Food Lightning

The correct answer is milk.

If you eat something really spicy and you want to put out the flames immediately, a glass of milk is what you need. If you eat something so ridiculously spicy that it renders your thought processes defunct and you eat spoonfuls of butter, you are in for one Kafka-esque rollercoaster of a ride.

I grilled up a large assortment of vegetables and shrimp for dinner last night and meant to take the left-overs to work for my lunch. In a typical rushed Monday morning, I left my lunch at home. Let me just thank Almighty God right now that this did NOT happen while I was at work. They would have called me an ambulance. No question.

I was looking forward to eating what should have been my lunch. I had a nice chat with my wife while I microwaved the grilled shrimp, black beans, Monterey jack cheese, zucchini, onions, and carrots. In the spirit of full disclosure and also because food related blogging is supposed to be painfully boring, I also toasted three corn tortillas. Let's not forget the hot peppers. I also heated up some of the hot peppers I roasted on the grill last night.

As far as I can tell, there were no peppers on the three tacos I assembled. The peppers were like a side dish. I was about somewhere in the middle of the second bite of my taco when it dawned on me that it was pretty spicy and that I felt a thin sheen of sweat all over. I made it another two bites or so and that is when I was struck by what can only be described as Food Lightning. It was like being struck in my mouth by lightning.

It was so overwhelming and excruciatingly unpleasant. At this point, most people assume I am talking about the thermonuclear temperatures of the mouth and that would be a logical place to start but it was the entire experience taken together that dwarfs the fact that my face was melting off.

I had never experienced instant-on, head-to-toe sweating before. This was coupled with the toasty warm feeling of a ship's Battle Stations klaxxon. And by that I mean a sense of malaise. And not the slowed down flu-like malaise. I mean the excited "see them run like pigs from a gun" sort of malaise. This would be a good time to mention that the outside of my lips burned but not in a spicy food way. It felt like an actual or perhaps a caustic burn.

As fun as all of that sounds, I haven't even mentioned the worst part. The single most awful part of the experience was the unbelievable stomach cramp that pretty much left me in a crumpled heap. The cramping was completely synchronized with the dripping wet hot flashes and the Hell's Kitchen for a mouth. It hurt so badly I couldn't even lay down, I had to sit in a semi-upright position. For two and a half hours I just hunched over. I was unable to stand up. At its worst, I imagined that it was precisely what a gunshot to the belly would feel like.

So glad am I to be wrapping up this little essay on paradise without going into details about how much Pepto Bismol I chugged straight from the bottle. And yes, I did eat two spoonfuls of butter. I wish I would have just remembered to drink some milk.