Through the annuls of history there are names of men who stand above their peers, who's names are synonymous with words like "best", "greatness", and in some cases, even "legend", They have fought through wars that would cause lesser men to turn and flee, fought battles that had claimed those who have attempted the act before and come through with their arm raised in victory. These men create an aura around them, a sense that they are bigger than life and are indestructible. But in contests of will, force, and strength, no matter how good a man is, the say goes that around the next corner is someone who will knock you on your ass.
Tonight, I rounded that corner.
I've prided myself on having mutant like abilities to consume obscene amounts of hot and spicy foods without batting an eyelash. Jalapenos? Barely even register. Habaneros? Last year I ate a pizza made with 18 habanero peppers diced into the sauce. I've eaten some of the world's most hottest hot sauces, eaten entire ghost chilis, the world's hottest pepper in the world and only shrugged.
I'd amaze hosts and hostesses of Thai, Mexican, and Indian restaurants where after fighting with them for a good minute or two to make my food as authentically hot as possible when I would add even more spices when it wasn't as hot as they claimed it would be.
For the past 3 years, I've come to the conclusion that there is nothing on this planet that is too hot for me. The only thing I can say is that in nature, it was impossible; it took the meddling hand of man to construct something that was beyond my threshold.
I have a close friend who is also a chili mutant. We go toe-to-toe with all that we eat and he and I both agree that if it the stakes were unlimited, I would come out the winner 9 out of 10 times. One catch, though, is that we require whatever we eat to taste good; heat for heat's sake means nothing if the food isn't flavorful enough to keep eating. Tonight, he found a way to stop me in my tracks.
He's a huge disc golf player and one of the annual Winter Warriors tournaments is also accompanied by a chili cookoff afterwards. Last year, he entered a chilli that was loaded with habbis and ghost chilis. As hot as it was, it wasn't too much for either of us or even a few of the players. This year, he added science to his recipe.
After we've both done battle with the bhut jolokia and came away less than scratched, we realized that we both stood atop Mother Nature as worthy champions. Entering the world of man, we may have met our match.
Enter Mad Dog .357 pepper extract.
Coming in at a whopping 5,000,000 SHU, this is 5 times hotter than any pepper on earth. After sampling a large drop on a Trisket, we were both let down at how hot it wasn't. Convinced he didn't spend $40 in vain, he added half the bottle of extract to his 4 quart batch of chili.
All day I heard of how horrendous it was, how it forced 6 people to stop eating in a cold sweat after a single bite and how it made 2 other brave contenders vomit after the first taste. A main event was in the brewing.
My friend invited me over to watch UFC 124 tonight and to tangle with the Face Melter as he called it (I renamed it to Devil's Semen by the time the night was over).
Coming in the front door, it was only a matter of minutes before I was face to face with my foe. The number to beat was 4 bites as that's the most anyone at the cookoff was able to eat. I went in, high on myself, ready to demolish that record and claim another notch on my belt for hottest food consumed.
I looked into the chili. The chili looked into me. We both nodded. It was go time.
My first bite. I chewed it. I swished it around my mouth like a mouth rinse, begging, nay, DEMANDING that it show it's true self to me. I waited a full minute after that first bite. It came at me with what it had (or so I thought), and I scoffed. Smiling to myself, I took a second bite.
And a third.
And a fourth.
And a fifth. I was only three or four bites away from finishing my bowl. I was going to coast to this.
Then the chili connected with a straight right that put me down. It hit me and I panicked. There was no catching my breath, there was no second wind, there was no riding the round out, this fight was over. Being arrogant, I did not bring milk, assuming Chad and Shellie would have some. Pride goeth before the fall, and Fate saw fit to remove the milk from their fridge.
I was in agony. AGONY. Never in my life have I ingested anything near this level of violence. I felt the top of my stomach, my esophagus, and every corner of my mouth, felt as if I had eaten shards of broken glass, chased with rubbing alcohol or a rod of molten fire had been swallowed and was melting every piece of flesh it contacted as it slid down my gullet. I begged for relief. I drank the only dairy they had, a pint of whipping cream, to no avail. Chad called his neighbor who was also coming to the fights and asked if he could run over and get some milk. Much to my relief, he was more than willing to share.
Chad ran next door, I paced the living room, I crouched in the kitchen, I fought the fear that built up inside me as I recalled stories of people eating things so hot it caused their throats to swell. I had no spiritual epiphany, I saw no religious deities in my dementia, all I knew was pain in a way that I had never felt before. I ate a handful of rolaids, drank slug after slug of Gaviscon, finding small windows of relief.
Shortly Chad returned with half a glass measuring cup filled with whole milk. Slowly I sipped, feeling the fire starting to die. I nursed the drink, chased it with more Gaviscon, and finally found some sort of peace. I was shaking for 10 minutes. My complexion changed from red to white and back again. I looked at the crockpot with a look of not respect, but pure, unadulterated fear. Chad puffed his chest out on making something hot enough to make me tap, but was also concerned that at some point during the night, I might die.
Lady Capsaicin called on me several more times tonight, bringing bouts of stinging pain that nearly dropped me to my knees. I tried more Gaviscon and Rolaids, but to no avail; I gritted my teeth and fought through the pain, and eventually it subsided.
At this point, just shy of 1:00 AM, I've consumed nearly a caloric pound of dairy product. In my past, I've competed in submission wrestling matches, would wrestle up to 6 times in a day in high school after cutting 10 pounds of weight the night before, play back to back football games when I was in 7th grade and was asked to step up to play in the 8th grade game that always followed when they were shy players. I don't know if my midsection has ever felt as torn up, beaten, and throttled as it does right now.
I hold my head high as I still stand the tallest of all the defeated, but am defeated nonetheless.
And to show that my sanity is not in tact, given enough time to heal, I would do battle with this foe again, as long as I had milk next to me for the entire endeavor. Stupid? To some. But inside me is the spirit of a warrior.
I am defeated, but I am not broken. I will rise again and reclaim my tittle. I will become a god once again.
CBBC Corrupter, Official Translator of Pope Siglericus XXX, 2012 Body Maim World Champion, Siglerfest 2K12 Open Invitational Double Elimination Arm Wrestling Champion