A few days ago I was talking to The Brains at work, a couple of cool PhD’s in Things That Involve Math. One is a good friend and the other happens to be the VP at my company.
Suddenly Prime Number says to Hot Pants (the VP’s name as a result of this very story) “Hey, show Lemur the pic of your neighbor’s kid!”
Hot Pants whips out his smartphone and shows me where the kid had all manner of burns around his mouth and head. He ate a Bhut Jolokia pepper at school, got fried, and then rubbed it all around his face and head, unaware that the stuff burns skin, too. Then the kid went home for the afternoon.
I told Hot Pants that the ghost pepper is pretty damned hot and not to be screwed around with. Jokingly I said that I had some and I would bring them in if he wanted. He said absolutely.
For rough reference… Habanero is a quarter million Scoville. Red Savina is half a mil. Jolokia is a cool one mil. Roughly.
Yesterday I brought them in and taped them to my doorframe with a post-it note that said “Hot Pants… This is your destiny. – LK”
Around lunchtime he came in and there was a gathering of five of us to watch, with Rectified Diode being the most excited. He was really looking forward to watching it.
HP took a bite and I started describing to him what he was about to experience as he munched.
“Ok, it should start out with a nice smoky flavor.”
“Yeah, it is smoky… Nice.”
“Ok, now it should start to build slowly in heat but there are some other nice flavors there.”
“Ok, now it should pick up speed…”
“Ok, now it is going to feel like you drank battery acid.”
(Dawning expression) “Yeah, that describes it pretty well.”
He gave a pained expression and was flushing red.
“Ok, now it will continue to get worse for the next 30 minutes. A lot worse.”
Then I took a picture of him holding up the bag, in pain.
He deliberately made a point of taking additional bites. See, when I ate one, I ate all I was going to eat in one go. He had rabid wolves eating him and he was egging them on.
So I sent out an email to a large number of people to give credit where it was due, with pics.
Subject: Mr. Vice President, Sir.
The man is tough. Continued to finish off the pepper even as it was attacking him. He dominated that pepper. Had I eaten the one I did in stages I doubt I could have kept chomping on it.
You have my respect, Hot Pants.
We should probably get some “fire eaters” shirts.
Note: I do not give out compliments lightly, so this was a highly unusual email for me to be sending.
Later, Prime Number, HP, and I met with a customer. Old Man (our president) attended.
When it was over, Old Man looked directly at me and said “Stop trying to kill my employees.”
Apparently Hot Pants had spent an hour curled up on the floor of the locked men’s room in agony.
He still has my respect. I think I even felt a bit of guilt but it passed quickly and I at first mistook it for gas.