In which I eat the wrong type of hot pepper
Tuesday, July 29, 2008 at 06:58AM
Political Mammal in Personal

I enjoy snacking on pickled Jalapeno peppers. Jalapeno peppers are tasty and mild--about 2500-8000 on the Scoville scale of hotness.

But awhile ago I was at the Calvert Woodley liquor store and happened to pick up a jar of pickled Habenero peppers—which I now know are 100,000-350,000 on the Scoville scale (one-tenth the hotness of pepper spray).

I had an empty stomach and was pretty hungry so I ate four of those peppers, one after another, as I drove the mile and a half back to my house. It seemed like an exceptionally hot batch of peppers and I noted that they burned quite a bit. Very soon I started to feel significant heat and pain in my stomach, similar to what I sometimes get if I drink alcohol on an empty stomach.

By the end of the short drive, I was so uncomfortable that I could barely drag myself out of the car, open the door to my house and collapse on the kitchen floor, waiting for the pain to subside. But it did not, and indeed seemed to worsen. I started to wonder just how badly I had blundered. I speculated about whether I had perhaps ruptured my stomach lining, and I started to wonder whether I would survive. I writhed for several minutes on the floor, all alone in the house, cursing my bad judgment.

At the high point of my suffering I reached for the phone and, I am embarrassed to say, dialed 911. I told the emergency operator what I had done and asked for advice. He had no ideas except sending an ambulance. I am proud to say that I declined that option, preferring to die than have an ambulance arrive for probably not fatal hot pepper consumption.

At last I had the bright idea to pull myself up, open the refrigerator, grab a half-gallon of milk, and drink as much as I could. I was better in a few minutes after that.

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