So last week I unintentionally changed the course of my desire to ever eat spicy foods again. I ingested something so hot, so painful, so unbelievably not for human consumption that for the better part of the night I sat in the shower and contemplated calling the hospital. And it was all for a bloody t-shirt.
Let me give you a little back story before I admit to eating pepto pills off a public restroom floor because to not have would have meant certain death.
Over the past few years I have been obsessed with spicy food challenges, hot sauces, peppers and really anything that makes a mouth unhappy. I really can’t answer why this has been such a fascination of mine but I will say if there is a person to blame, I blame Adam Richman of Man vs Food. Since its inception into the Travel Channel lineup, I have seen him ingest some of the hottest and most insane eating challenges this nation has to offer and every episode ends with me stating “I can to that”.
No I can’t.
East Coast Wings is a franchise that originated about five miles down the street from my house and it’s obvious what they specialize in. There must be about fifty different flavors of wings and over fifteen levels of spice starting with the meek mild and going all the way to the absurd. But there is one level to rule the other levels of heat. It’s the Insanity sauce and it’s so hot you have to sign a waiver and you can only eat one wing at a time. This was something that I had to try.
I have come to believe that many waiver forms for amusement are just gimmicks meant to lure people in thinking they are doing something dangerous when in all actuality, the real danger was the drive to the event. I have such a skeptical view on these challenges when you are asked to sign your life away. But “…external and internal tissue damage…” did catch my eye.
I forget how I managed to talk my girlfriend into accompanying me on this adventure but after a long day of football and drinking, I think she wanted to witness this about as much as I wanted to earn a t-shirt. Because it was such a long day of said activities, I had an empty tank and was pretty hungry so it was a challenge enough not to eat the Texas toast that was meant to qualm the fire I was about to ingest. The sugar and milk? That’s for babies.
Finally the “Insanity Wing” had arrived and it was go-time. There were a few spectators at 11:30 on a Saturday night who wanted to see what was going to happen but I didn’t even think about the possibility of giving them any entertainment other than watching a half-drunk guy look uncomfortable for a few minutes. It’s not that I was being cocky or even overly confident, I have taken on a few of these challenges before with little more than heartburn to speak of. I have even eaten a whole ghost pepper and while that was extraordinarily stupid, I survived and recovered a couple of hours later. This was only one wing, after all.
There is only one speed to take on these challenges and that is FAST. I ate this wing as if it was still on a live chicken. It’s not really something you can savor. I will say the burn on the mouth and throat was pretty intense but not nearly as bad as I have had before. But just when I thought I had this challenge beat, it hit my stomach. And that’s when my Hell began.
I have never had that happen to me before! In less than a second I had a burning coal trying to break through my abdomen just an inch below my sternum. I quietly excused myself and walked purposefully to the restroom praying that it wasn’t occupied. Thank God it wasn’t because the second I got there I collapsed wanting to throw up. But all I could do was sit on the floor of a public restroom in sheer hollow pain. Agony.
I would have gladly offered a finger to break if it would have subsided the waves of intense burning. My poor girlfriend opened the door to make sure I wasn’t dead and she found me with my back against the wall and asked if I was okay. I replied with a “NO! BIG MISTAKE! I’M SERIOUS!” She gave me a bottle of generic Peptic Relief pills and I greedily chewed a couple up and swallowed them. I could not coat the stomach fast enough. In fact, in my frantic state I may have dropped a couple on the floor of the restroom and I may have not given a shit and ate them anyway. That’s a level of discomfort that I am not accustom to.
Soon enough though, I managed to get a hold of the situation and take the walk of shame back to my bar stool where I asked to just go home. Oh, and I also wanted to give my shirt back. They said I earned it, but in my heart I felt defeated.
I felt a little better by the time we reached home, though my pride was definitely dented. I was once the master of the ghost pepper and Tai Spice #5 and one wing took me down. Literally down to a public restroom floor. This is a stretch, but I felt like a champion boxer who was play-fighting with his kid nephew and was accidentally knocked out only to demand a rematch and then the kid not only knocks him out again but writes “wuss” on his forehead and raises his boxer shorts up on a flagpole. I was injured and insulted.
Do you see that it looks like I still have wing sauce on my face? Well I don’t. That is the skin burn from the frick’n wing. I couldn’t feel the burn on my face though because the sheer pain of my stomach could have masked a femur break.
I went to bed thinking the worst was over. That was until an hour later when I woke up FEELING AS IF I JUST ATE THE DAMN WING! I couldn’t believe that this feeling was back and just as intense. I sat on the floor writhing in agony, eating pepto pills by the handful. It was all I could do.
After that episode I turned on the shower and sat in the tub because standing was not an option. All I could repeat was “So stupid. So stupid.”. I couldn’t help but dwell on the waiver that stated “…internal tissue damage”. I really thought the next step was to the hospital. OVER ONE DAMN WING!
Let me sum up the rest of the night: Wake up in pain, eat a bunch of antacids, curse myself, try to go back to bed, doze off, wake up again and repeat. Pretty awful. It wasn’t until around 7:30am when my wonderful girlfriend went to the store to buy every form of Mylanta and antacid did I find any relief. And by relief I mean I no longer felt the need for a bite stick.
Well, I survived and now that it has been a week since the challenge and when I began this disaster of a post, I can say that there was no internal tissue damage. I hated that I acted like a yard ape, rolling on a public restroom floor showing my lady parts to the girlfriend. I have decided, against better judgement, to take this challenge on again. This time I will eat AND not drink any liqueur before this challenge. Also, I will do this without anyone that I want to impress and have a life alert bracelet on. Oh yeah, and perhaps I’ll bring a mat incase I decide to do yoga on the restroom floor again.
“I don’t want to think about death when I’m eating chicken”
Moral of the story? I never learn from my mistakes.