a fit of ‘if I didn’t learn from it, how could it have been a mistake?‘ bravado, I tore into the package again after lunch, and popped one of the little green monsters into my mouth. And then another. And another.

And folks, I’ve got to tell you — it was not a wise decision. I’m kind of a dumbass sometimes.

See, I love spicy food. Indian curry, Mexican sauces, Buffalo wings — the hotter the better, and keep ’em coming. I don’t care if I’m sweating; I’ll tell you when it’s too hot. Just bring me a towel and another bowl of chili — hey, a beer to go with that would be nice — and let’s do this thing. Life’s too short for bland food — I’ll eat meatloaf and carrots when I’m dead, dammit.

But wasabi is different. It’s like horseradish — a whole different class of hottitude. Most peppers burn your lips and mouth — it’s the oil you have to worry about. But with the radishes, it’s… well, I don’t know what it is, frankly. Something airborne, maybe, aerosoled out of the hot stuff and up into the nose. Too much habanero pepper, and you’ll cry and sweat and burn, but it’s a good kind of hurt. A double dose of wasabi, and the back of your throat will melt, your nose hairs will curl and fall out, and you’ll snort like Mr. Ed doing a line of coke. Like I said, different.

And these peanuts are fricking serious with the wasabi, let me tell you. The shit is not spray-painted on there, or even brushed on. They gunk that green goo on there — the damned things are still vaguely peanut-shaped, but they’re huge — like big green golf balls or something.

(Okay, so maybe not that big. Hey, I can’t help it. Guys are always overestimating the size of their peanuts, right? It’s genetic, or something.

Just be glad I wasn’t discussing my pretzel sticks. Now those are huge. Fricking enormous. You hear me, ladies? Enormous.

Meh. Nobody’s listening. Damn. Well, now who’s gonna lick the salt off these things? Dagnabit!)

Seriously, there’s probably an eighth of an inch of wasabi coated on each peanut. And frankly, that’s just too damned much, people. There’s no safe way to eat these little bastards. I’ve tried another dozen or so, and cannot for the life of me find a method that doesn’t leave me with the ‘back the fuck up; I’m about to cough up a hairball‘ look on my face.

(Yeah, you usually only see that on cats. But our dog does a lovely impression, just before she upchucks kibble all over our rug. And I was in a fraternity in college, so I’ve had plenty of experience with that face, both viewing and making. Trust me; I’m an expert over here.)

Anyway, I tried the following, with varying degrees of non-success:

  • crunching the peanut up really fast and swallowing the pieces — this was my first strategy, and just about the stupidest damned thing I could have done. First of all, I don’t get to actually taste anything, so what the hell is the point? I might as well ingest gravel, or packing peanuts, or fricking Brussels sprouts, if I’m gonna do this. Plus, the heat still finds a way to escape and get up my nose. This option sucks.
  • gently chewing around the middle of my coating with my teeth to break it in half, then swallowing the wasabi and eating the peanut — not only is this a long-ass way to go to eat a peanut, it’s also fraught with danger. (Okay, maybe it’s not quite that dramatic, but I really wanted to use the word ‘fraught’. Deal.) Generally, this worked okay, but during one test, I got the tip of my tongue stuck in the half-shell of wasabi before I could swallow it. Now I wish I’d swallowed my tongue, too, because it’s on fricking fire. In a wasabi-induced panic, I sprayed Pledge on it to ease the pain. It didn’t really help, but now my breath is lemony fresh. That’s just peachy.
  • pressing the peanut onto the roof of my mouth and letting the wasabi melt off gradually — this was generally okay. But I had to use my tongue to keep it glommed up there, and the tongue is where the tasticle buds live, so I’d occasionally hit just the right one and send a twitchy shot of pure wasabi straight to my brain. Now I can’t remember what comes after ‘I-J-K’. Bitches.
  • pulling the coating off with my fingers and just eating the damned peanuts — the best solution so far, and I’ve had no trouble with the actual eating process using this method. However, I did lose track of what I was doing, and rubbed my itchy eye a minute ago, which nearly knocked me out of my chair with a burst of pupil-popping pain. I’m better now, but the whole world is tinted a fiery, teared-up green. And there are little Pikachus running around the room, giving me the finger and mooning me. I only hope my vision isn’t permanently affected. Those little fuckers are gonna get old in a hurry.

