Current local Las Vegas time is 7:52am, January 19, 2018.

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I am officially old.

There were things I did in my younger, crazier years that would probably kill me if I attempted them now. And if they didn’t kill me, I’d probably want to be dead. It’s no secret that I like my spicy food really hot, usually as hot as or hotter than a restaurant can make it. I also haven’t had a cigar in about seven years. So why not combine them?

My good friend Louis was in town from Reno. I introduced him to the Cult of Capsaicin a while back and he has been a firm believer and practitioner ever since. Our usual offering to the God of Heat is done at Buffalo Wild Wings. They have terrific wings and lots of sauces, from mild to “Wild” to “Blazin’”, which as Louis and I describe, has a good kick.

When we order our wings we usually go for 50, split between the Hot BBQ sauce (deee-licious!) and Blazin’. And the servers inevitably look at us funny when we intricate that we’d like 25 of these lethal bird parts to eat. That’s our cue to order the side of Blazin’ sauce to dip the wings in, which usually gets us another eye roll from the server in addition the look on their face of someone who is staring at a couple of hot food posers.

When we whip out the bottle of Dave’s Insanity Sauce, which is “the original hottest sauce in the Universe”, the eye rolls, disdainful looks, and other such things disappear since the Nuclear Weapon has just been placed upon the table. And it’s freakin’ hot, not stuff for amateurs.

This is nearly a ritual for Louis and me when he’s in town. And since Louis was in town last night, we went to Buffalo Wild Wings and had at it. Fifty wings, extra crispy, half Hot BBQ, half Blazin’, large order of Buffalo Chips extra crispy, side order of Blazin’ sauce, and blue cheese dressing for dipping. I drank a Diet Coke with no ice. Louis had Iced Tea.

The normal progression of wings heat is to have one or two Hot BBQ wings to warn the palette of what’s to come. To us, this is the shallow end of the pool, and lets you get adjusted to the temperature. Then we have one Blazin’ wing without sauce, the equivalent of heading toward the deep end, but keeping the water at chest level. The next wing is dipped into Blazin’ sauce in order to complete the walk right up to where the water is at your chin.

Properly initiated to the heat, we then eat a few more wings, randomly choosing between Hot BBQ, and Blazin’ with or without extra sauce. At this point things are “tangy”. This is the point where the Dave’s appears in a few drops to bump things up, thus dipping out heads fully into the pool of heat. Properly ramped up, the heat is intense but quite bearable.

For whatever reason, I decided to breach wing etiquette last night. I had one Hot BBQ, and it was great. I had one Blazin’ with no extra sauce and it didn’t register much heat for me. So I dipped the next one. Again, not much heat. Hmmmm.

I really hadn’t properly gotten into the pool or prepared myself when sanity ran for the door and I jumped right out, grabbed the Dave’s Insanity Sauce, and rather than putting on a few drops, I poured a line on my wing. A big, honkin’ line of hot. I jumped right in, chewing the meat and giving the sauce a chance to distribute. So mix yet another metaphor I had gone “triple dog dare” on myself with no build-up.

At first, it wasn’t a big deal. Sure, it was hot, as I expect anything called “Insanity Sauce” to be. For a few seconds, it was not overwhelming. Dave’s actually has some terrific flavor for a few seconds. That’s when the payload hits and the heat pours over you in a wave of pain, heat, and sensory overload. And boy did it. Dave apparently brought along a friend. Let’s call him Satan. Normally, when I have my first supercharged wing, it’s hot, but the heat is gone after a minute to two and I’m ready for more. Not this time. I knew I had overdone it when my right eye gave up a single large tear from the outer corner that slowly ran down my cheek.

This didn’t go unnoticed. Louis, who was already concerned about me jumping into the deep end too quickly, looked worried when he saw the tear. I was in severe pain, but doing fine, all things considered. Perhaps my brain had decided to go into a fetal tuck and hide in some corner of my head. I suspect part of its plan was to cause me to lie about how well I was doing. This was confirmed when my left eye betrayed me with a tear of its own.

Sure enough, I was crying. No, not the sad, sobbing cry of the emotionally distraught, but the cry of one who has been brutally attacked with chemicals. Which is pretty much what was happening.

