FRIAR TRIERS: Too hot to handle

Dan Malloy

Two of us tried the Carolina Reaper, the hottest pepper in the world. Let’s just say it was one of the worst 20 minute periods of our lives.

As I stood doubled-over in the bottom floor Duffy bathroom, shoveling tap water into my mouth while gasping for air, one feeling came to my mind: regret.

The challenge that junior Michael Harrington and I embarked on was born out of an innocent trend. The One-Chip Challenge is all over the internet right now, and the videos of people doing it are pretty funny. People are sweating their pits off, guzzling a sickening amount of milk and/or water to put out the white-hot fire in their mouths. Shaq did it. NFL players and actresses have done it. We thought, “Hey. Let’s give it a go.”

The problem was when we tried to order the chip online on Amazon, it costed a whopping $70. For one tiny little chip. The company who makes it is called Paqui, and the chips are all sold out until fall 2018. So the ones that still exist are pretty rare. Unwilling to be denied in our quest, Mike and I decided to order the pepper the chip is made with itself: The Carolina Reaper.

The name sounds pretty intimidating, and that’s because it is. It was named in 2013 by the Guinness world records as the hottest pepper in the world. It was measured to have 2.2 million Scoville Heat Units, a measure of how spicy things are. To compare, a Jalapeno pepper has 8,000 SHUs (275x hotter).

So, pretty freaking hot.

We scheduled to do it on Wednesday, January 24, right after school in the Duffy Graphic Design room. I wasn’t really that intimidated the day of until one of my friends in my last period class was trying to talk me out of it. “Dude. People die from eating that.” I wasn’t so sure, but then I thought about how we were eating the pepper raw. Not from a chip that probably has regulations on how hot it can be. Oh jeez.

I met Mike in the GD room just as we planned. With him, four other people planned watching our meal of doom. Mike bought a gallon of milk from Wawa for us to drink. I was thinking we might need all of it.

Mike opened the bag. Pulling it out, you could smell the hotness from a few feet away. Don’t ask me how hotness can be smelled, but it was. We sat down, with our milk cups filled and ready, and took out one pepper each. It looked so wrinkly and menacing, like a hot Cheeto that wanted to eat me. Mike and I clinked the peppers together, and tossed them in our mouths, eating it whole.

Chewing it was hard. I wanted to get it down as quick as I could so it couldn’t burn me for that long. There was a few seconds after I swallowed it where I said to myself, “Hey. This isn’t that bad!” Then my vision started to go. Then the entirety of my mouth burst aflame.

I feel like I’m understating it when I say my mouth was on fire. It felt as if all corners of my mouth and throat were being stabbed simultaneously. My face felt like the bad guys in Indiana Jones when they open the Ark of the Covenant (their faces melted off). Breathing made it 100x worse, just fanning the white-hot flames in your mouth. I couldn’t even form words to tell Mike how bad of an idea this was.

Thirty seconds went by before I started chugging the milk in the 32 oz Wawa cup in front of me. I thought it could give me some relief, but it only did for one second after I drank a sip. So I chugged, and chugged and chugged. No improvement. I didn’t want to yack with all these people watching, so I had to find another alternative. I sprinted to the bathroom, with Mike following closely behind.

Mike and I blasted the cold water from the sinks in Duffy and scooped water into our mouths. However, the people who were watching us mentioned that water only makes the pain in your mouth worse. We shouted at them to look up other alternatives to milk, and one of the kids actually had the antidote to our troubles in his hands: the Wawa pretzel.

I never knew the healing powers of those doughy mounds of goodness. Immediately as I put a piece into my mouth, I started to be able to breathe again. Unfortunately, Mike did not fare as well. As I looked to my right, Mike was blowing chunks of pepper and milk in the sink. Gross, I know. Luckily, I was able to hold it down.

After we ate our halves of the pretzel, we were able to become actual human beings again. Shoutout to Wawa for saving us from certain death. Mike felt pretty good after throwing up, but I still felt so sick. I regretted ever touching the milk, which didn’t do anything. The water and pretzel technique is A1 to deal with spiciness. Milk is trash.

Mike and I both agreed, once our mouths returned to full capability, that there really was no point to our quest to defeat the pepper. Really, we just harmed ourselves for the enjoyment of the people watching and whoever watches the video online.

But when I got home, I found out there actually is a new ALS challenge with hot peppers now. “Maybe I should nominate people for this, since I already did it,” I thought. But then I thought about the evil little pepper still lurking in my stomach. And I would never, ever have anyone eat that awful thing again.