I see now that I should have just left the bag alone, and maybe had a cookie. Or a couple of crackers. Or battery acid. Any of those things would have been far, far preferable to my experience with the wacked-out wasabi peanuts. But I learned my lesson this time — after just a few nuts, I closed up the bag, got up, and put the bag away.

In the kitchen. Back on the countertop. Where the nuts immediately started taunting me again. ‘Hey, chico, come suck on this, you big baby!

Lousy frigging nuts. I’ll put up with that crap for a few days, but I think we all know that I’ll be back again, eating the stupid things, falling out of my chair, and likely blinding myself again. Honestly, I’m not the wiggliest dildo in the sex shop, if you know what I mean.

Still, in the end, I’m gonna win. I’ll eat all those little bastards, and there’ll be nothing left but that empty damned bag. It might take me a couple of years, but I’ll do it. (And certainly, nobody else around here is jackassed enough to beat me to it.) And then, I’ll have won. I’ll have lost my sense of smell, and possibly gone completely insane, but I’ll have won, and that’s all that’s important. No foodstuff is gonna come into my house and pimpslap me around — just you watch. I’ll shut those nuts up yet. Mark my teary-eyed, dizzy, huffy-nosed words.

Ugh. I think I’ll lie down for a while. Somebody get those damned Pikachus outta here, would you?

Permalink  |  6 Comments

6 Responses to “I May Never Learn… But My Sinuses Have Never Been Clearer”

  1. HR LADY says:

    I’ll never forget the first time my tough-as-nails-I-eat-fire-for-breakfast-husband tried wasabi. Before I could scream “NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, you don’t want a whole tablespoon of that in your mouth at once!!!” He had put a tablespoon full of the stuff on a little tiny tidbit of rice!! Oh the comedy that ensued!!! The only problem was he was convinced that I’d kind of done it to him and was therefore somewhat sullen and pouty throughout the rest of our meal. Then he said, “It’s not actually hot, it’s like a mustard.” He’s never touched the stuff again. I love that awesome high you get from Wasabi, when you can actually FEEL your hair stand on end.

  2. HR LADY, your husband’s first experience with wasabi was very similar to mine, only I didn’t do it on purpose. Those bastards at the sushi place I was eating at stealthed the wasabi under the tuna they placed on the rice.

    Without realizing it, I bit into that shit and I panicked. I mean, seriously panicked! I thought I was going to DIE. I couldn’t breathe, my face was like a fire engine and I was sweating. I literally couldn’t breathe!! In the end I was fine, and when the laughter subsided (throughout the restaurant), I finally learned how to eat the shit and live!

  3. Jon says:

    Not the wiggliest dildo in the sex shop?

    I’m sure that means more than I think it does.

    Oh. Right. Knife in the drawer.


  4. The Hearn says:

    I have a bag of Wasabi peanuts myself. Did you get yours from (Seriously.)

    I got mine down in NC, and I like the hotness, but not the aftertaste. They’re great for cleaning out the sinuses, though.

  5. Tommy says:

    Brilliant! I’ve never read anything like this in my life.

    I must appologize, I first came to your site via a link on Miss Lyndsay’s page, looking for info on how to find her. I started reading your posts about two weeks ago, you have an extreme talent with expressing true feeling and emotion in your writing. I just can’t say enough, thank you for that.

    Anywho, I’ve since given up on finding Lyndsay but still drop in here to check out what you’ve written lately. I really love this Wasabi story and I wonder if I could copy it. I think that a few of my friends would really enjoy your opinion. Thank you again, I’ll be looking foreward to your permission.

  6. shelley says:

    I’m trying to decide if you and your friend T are just wimps or if these wasabi peanuts you’re trying out are actually that much hotter than the wasabi peas I get (and eat and adore in copious amounts) from Trader Joe’s. I’ve also had them in Hong Kong … hotter, but also delish. Please tell me you’re not a wasabi-wimp, Charlie. This would ruin everything we could have had together.

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