A Haunting from the Garden


What can I say? Despite my best efforts to evolve as a person, I am still prone to macho behavior and making foolish choices. One such instance occurred recently when a friend of mine told me he was growing ghost peppers.

“Ghost peppers?” I asked. “What are those?”

Because he possesses a meticulous, scientific mind he articulated how ghost peppers contain greater amounts of BTU’s or MRI’s than any other pepper (my head fogs up when numbers and units are involved, but I got the gist: ghost peppers are as hot as they come.)

Now, he didn’t challenge me. He didn’t insinuate I was weak. Yet some vestigial adolescent need to prove myself an invincible tough guy prompted me to say, “I’d eat one of those raw.”

My friend instantly recognized the potential for humor, so instead of saying, “Nah, man, you don’t want to eat that,” he goaded me further by pointing out how my kids and friends would recognize what a superb being I would become should I consume one of Satan’s candies. We briefly discussed tasing me while I ate it, or me dropping acid first, or both, but I quickly decided I wasn’t man enough (read: foolish enough) for all that business.

The pepper grew up—big, red, and angry, and at last the time came to stand behind my hastily spoken words. I bit into that sucker, chewed it for ten seconds, and swallowed. “This is not so bad,” I thought. Then the black magic within the ghost pepper contaminated my tongue. I’ll admit: I panicked for a moment. I couldn’t have previously imagined a spice could be so hot.

Milk and water brought intermittent relief, but really there was no escape. Ghost peppers are conscious-altering hot; if you don’t believe me, try a fresh one. Besides, you’re not really a man until you do.

Here’s a link to the video if you want to see me cry:  http://youtu.be/yCzbpgYj5ZU

About Jeff Opfer

Jeff is a carpenter and freelance writer born and raised in the Reno area. View all posts by Jeff Opfer

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