Hi All! I just discovered the board and while introducing myself, I thought about relaying a little anecdote about one of my first exposures to the genius that is Steven Raichlen:
When I am not working, parenting, drawing, fishing or trying to defeat a case of writer’s block with a fist full of Ex-Lax and a fifth of tequila, I can generally be found trying to increase my proficiency in the art of backyard grilling. I have become rather good at it and one of my specialties is a Firehouse Jack’s Mustard Sauce (From Sauces Rubs and Marinades Page 167)that tastes particularly succulent when applied in liberal amounts to slowly grilled chicken. One of the main ingredients, of course, is the jalapeno pepper, finely diced and applied to the sauce while boiling. After preparing this rather volatile ingredient one summer afternoon a couple of years ago, I found myself having to answer an urgent call of nature, which I did without paying any consideration to the idea of washing my hands before making my way to the bathroom. After doing what I had to do, I returned to the kitchen and began working on the onions while continuing the conversation I was having with my wife before I had excused myself.
Before long, I started experiencing a wild tingling sensation from beneath my jeans and within seconds, I began formulating a plan to immerse my kids into some kind of activity that would keep them engrossed for fifteen minutes while I enjoyed some “alone time” with my wife. Before I could come up with anything however, the sensation began turning rather uncomfortable. Enough so in fact that I started modifying my posture to try and compensate for the discomfort. By the time my wife got around to asking if I was okay, I was doubled over, standing on one leg and gripping onto the kitchen countertop so tightly that I was practically engraving my fingerprints into the Formica countertop. Pathetically whimpering that I thought I needed to take a quick shower, I excused myself and awkwardly limped to my basement bathroom.
Retreating to the shower seemed like a natural way to rectify the situation. With the wisdom that can only be gleaned in hindsight however, I can now confidently say that this strategy was by far the worst thing that I could possibly have done. In addition to having no soothing value whatsoever, the only thing the application of water accomplished was to spread the pain to other areas, with decidedly gender-bending physical effects, while amplifying its excruciation factor exponentially. Inside of thirty seconds I was brought to my knees, hysterically screaming at my wife to bring me a glass of milk in an octave akin to that of Minnie Mouse indulging an urgent helium habit. I was also mentally penning a suggestion that I thought could be of use to the military officers in charge of interrogation at Gitmo (I know that I was ready to talk at that point).
Like some sort of Borden bucket brigade, my wife finally arrived with a generous helping of 2% served in a glass that I instantaneously vowed never to drink from again. Without hesitation or ceremony, I plunged my afflicted appendages into the container while letting out an audible groan, not because of any immediate soothing effect that the dairy product had, but because of the shock of plunging a part of my anatomy that is generally kept warm and protected into a liquid chilled to a temperature that would have placed a polar bear in danger of debilitating frostbite. It was at about that time that my two-year-old son decided to show up to see what all the commotion was about, adding humiliation to the growing list of ailments I was then suffering from. “Wha you do-in Dah’dee?” he innocently asked.
In the heat of the moment, when you are on your knees in a shower stall wearing nothing but a crystal athletic supporter filled with a frigid breakfast beverage, it is hard to formulate an answer that you will be comfortable with having your two-year-old scion repeating in day care. “Daddy’s dipping his…uh….cookies.” was the only thing I could come up with on the fly while shooing him out of my bathroom.
It took a while, but the pain did eventually subside. The memory of it is still rather vivid however and just thinking about it is more than enough to instantly reduce my locker room bragging rights. Jalapeno oil is, at least in my experience, the second most painful thing that can possibly be applied to a human being’s groin area, running a close second behind exposure to pepper spray, which is something I know as a result of unleashing a spontaneous act of random nudity in close proximity to an ongoing student riot in Korea. While I am preaching the pitfalls of careless vegetable handling, it probably bears mentioning that mooning oriental authority figures armed with chemical crowd control devices isn’t such a great idea either.