I’m not the most thicked tongued person, but I’m far from the most sensitive.  I love curry, salsa, cilantro, chili powder, red pepper as much as the next person.  I don’t go to extremes with pepper eating contests, nor do I like peppers of any sort, even the green ones.  So when I found a Southwestern salad kit at work one day, I found it completely normal to buy and try as it sounded downright tasty.  And it was…until…

       Many a southwestern themed salad have I eaten at restaurants and loved them.  From their tangy dressings to their tortilla strips.  This kit came with ice berg, tortilla strips, fried onions in batter, and dressing…yum.  

       I sat down around 11pm one day after a night at work in front of my PC to watch some TV.  PSN was undergoing maintenance, so I couldn’t use the regular TV.  (I love this modern TV era!)  About one-fourth of the way through, I felt a burning sensation.  This burning sensation got bad enough I needed a drink.  Not a problem.  We used to drink cokes with our red peppered Mr Gatti’s..remember?  So I took a sip of tea.  So help me I think that made it worse.  Another sip, yup…definitely worse.  I later discovered it was not, in fact, sleepytime herbal tea.  No, it was Chai Tea-you know, cloves, cinnamon.  Thinking of other options, I remembered sugar is supposed to help, so I grabbed a diet coke.  The pretend sugar did actually help, as long as I kept it in my mouth.  I took a sip or two, and put it back in the fridge.

       I gave it the benefit of the doubt, assuming I hit a spicy dressing pocket or something.  Nope, I was just getting to the heavily dressed areas actually.  About half way through, I had to relieve my tongue again.  I just grabbed whatever was next to me, unfortunately forgetting the past experiences.  One sip of the tea next to me brought tears to my eyes.  I precariously balanced my bowl next to my keyboard, jumped up, and ran to the kitchen while trying to see through crying eyes.  I got to the sink and soaked my tongue in a glass of water.  When that water heated up enough to quit working, I swallowed and soaked it in the next bit.  I removed my tongue, gasping for breath, only to answer Arlis to tell him that yes I am fine, and why aren’t you in bed.  The burn came back.  I had had enough.  

       I put a chunk of sugar in my mouth, let it dissolve, and sloshed it around a bit.  I may lose all my teeth because of this, but at least my tongue will quit burning.  The pain was tolerable again, but I sprinkled sugar over the last half of the salad just to be safe.  It helped greatly.  I was able to make it to the last fourth before another attack.  

       Then, duh, I thought-burning is from acid, try baking soda.  So I grabbed my ramekin of soda I dip my tooth brush in and plunged my tongue into it.  Now I love the taste, but this was awful.  It tasted nothing like it should, and I don’t know what it did to my mouth, but it was far from relieving.  I sloshed with water and spit it all out.  I was running out of options.  My lips were numb and I was past burning and into pain at this point.  I thought peppers were measured with how much sugar it took to relieve your pain, but that wasn’t working.  I had a bag of mini chocolate bars.  You know, Twix, Snickers, etc.  I grabbed a Milky Way dark thinking it would be the smoothest and therefore the most relieving.  It actually helped more than anything else.  Maybe the stickiness of it allowed it to stay there or something.

       I don’t know why I decided to finish the salad.  My tongue was on fire.  Nothing I did relieved the pain for long, and the pain grew with every bite.  The only thing I can figure is I hate to waste food, and I was NOT going to be beaten by a salad.  A SALAD!!!  I finished it.  I then RAN to the sink to throw it in and did the only thing that came natural at that point.  I brushed my teeth.  I’m not sure why this was my natural response.  The only reasoning I can think of is that I was doing the pee pee dance so my body thought I needed to go to the bathroom, but when I got there my mouth was louder than my bladder.  I had to keep dancing while brushing, not just because of the need to go, but the pain.  You know the pain.  The kind that makes you hold onto something and kick the floor just to try and keep breathing.  That kind of pain was now in my mouth, lips, and I’m not sure, but I think my neck was going numb.  I rinsed and brushed a second time.  Oh the relief, relief, relief.  Even though I use soda to brush, it worked this time.  I ate a few more chocolate minis just to be safe.  

       I then sat down and drank a sweet drink and went to bed not to much later.  Now, this experience has taught me to never eat that again, but wait, there’s more. Yes folks, I woke up with heartburn.  I have NEVER had heartburn in my life.  Oh I’ve had acid burn me out, but never an actual pain like I was beaten in the chest.  This hurt, bad.  The only thing that made me not panic was that it was low enough it couldn’t possibly be my heart.  So I just propped up my pillows and went back to sleep.  So ladies, the moral of this story is, always have chocolate on hand.

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