Eat an entire large pizza. Get a horrific stomach ache. Sleep sitting up on the couch. Forswear pizza. Forget about the stomach ache. Repeat. I used to laugh at a friend of mine who regularly spun in this cycle of self-inflicted consumption injuries. He didn’t have any sort of eating disorder so this wasn’t a result of bingeing. He was just in denial that finishing those last three or four slices of pizza would be a problem. I chalked it up to one of those absent-minded professor guy things. According to Albert Einstein, another one of those absent-minded professor guys, this behavior, “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” is the definition of insanity.
Given the tenuous grip I held on sanity at the time (I was in graduate school and wondered about my sanity on a daily basis), I took great comfort in the thought that at least I’d never taken a spin on the “eat, pain, abstain, try it again” cycle. That was until a bottle of Dave’s Insanity Sauce found its way into my kitchen.
My own fall into consumption insanity started innocently enough. I saw “The Original Hottest Sauce in the Universe!” on the label, and even though the heatometer said, “insane+,” I thought, “How hot can it be?” So I splashed a couple of drops into my pesto. Or at least that’s what I meant to do. Turns out, Dave’s Insanity Sauce is more like a paste than it is a liquid. So the two “drops” that landed in my pesto were about a quarter of a teaspoon each. It occurred to me that this might make my pesto a little hot, but I stirred it in anyway. Turns out, a little dab of Dave’s Insanity Sauce goes a long way. One bite of pesto with half a teaspoon of insanity sauce set my mouth on fire. The sensible thing to do would be to toss the pesto and start over, there’s nothing sensible about insanity. My ego clocked in and I was determined to beat the heat, even if it meant that my eyes got a little watery.
The funny thing about egos is that they are totally focused on right now. Probable consequences are irrelevant because they happen later. Unfortunately, just because egos find something else to focus on doesn’t prevent the consequences. Eating half a teaspoon of Dave’s Insanity Sauce generates consequences. Hot sauce aficionados have a saying, “you know it’s hot if it burns twice.” Let’s just say that by this definition, Dave’s Insanity Sauce is HOT!
You’d think a night of intestinal agony would have burned the desire to beat the heat out of my system, but it didn’t. My ego went on a mission. I was going to conquer Dave’s Insanity Sauce or die trying. First, I tried a lighter touch when shaking the bottle. A few fiery concoctions later, I gave up trying to get Dave’s to come out in drops rather than blops. Next I tried dipping the sauce out with the tip of a skinny knife. This might have worked if I could have gotten the sauce off the knife without using my fingers (which I then licked). Finally, I tried diluting the sauce with rice wine vinegar. This meant that I had to keep using it to make room for more vinegar. (A reasonable person might ask, “Why not just dump some sauce out?” Then again, a reasonable person would have probably not bought something with, “The Original Hottest Sauce in the Universe!” on the bottle. For the type of person who would buy something with that on the label, it would be heretical to dump out the sauce.) Finally, after weeks of putting a little Dave’s Insanity Sauce in everything from beer (if Crazy Ed made Cave Creek Chile beer, why not make my own Insanity Beer?) to salad dressing, to marmalade, I came to a place of acceptance. Even diluted, Dave’s Insanity Sauce is still insanely hot.
I’d like to say that I have gotten off the “Add Dave’s Insanity Sauce. Burn. Forget. Repeat” spin cycle, but the truth is, I haven’t. The bottle still taunts me from its perch on the refrigerator door. And sometimes (say like yesterday) my ego gets the better of me and I’m burning again. I guess it’s a good thing I don’t eat pizza!