It was a bottle of cheap hot sauce.
Inexpensive yet tasty, this hot sauce was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Pressing against a tear in the grocery bag that had carried it thus far, safely to my vehicle from its previous supermarket home. It was now tenuously transporting it from my back seat to my front door and eventually, theoretically, to my kitchen counter.
But the bag was weak and the glass bottle of the sauce was heavy, so tragedy struck.
It also struck the concrete of my carport, which I quickly discovered had not been sealed properly. My son and I hustled the rest of the groceries indoors and I went back out with broom, dustpan and water to clean up the mess.
The glass chunks, orange plastic lid and most of the culinary contents slopped into the dustpan with no problem; but even after multiple washings, the concrete remained a dull orange that would not fade quickly.
I should have drawn a chalk outline around the blob stain.
I mourned the event, not because it discolored the parking pad, but because it meant I couldn’t put the Mexican-made delight on my french fries that evening. I ate them with my tears instead.
Why would I want to eat something that effectively etched a memorial to itself into the concrete outside my door? Can I not imagine what that stuff must be doing to my insides?
Of course I can. I’ve seen the effects of canned soda on stains and rust, how the acid of a cola whose name rhymes with Moca-Mola bubbles and eats that stuff up and I still drink those sodas a lot.
I go for the pleasure, not the pain.
We had an all-American meal for dinner last night — corndogs and crinkle fries — and I went through a lot of very spicy hot sauce as I took bite after bite and did my little happy dance in my chair. After the last bite, I mentioned something about the hot sauces being very tasty and that’s when it hit me — a punch of pain as the residual effect of the sauces reared back and slapped my mouth so hard my teeth rattled. There’s a fine line between pleasure and pain in our neuroreceptors, and I had stepped across the line.
The discomfort settled down after a little while and I was able to move on with life.
Sometimes a little pain is worth it for the pleasure that comes with it — a bit of a burn in the tastebuds is a fine tradeoff for the food enhancement.
Sometimes it’s not worth the tradeoff. So much of the “stupid” stuff we do — things we regret and live with the consequences of — is a direct result of things we get ourselves into for the momentary pleasures. It can be as harmless as mouth fire from consuming a lot of hot sauce, or brain freeze from eating a snowcone too quickly or a debilitating belch from chugging a Moca-Mola. Or, it can be much more serious. So double-thinking decisions before we dive in is usually a good thing. A pause before the plunge may wind up being what saves us from making a bad decision leading to lifelong consequences.
R.I.P. Valentina hot sauce. I’ll pour out a few drops in your memory today at lunch.
Brett Campbell covers the Chunky Community News. He can be reached at ChunkyBrett@mail.com.