I originally wrote this for OvaHere.com, the last time the San Francisco Giants were good. In honor of making it to the National League Championships, I’m reposting it here: Go Giants!
Please bare in mind that I was in my early 20’s when I wrote this and therefore… I sound like an idiot.
******************** August 2003 *************************
I learned a valuable life lesson this past weekend. Went to a Giants game and met up with a big group of friends to have some pre-game bloody marys, we also had some beers at the game, and after they won this this lead us en mass to a bar next to the stadium called Tres Agaves. This is a large industrial space popular amongst the polo shirt crowd, and started by the Red Rocker-Tequila shlocker himself, Sammy Hagar. We had a big rowdy crew and were feeling no pain. At one point, I ended up outside with my friend Brady who is a man amongst boys who could quite possibly have been the basis for the Frank-the-Tank character from “Old School”. Yes, I know that every group says they have a Frank-the-Tank, but I’ve yet to meet anyone else’s FtT that was in the same league. So our Frank says, “I’ve always wanted to try this habañero* tequila, let’s take a shot, I’m buying” — I’m not one to turn down a free, well anything, so I agree.
“Are you guys sure you want this? You know it is extremely hot! Very… very hot” were the bartender’s exact words to us.
“I like spicy stuff, we’ll be fine”, I heard myself say
— “You don’t have any kind of heart problems or high blood pressure do you?”
That one scared me a little, but we both replied no. The shots were poured; I took a sniff, and the smell was almost medicinal, but not bad. Looking back, this smell should have tipped me off to the silent assassin within. The first couple of seconds after drinking, it didn’t feel like much, sort of numb-y. I should say too, that I had one other habañero experience with another group of idiot friends. That one involved daring each other to take a bite, followed by extreme mouth and throat pain, massive pourings of salt and ice water (bad idea) in our mouths, followed by feeble beggings for milk (the only known antidote – and not a particularly effective one), followed by some self-congratulatory assurances that we would “never do that again”. So I should have known this wasn’t going to end well.
After the initial feeling of nothingness, there is an incredible pain fuse that goes off and rapidly travels down your throat and into every crevice of your innards. I would not trivialize a fatal or debilitating illness, as I’ve never had one, but if I was to imagine how it might feel to have stage 16 stomach cancer this would it.
The next thing I know, I was doubled over on the bar, sweating profusely, cursing under my breath, and making whimpering sounds.
I looked up at one point and saw a group of people staring at me with blank looks on their faces and I felt like maybe I may have been slipped something. I needed to get to a bathroom to get this devil water out of me. I lurched away from the bar without saying a word to anyone (leaving behind my leftover margarita which couldn’t have sounded more unappetizing), on a journey to the WC. I made it about 10 feet before I came crashing to a halt in the middle of the dining room on a leftover chair. This leftover chair happened to be attached to a table being enjoyed by a nice family who were pretty horrified.
What could have been seconds or hours later, I wasn’t quite sure how long I had been under this spell, but it seemed like an eternity, and death seriously felt like a comforting option.
Again, I was sweating profusely and helplessly clinging to life, and now I was worried that I might actually have a major accident. There is not a more helpless feeling than being in a bar with the sinking feeling you might go number 2 in your pants.
Now though, instead of being next to a friend and just a handful of strangers, I was on display in the middle of the dining room. I hated Brady with a passion, and not knowing if this feeling of pain and desperation were unique to me — I hated myself.
Somehow I managed to drag myself to the bathroom, only to find that some asshole was already using the only stall, and it sounded like he was reading the newspaper. I don’t recall if I was trying to sound threatening or completely pathetic, I would guess the latter, but he put the newspaper down and gave up the stall. So I sit on the toilet… and nothing happens. Well, “nothing” is an understatement, there was quite a lot of sweating and spinning, and dry heaving.
Almost as suddenly as it had come on, I was free. I came out of the other side of the tunnel, and felt like a man just released from being buried alive. Needless to say I was relieved, I was ecstatic, and I don’t think I have ever skipped out of a bathroom before — but I did this time. I wanted to tell my girlfriend and friends how much I loved them, how I was sorry if I ever made them feel unappreciated, how I wanted to be the best friend in the whole damn world, but then Brady told me that a group of them wanted to try one, and I laughed and laughed, and then I couldn’t wait to see them suffer.
Five of them lined up at the bar, and I watched them with baited breath as they laughed, punching each other in the shoulder’s, completely oblivious — I was overtaken with giddiness. My friend Barrett walked up to me and said, “dude, I love spicy food, this shit IS hot… isn’t it?” I could hardly contain myself, but for the sake of our sick sociological experiment I just nodded. A couple of seconds later all five of them had shot out of the bar, three out to the alleyway to dry heave, and the other two to the bathroom. The bartender informed us that usually people don’t last longer than a couple of seconds after the shot is taken before they are running for the bathroom. Brady was the only one he’d ever seen just sit at the bar casually.
You can try the habañero tequila at Tres Agaves if you have the stomach for it or are some sort of sick, sadomasochistic person, or better yet, trick your idiot friends into trying it.
*for those that don’t know, a habañero is an extremely potent chile used in small doses to add spice to Mexican-food. You gringo.