Dateline: New Smyrna Beach; A Summer Gone By; A Mexican Restaurant:
Adam, the youngest boy chick in my nest, once ate **a heaping pile of raw jalapeno peppers in a single sitting—in public, in front of witnesses, for cash and prizes.
It was on a Saturday night, and the folksinger at the restaurant sang “Copacabana.” The family watched. It was a bet.
You know the kind of bet I mean. The one that goes like, “I’ll bet you one hundred dollars you won’t eat that massive pile of jalapeno peppers that you’ve just picked off your nacho’s, because you despise them, and because they’ll probably make you throw up.”
You know! A boy bet.
Adam won the bet. The other boy involved? His father. Of course.
Items that do NOT work to alleviate jalapeno pepper tongue burn include: water, soda (diet or regular), licking the restaurant’s checkered table cloth, sugar, salt, tongue scraping with (fork, knife, spoon, nacho chip, napkins—cloth or paper—bread,) air drying, or sucking the waitress’ apron.
Boys are so weird; I said it when I was nine, and I stand by it.
Watching Adam chew, snot, and cry his way through the entire heap of toxic peppers was revolting, boarding on disgusting with a dash of horrific. But worse was the four hours of male speculation on what a full cup and three quarters of jalapeno peppers was going to do to Adam’s gastrointestinal track and when.
Boys are so weird and gross.
My son-in-law was happy to add to the discussion by relating a charming collegiate Taco Bell – hot sauce packet story. They bet some guy fool in their college dorm that he couldn’t choke down one hundred packets of Taco Bell hot sauce. He couldn’t. Seems the guy “melted down” (i.e. vomited) at fifty hot sauce packets. Disgusting but highly amusing was Phillip’s official conclusion.
It’s a wonder to me that any members of their sex survive to reproduce. My boys thundered out of my uterus counting the days until they could hurl sharp sticks, tie up the cat, kidnap the Barbie dolls, skewer themselves with homemade arrows, and ride the pony naked (true story—don’t ask.)
I knew that I was dealing with a brand new kind of barbarian when I heard myself saying, “There is no playing of computer games in this house NAKED, mister—or pony riding! Put your pants on!)
I tried to think of all the ways they could break the rules while naked. I couldn’t.
Please don’t misunderstand. I love boys. They are fun. They are game. They are always ready to go hiking through the mud of The Little-Big Econ State Park knocking down the giant Banana spider webs that block the trail. They use big sticks—the boys—not the spiders.
Boys are exciting and unpredictable, and you absolutely never know when the father-to-be is going to show up at your baby shower in a yellow convertible Volkswagen Beetle without his pants on—for a joke. It happened to a good friend of mine, and it wasn’t a problem until my friend trotted all her girlfriends out to meet her husband, the beloved father of her child. True story. She had a boy.
I love boys, but sometimes I don’t feel sorry for them. As we left the restaurant, my husband (a boy) whispered, “Where am I going to get a hundred bucks to pay Adam?”
“Not out of my girly girl purse,” I said, while batting my long eyelashes.
Gentlemen, I salute you and all those like you. You make life interesting, colorful, and fun, but honestly, put on some pants!
Linda (Barbarian Queen Mother) Zern
**It really was approximately and easily one and three quarters cup worth of peppers, should anyone wish to replicate the manly challenge of it all.