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So I'm cutting up a Trinidad Scorpion Butch-T pepper with gloves on, and sprinkling it around a pizza that I am going to cook and eat. Grown in worm casings, it is said to be the hottest pepper in the history of anything, ever.
I didn't have a surplus of worm casings when I planted my plant, Trisha (yes, I name my ridiculous pepper plants). But I did have enough household compost to dig a big hole and replace it with the results from a worm-heavy cold-compost pile before planting the little girl in the middle of that pile of worm-digested food.
Therefore I suspect she's very well-fed; indeed, she's grown much larger than any other first-year pepper plant in the garden, without any purposeful chemical treatments or chemical fertilizer.
I've grown ghost peppers (bhot jolokia) for a few years, and I think I understand what I'm in for. The Scorpions have just started to ripen for the season and this is my first of them.
So I pick a deliciously-colored one, quickly sharpen a good knife, and chop it up finely with gloved hands. Still wearing the nitrile gloves, I scrape the minced pepper from the cutting board and sprinkle it onto the pizza. And I take the gloves off and throw them away, because I'm done handling it now -- right?
But seeing those tiny morsels of pepper on that slab of cardboard crust, tomato goo, and imitation cheese makes me think: Gee, how hot could it be?
So I gather up a tiny sliver from the surface of the pizza with my fingertips and eat it. Yep: It's hot. So hot that it has no redeeming qualities, other than just being hot. None of this was unexpected, though at least by comparison a Habernero has a strong and sweet citrus quality once one gets past the pain... But there was no redeeming quality to this pepper: Just pain.
Well enough, I say to myself. I set the oven to pre-heat the oven and go take a leak while I wait.
Twenty minutes later, my fingers are fine. My palette is fine. My throat is fine. My genitals are on fire.
It's not like I can buy these things at the market, so it's amusing to see how persistent this pepper is in casual use.
And, by God, I'm going to cook that pizza. And I'm going to eat it. And I'm going to handle each and every bite with dishwasher-safe, stainless utensils, and I am going to wash them with an enzyme-based detergent and then a bleach-based detergent -- nobody needs to experience this on accident.
I might even put a fresh pair of nitrile gloves on, just to make sure that nothing that goes in my face winds up somewhere other than in my face when I eat this pizza.
But the question is: Why? Why not just enjoy some bland, cheap, freezer pizza? Why, while I wait, do I suffer from a special kind of burning nasal distress every time I emit a tiny burp or belch, having eaten just the tiniest sliver of a pepper? Why can't I just admire Trisha in all of her visual Trinidad Scorpion Butch-T delight? (She is a very lovely plant, after all.)
Why must I torture myself by eating her fruit?
So, the other day I was at Wal-Mart. My wife and I had done some shopping, and among other things (mostly food) we had bought a new-release Blu-Ray movie.
At the checkout, the clerk passed the movie over the security-tag deactivation thingie several times, but there was no response from it.
However, on the way out, the alarm went off. The greeter (an elderly woman) says "Over here, over here," motioning to me that I should go see her. I ignore her. She grabs onto the cart and pulls, as if attempting to stop me. Not stopping for even an instant, I calmly say "Ma'am, you have no right to hold me here," and proceed on my way. She lets go.
Behind me, through the open door to the parking lot, I hear her say "But you're SUPPOSED to stop."
Now, pause: Why am I supposed to stop? Did I do something wrong? Am I in some kind of trouble? Is anyone else in some kind of trouble that I should be assisting them with? No, no, and no. I own my stuff, I paid for it, and I'm leaving with it -- plain and simple.
I kept walking. When we finally reached the car, which I always park on the far edge of the lot to avoid car door dings and cart damage (cheap insurance, and a good walk, too), we calmly loaded our new possessions into the car. After that, my wife looks back at the store, and sees the greeter-lady standing there, holding the automatic sliding door open, watching.
We get into the car. The greeter is still watching. Wondering how long this can possibly play out, and what might happen if it did, we rolled down the windows and smoked cigarettes for a few minutes. Still, way over there, the greeter was watching.
The greeter won the staring contest, and we eventually left, but: blah.
Any suggestions for an artist or genre I could try out, or a better way to browse? The site also has a lot of scripting that my Firefox doesn't like.
I'm not qualified to have an informed opinion on the bailout bill, and I certainly understand the skepticism and hostility towards it. But I get the feeling that this was a huge missed opportunity to avoid disaster...
Anyway, Shanah Tovah to all Jewish readers!