spicy

Byron was a coworker of mine in the late 80s. He’d gained a reputation for being able to eat all manner of toxically spicy foods without pain or discomfort. It became a regular event for someone to come by, give Byron something awfully hot to eat, and groan as Byron chowed it down without complaint. 

I was at a phase where I didn’t like to admit weakness. My tolerance for spicy food was higher than most but Byron’s shows of immunity to spices had me concerned. I’d had some spices that were downright painful and I didn’t want to be in the position that Byron was in.

One day, some guys came in with something particularly toxic. I forget its name but this pepper was from Vietnam and the guy presenting it was wearing gloves. Byron put it in his mouth and started chewing. His face went red and sweaty. He teared up. He couldn’t talk properly and barely squeaked out “‘Tsgood.” He staggered to his chair and sat down. 

When he recovered his voice, Byron said that the pepper was spicy but not too bad. 

His audience said that Byron was a lying sack of stuff.

I used the opportunity to learn from other folks’ mistakes instead of my own: I learned that if something is spicy, I’ll just say so. It’s not worth it.

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