Friday, March 09, 2018

The last time I cried

 A nephew recently threw a multi-generational shindig in honour of his 30th. Those of us for whom 30 is a receding memory stuck mostly to ourselves, sipping déclassé brews and chatting amiably whilst the kids (30! What was that even like?) engaged in more robust varieties of socializing.

The neph's a passionate gourmand, and ensconced himself in kitchen triage, attending to fires inside and out while the scene bubbled happily around him. An early party trick included chicken (or veggie) wings, and a Hot Ones* line-up.
At some point in my last two decades, spice became a risk-management affair. I still appreciate a kick, but have received the heel hard enough to give hot sauce label warnings their due. I eyed the line-up warily. The only label I recognized was "Da Bomb"  we had a bottle cluttering up the fridge for a while before I finally threw it away, half-consumed. Flavourful stuff, but hotter than I want my chili to be.

Da Bomb was fourth of, I believe, eight or nine sauces in ascending order of Scoville units. I tried the milder sauces, then finally reached for Da Bomb. I was surprised to find it less scorching than I recalled. Emboldened, I reached for the sauce that came next  something called "Mad Dog dabbed a little on a freshly fried wing, and . . .


Hard to say what came first  hiccups, full-body sweat, copious tears, etc. All I know is that asking for a glass of milk felt like a mistake, because my teeth burned hotter when I exhaled than when I inhaled.

As the youngsters gathered round the old duff melting into a hiccuping puddle of sweat and mucous, the neph's charmingly candid wife admitted she may have confused the order of the hot sauces when she moved them from the bar to the serving table.

No matter. As I recovered, the young bucks in the room sprang to the table to test their mettle. Debate ensued as to whether Mad Dog was the hottest or merely the penultimate.

I didn't — and don't  care. There will be no Mad Dog in our fridge. There will be no more crying today.

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