Oh dear.

At this point, about all you can do is ride it out, drink some beverage to cool things down, acknowledge the power of Capsaicin and pray that the Endorphin Gods smile upon you quickly. It took about 5 minute to go from the “recently maced and kicked hard in the groin” look to “what happened?” which is how I should look when eating hot food of this caliber.

I had been bested. I was done with extreme heat. I had more wings, alternating between sauced Blazin’ and Hot BBQ. I even tried another few drops of Dave on a wing, but I was a goner. There was simply no way I was going to tolerate ramping it up a few more times.

Louis did things the right way and gave himself the hots a few times, but didn’t overdo it and was able to reach Endorphinville by walking, rather than by slingshot as I did. He gets extra credit for restraint and was duly rewarded with a pleasant high.

After an hour or so, we called it quits. In addition to a lot of super hot food, I was full from 3 or 4 Diet Cokes and a bunch of water. Time to go home.

I should have called it an evening, but whatever filter that should have kicked in to tell me to stop had apparently been turned to ashes by the Dave’s Insanity Sauce. Louis had procured some nice cigars and I always keep decent scotch on hand, as I try to keep at least a thin veneer of gentleman about me.

Louis and I set up shop in the back yard of Casa Vargas and proceeded to enjoy a pour of 14 year old single malt on the rocks along with a couple of top-drawer stogies.

It actually felt good and relaxing and was a fine distraction from the fire in our bellies. We were out there for an hour or so nursing our scotch and cigars and having a pleasant conversation. At 10:00pm, Louis decided it was time to leave, and I was pretty tired myself. I put Luella to bed (Mrs. Vargas had already retired) did my various tidying up duties, locked up, and headed upstairs.

I don’t smoke. I have never smoked cigarettes, but used ot enjoy the occasional cigar. Like I said, I haven’t had a cigar in 7 years. Ours is most vehemently a non-smoking house. So I knew I would be stinky with smoke, and decided to have a shower before I went to bed so as not to exude an offensive air during the night and offend my lovely bride. I took a long, cool shower which washed away at least some of the recent sins in which I had participated.

Ahhhh. Time for bed. I did some reading, got tired, turned off the light, and closed my eyes.

That’s when my brain decided to come out of the corner, untuck itself from the fetal position and start thinking all those thoughts it missed out on over the past few hours. It was rather insistent, too. Normally I can do a decent job of clearing my mind and going to sleep, but not last night. I think I finally wandered off to Slumberland at 12:30 or 1:00am.

I didn’t sleep well. Sweats. Tossing. Turning. Weird psychedelic half-dreams. All night long. I normally sleep long and well, but not last night. My mind needed its revenge for being forced into a corner for a few hours, and it had it. Ten years ago, last night’s events wouldn’t have even registered a blip. Now they are a major life event. Sigh. Welcome to oldness, Lars Vargas.

When I got up this morning, I needed my vitamins and a large glass of water. Breakfast was out of the question, since my GI tract still needed healling.

Of course, there are other items of a personal nature that need attending in the cource of a morning. Without getting into too much detail, let’s just say that normally I digest the capsaicin, and have no ill aftereffects (also known at the second burn). But not last night. The heat went through untouched. My only hope is that I’m not humming Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” all day.

Published Mon 8/13/07 at 6:53am

Categorized in Friends & Family, Journal, Lars Vargas

2 Responses to I am officially old.

  1. Louis said on Mon 11/26/07 at 9:49am

    I can’t believe I didn’t read this one!
    Ohhh, the pain…. Ohhhh, the agony! I was at a convention and for the following TWO days, I sat, fidgeting and in discomfort while I was bored to sleep with the droll sounds of the speaker. Finally, Mr. Cash’s “Ring of Fire” ceased by Wednesday. Oy! Oy! Oooooohhhhh boy! I can’t imagine the pain you felt jumping in the deep end so quickly. Hey, I’m ready to do something similar to that again. Maybe not quite as much Dave’s this time. :^)

  2. LarsVargas said on Mon 1/7/08 at 1:39pm

    Hey, aren’t you going to be in town in a few days? I think I’m sufficiently recuperated to tangle with Dave again.

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