Okay, boredom has set in on some level. Of course, we spend our mornings doing homework and regular, grown-up style work, and we run and ride bikes and play, but we were looking for something new. Something fun. Something inspirational. Perhaps something dangerous that didn’t involve standing closer than six feet to someone.
It took us days of thumb twiddling to come up with an activity. Then, from the far side of the internet. From deep inside the YouTube machine came a show called Hot Ones. Billed as a show with “hot questions and even hotter wings”. The features celebrity guests eating progressively hotter wings while answering questions asked by the host/ demon of hot foods, Sean Evans.
Now, I’ve long claimed to be a terrible salesperson, but I somehow convinced my two oldest children that filming our own version of the show would be a perfect way to pass the time. My oldest was a reluctant participant, but my middle, Macy, grabbed onto the idea the like a dog to a bone. She insisted on show quality sauces. She insisted on difficult questions. Hell, she was the one that insisted on multiple camera angles.
Things really started falling into place. I had a few sauces already. In the limited shopping we were allowed to do we were able to find a couple of more. We weren’t able to find “Da Bomb” or “Blair’s Mega Death Sauce” like the show, but we put up a reputable showing with one sauce boasting 100,000 Scoville units (the heat measure of a pepper – a jalapeno coming in around 2500 units) and our hottest sauce being between 350,000 and 400,000 Scoville units. We even received an ad from a wing shop the morning of the contest saying they would deliver us wings to our front door. That was more than coincidence, I thought, the angels were smiling on us. Smiling on us for at least for a while.
We ordered the wings, we set up three different cameras, I wrote questions for the girls as I would be playing the host and we staged the sauces and five wings on the table for each of us.
It was show time.
Wing one went down for everyone easy enough. Wing two was Siracha. No problem. Child’s play. Three was where it started getting interesting. It was an El Yucateca XXXtra Hot. It sat around 11,000 Scolvilles. My eldest began having serious doubts. It was hotter than she was planning on eating. It was nothing compared to what was coming.
The questions were coming as well. “If you had to kiss a boy, I mean you had to, who would it be?” and “You could go to space camp or get an iPhone X, which would you take?” (Thank Christmas they both took space camp)
Next up was this Habanero/Orange/Garlic monstrosity that even had me nervous.
We each took the wing. We bit down. Nothing. Sweetness sure, but no heat. Then another bite. We all smiled. “Pffft, what’s the big deal?” we each thought to ourselves and then with each other aloud. Then we realized our mistake. The orange was a Trojan horse. The sweetness gave way to what could be described as a penny dipped in battery acid. We had all made a tremendous mistake taking another bite. The second bite offered the same orange sweetness but this time it was paired with the heat of the first bite. Not just unpleasant in flavor, it was also the realization that food may never taste the same again considering the damage we had done to our tongues.
Then the questions, “Getting a red card in a championship game but your team still wins or score three goals but your team loses” and “you can have any pet you’d want but you’d have to give up one of your own pets, would you?” Turns out both would take the red card and still win, but one would need a new tank in the back yard for her new narwhal. Sorry Obi.
We all looked apprehensively at the final wing. 350,000 Scoville units staring straight at us. I wasn’t particularly nervous about the previous wings. The smell of this one completely cleared my sinuses. I don’t know if it was the wings they had already eaten, the boyfriend related questions or the anticipation of this final super spicy wings, but they were both sweating like, well, the oldest profession in a place of worship.
My wife shook her head at the table full of idiots as we bit down into the final wing. I think, and I say ‘think’, as things became a little rushed with that last wing, I think it made for good camera. This wasn’t a ‘creeper’ like wing four. This one was right up in your face. It made its intentions known quickly and with rigorous authority. My oldest, Avery, drank one glass of milk, then another, with the ability generally reserved for fraternity parties. Macy tried to waive air into her mouth. I didn’t know that move was used in real life, Tom & Jerry, for sure, but not in the flesh. Myself, I tried to keep up a stiff veneer, a move I learned from the show our dumbassery (sp?) was based on. He does a much better job.
My face was melting when I asked my last question.
“Who is your favorite, Mommy or Daddy?”
The lesson here girls? Its about fun. Was it a bit risky eating things that spicy? Perhaps. Did we all regret it at the time and again in the morning when our home seemed short three bidets? Absolutely. Was it the most fun we’ve had during the stay-at-home order? Yeah, probably.
I guess, every once in a while you should truly embrace the absurd. Do something profoundly stupid. Throw caution to the wind in search of a great time. Its how adults become kids again. Children have these wonderful imaginations that we tend to squash as we get tubby and gray. We adults need to manifest our imaginations from time to time and the easiest way to do it is through rugged acts of idiocy. You know how I call the Wild West Relay the dumbest fun thing you can do? Rugged idiocy, get it?
So, as you get older, embrace the absurd, to a point. If you aren’t going to hurt anyone, and only slightly hurt yourself, go nuts!
Also, the answer to the last question was unacceptable. Just because I fed you 350,000 Scovilles of fun doesn’t mean you get to pick Mommy as your favorite.
Also, hope you're feeling better @seanseaevans
Also, hope you're feeling better @seanseaevans