Monday, November 15, 2010

The Tragic Tale of the Sneaky Jalapeño...or...The Post My Mother Doesn't Want You to Read

Beware the jalapeño. Though it is little, it is mighty. And sneaky.

Last night, Dean and I made pizzas for dinner. Individual sized pizzas, so we each had our own toppings. Dean is not a fan of mushrooms, so I loaded them on MY pizza, and I am not a fan of jalapeños...and will never touch them again.

I do a lot of chopping in our kitchen, while Dean does most of the cooking. True to my job description, I chopped our toppings, including the jalapeño, and as I chopped, I told Dean the story of the last time I chopped one of those little buggers. I’d been wearing contacts at the time, and found out the hard way that touching the jalapeño, and then touching my eyes was a bad idea. I went on to tell Dean that I’d tried everything to get the pepper oil off my hands: I soaked them in milk, I doused them with bleach, I washed, rinsed, and repeated- to no avail.

As we were enjoying our pizzas, I happened to wipe my mouth, and the sudden burning was a pretty good clue that once again, I’d fallen victim to the sneaky, injurious jalapeño. I did my best to avoid touching my face for the rest of the meal, and then we settled in to watch “Raising Arizona.” (“Turn to the right.”)

And then, I went to the bathroom.

You never stop to think about just how one goes to the restroom. The actual gathering of the toilet tissue, the folding, the...using. One never really has cause to think about just how much of the tissue’s surface is actually touched by our hands. Or how much of our body is touched by the tissue. I’m here to tell you, you’d be surprised.

I came out of the restroom, sat back down...and that’s when I felt the burn.

Apparently, the oil from the seeds is transferrable. As I sat there writhing, Dean suggested I take a shower to try and wash it off. Even though I’d washed my hands multiple times without benefit, I thought it was a pretty good idea, and figured it couldn’t hurt.

And...I was wrong.

I was standing in the shower, when it dawned on me: I would have to use my hands to wash myself. I thought back to the toilet tissue issue, and did some quick calculations. There was no way I could touch the washcloth and then touch myself. Nor could I not use a washcloth. My hands were poisonous. I was helpless. And most of all, embarrassed.

At this point in the story, I will spare you the details, but will say that being married has its benefits. And I can say without hesitation that Dean Poynor is the most caring, helpful man I know, both in and out of the water.

I'm typing this with bandages on the three offending fingers, bandages which serve as a barrier between my contaminated hands and every touchable part of my body. If memory serves, it takes a while for this to wear off my skin, so I'll still be extra careful--and extra grateful that I'm not wearing contacts these days.

And if I find myself needing some extra help until then, no problem- because with Dean around, I am in very capable hands. (Pun intended.)


  1. OOOOOOOOuch! Sadly I have been through this process sans husband. Not a pretty memory. one word of advice... medical gloves. Great for the kitchen and disposable.

  2. I have used the trick of using olive oil on my hands before handling the offending peppers. I have also shared the "OH MY GOD, WHAT HAVE I TOUCHED" experience and it came to a dramatic conclusion of an ex girlfriend coming home to find me with my business shoved into a glass of ice water.

  3. I was snorting as I was reading this. My dear Monica---you make me laugh so. I love you and miss you!!!