Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Habaneros and Testosterone Don't Mix (Post-Uni)

Jeebus, what a horrible, long day. The days where you think you do everything right and everything turns to crap before your eyes are tough ones to take. I'm still sorting through the issues that were left to wait for me until I got back from my holidays. And of course, it's all time-sensitive stuff, so the time to satisfy clients is gone and past, I'm in strict damage control mode now. Problem is that you can't really fire someone for incompetence in government. But that's a topic for another day.

Today, to brighten the mood, the story is about something a little less depressing, the very first day I set out on my own.

After university, with not a penny to my name (literally, my last $13.17 paid for lunch for me and my dad on the way home from school), I moved back in with my parents. But, there wasn't a job to be had in my hometown, let alone a decent one.

So I packed up a suitcase full of clothes, a blanket, a pillow and my guitar, and went to the big city (Toronto), to try and bring in some cash.

I had a few friends there who were finishing up their college degrees, and they were more than happy to have me crash on their couch, as it was one more drinking buddy and one more chequebook paying rent.

Apparently, one of my buddies had bought a bagful of habanero peppers a few days prior. Habanero peppers, in case you were born yesterday, are the hottest peppers known to man. They're about the size of a golf ball, and they pack some ridiculous heat. The night before, they had made pasta sauce and dropped in about 5 full habaneros, and could hardly even get close enough to the pot to throw it out.

Then, as you can well imagine with an apartment full of guys, eating habanero peppers became an extreme sport. The peppers were sliced paper thin, and it was a contest to see who could eat the most slices.

Unbeknownst to me, everyone in the apartment pretty much tied at one slice. Then I walked in the door, fresh from the three-hour car-trip, suitcase in one hand, guitar in the other. I never even put down the suitcase before my buddy comes in and says "dude, I dare you to eat one of these".

"What is it?"

"It's a habanero pepper."

"Aren't those things really hot?"

"Yeah, but they're not that bad, go ahead, try one."

"I don't know..."

"Come on man, we all did it. Think of it as your initiation to the apartment."

"Well, if you put it that way..."

So now, it's all about my manhood. I figured I'd down a few of them and be in pain for a while, and that would be that. The key, I thought, would be just to not taste it on the way down.

Ever seen that Simpsons episode with the chili cookoff? Where Homer eats the insanity pepper laced-chili (The merciless peppers of Quetzlzacatenango! Grown deep in the jungle primeval by the inmates of a Guatemalan insane asylum.)? That's where I got the idea...well...I don't have a bunch of wax to pour in my mouth, but as long as the peppers don't hit my tongue, I'll be fine...

So, I open wide and drop the pepper slice right onto the back of my throat and swallow. And grab another slice, and another one, and two more after that. All my buddies, who were laughing and carrying on moments prior, are now staring in shock, amazement, and more than a little concern.

Needless to say, I'm feeling quite proud of myself. I might be overeducated and unemployed, but at least I'm now unequivocably the alpha male of this bachelor pad. Then, as I assumed, the pain kicked in. Of course, my mistake was that I thought this pain would be limited to a mild-to-moderate discomfort, nothing a shot of Pepto Bismol wouldn't be able to fix. What I didn't expect, was not being able to see or breathe, with the feeling like someone was stabbing me in the stomach with a knife dipped in acid and lit on fire. I felt so sick. On top of it, I was so stunned that, you know guys, when you get squared in the balls just perfectly, and your abdomen hurts and you feel like you're going to throw up? Well, that's how I felt. In addition to someone setting me on fire.

So my buddies rush in...a bag of milk and half a loaf of bread later, and it's still getting worse. I'm not even trying to be a man anymore, moaning and groaning and whimpering in agony. As a last resort, I shotgun four beers and down a few shots of vodka, praying to God to just let me pass out. Which I finally did after three hours of mind-numbing agony. I woke up in a pool of my own sweat - my pjs and sheets were so drenched I could wring them out - downed about two litres of water, and fell asleep again. My diet was limited to peanut butter and crackers for three days, and I couldn't stop sweating for almost a week.

But dammit, I won.


At July 26, 2006, Blogger Normalcy Overrated said...

The thought that would run through my mind is "If I throw them up, would it be better or worse?"

At July 29, 2006, Anonymous sailor said...

oh man, tears are running down my face. another classic story. i've had a few too many losing battles with hot peppers myself, and that makes the story even more fun to read.


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