Spicy Food: My Abusive Relationship

Security detail at Avery Island. Home of Tabasco. On scene for the “Spicy Food: Taste the Pain” episode of CRAVE. This little guy literally jumped out of the water trying to eat our boom mic. I wet myself a little.

I don’t advocate violence against children. But as a kid, I was punchable. I commend my father for not dropping me off somewhere. Like, say, deep in Mexico. And then growing a mustache and changing his name.

Forbidden by laws and morals to do harm to our kids, parents find other ways. Piano lessons. Brussels sprouts. Falcon’s Crest.

My dad, cunningly, used pizza. At a pie joint in Big Bear City, he pointed to a bottle of red and yellow flakes. He dared me to take one of them—just one—and put it on the end of my tongue.

I scoffed. They were tiny! Wussfood! Not wanting to back down and lacking the mental acuity to sense a good trap when I saw one… I did exactly that.

I sat there, tongue out, that little red dot perched on the tip. Five seconds. Nothing. Ten seconds. Nothing.

Ha! I scoffed in his general direction.

Fool! My tongue was obviously a bad-ass. A callous appendage that may have a teardrop tattoo that I’m unaware of. If I stuck a spoon in my mouth, it would come out a shank.

Then it started to creep. A little buzz at first. Then it got a little hotter. My neener-neener-neener smile started to weaken. And hotter. My lips quivered a bit. Then it started to BURN. Like I’ve heard peeing does when you’ve been indiscriminate with your affections in the wrong part of town.

Then, ohholyjesustractorpullyeeeeeowwww… it felt like the time my sister told me it was cool and fun to pour hot candlewax on my face because it would make an awesome mask.

I spit it out. I held the dainty, wet little flake in my hand. I looked at it with an expression of pain and confusion. Painfusion. I felt like I’d just had the crap kicked out of me by Tinkerbell.

Gone from my mouth, I figured the pain would stop. Nope. Got worse. How does that work?! I felt like I’d been carjacked, managed to throw the jacker out of my car, only to realize he’d cut the brakes and passed some truly offensive gas.

I grabbed water, started gulping it. Relief? No. It just spread the pain to my entire piehole. My dad was crying from the laughter. He was on the floor. Revenge was his.

Nose running, eyes watering, my tongue waving in the air like it’s having a seizure… I looked my dad straight in the eye, squinted so he could really understand the gravity of what I was about to tell him… and said,

“Dude. That. Was. Awesome.”

I’ve loved spicy food ever since. Maybe I like to hurt myself. Not a lot. I’m not gonna carve an ex-girlfriend’s name into my thigh. But spice? Yes, please.

The next episode of Crave is my journey across America to find the perfect spicy food. And my effort to comprehend why, when I was 10, I had my a** kicked by a tiny little red flake of wussfood. And liked it.

Crave airs Friday, 11:30PM EST/8:30PM PST on Food Network.

TWITTER: @T_R0Y (that’s a zero, not an ‘oh’)

FACEBOOK: facebook.com/cravetroy

FOOD NETWORK PAGE: foodnetwork.com/crave

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8 thoughts on “Spicy Food: My Abusive Relationship

  1. Jess says:

    Love your stories and love your show. But what the heck does nsfw mean? I’m really ignorant when it comes to tech abbreviations.

    • Troy Johnson says:

      Thanks a ton, Jess. NSFW is one of those fancy internet letter-words for “Not Safe For Work.” I’m not the most terribly G-rated human being. Just letting people know of my occasional unsavoriness off the top.

  2. Troy, you crack me up. I can relate to you and this post on so many levels, but bottom line is you are freakin hilarious. I love your show, Crave, and still hope Food Network comes to their senses and brings you back for more! Keep it rollin, my man!

    • Troy Johnson says:

      Thanks, brother. As one of my first commenters on my new blog, I will send you a gift basket with Polamalu hair trimmings. That’s a lie. But I totally would if I had minions in the pro-athlete salon industry.

  3. What is it about kids and food?! This post reminded me of a not-quite-so-spicy-but-equally-funny moment I had with my then 8 year old nephew. I convinced him in a restaurant that a lemon was just like an apple and he could eat the lemon he took out of his tea and he’d love it. My brother shaking his head knowing what was coming sat by saying nothing, child abuse maybe?! He held the lemon in his hand thinking I was crazy but not wanting to not eat it and look….well as you said… like a wuss.

    He took a huge bite of the lemon which exploded all it’s sour juicy goodness into his mouth and the face he made was priceless. My only regret in life was that we didn’t take a picture of that face. Not to be outdone my now nearly 12 year old nephew pulled the same trick on his little brother as I sat back with a huge grin on my face proud of what I had taught him. Can you say BEST AUNT EVER!? For the record my nephew has no poker face, a term that really meant something before a glittered no-talent-man-chick changed it forever.

    Thank you for this blog, it is the present that will just keep on giving, still btw really bitter about that cancelation.

    • Troy Johnson says:

      Yo Marcy! You are officially nominated for Aunt of the Year. The trophy is a bag of lemons so you can continue your inspiring contributions to Auntkind.

  4. Travis says:

    I often put a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes between my cheek and gum. Brushing my teeth with Tapatio doesn’t kill the pain (or whiten my teeth), but it gets the endorphins going!

    Replacing my contact lens solution with a mixture of Tabasco and Cholula was, in retrospect, not my best idea.

    I can’t wait to buy Crave – The First Season on DVD!

    On to bigger and better things. Keep it up, man.

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