I don’t know where my mind was. I was standing at my grocer’s deli counter when a voice that sounds identically like mine speaks to the deli-man:
Voice that Sounds Identically Like Mine: I’ll have a quarter pound of the chipotle chicken.
Considering my extensive history of gastrointestinal ills, it would have been considerably safer for me to have simply tossed a lit match down my esophagus than to eat the fire-coated fowl I ordered. Yet, on Monday I did chow down that hot, spicy and heavily seasoned sandwich at my desk at The Grind.
I was in the throes of food porn ecstasy.
That sandwich was truly the best sex I’ve had in weeks. I could have easily smoked a cigarette after the first half before indulging in the second. Unfortunately, my dream lover was actually the devil ensconced in a cut-in-half baguette.
Within minutes satisfaction gave way to a firebomb exploding in my stomach and a proliferation of searing intestinal pain. Pain so rampant it replicated the burning of Atlanta if this historic event would be reenacted inside the confines of my guts. Guts that are forbidden to go anywhere near citrus, dairy, spice or flavor. Guts that are usually fed bland bread and tofu sandwiches seasoned with tap water.
As the pain escalated, my left rib started throbbing. I wondered if the heat from my innards that had transformed into a furnace had somehow cracked that rib. All the while I sat at my desk nary betraying a hint of my agony excluding some low volume whimpering I stifled when I shoved a ball of string into my mouth that nearly ignited.
My gastroenterologist forbids me from taking any over-the-counter antacids, so a fistful of Rolaids chased with a shot of Mylanta was not an option to smother the blaze raging within. Instead, I sat, going through the motions of my illustrious job, pushing paper from one side of my desk to the other, tapping a few keys on my computer’s keyboard that spelled jfhs nitvuh kndj yqwcoqwi, followed by loud opening and slamming of file drawers.
All the while my face reddened, hot steam was trailing out of my every orifice, I was sweating profusely, my eyes were tearing and my racing heart was feeling like it was going to explode within my chest cavity. Delirious, I reasoned that if my ticker would detonate, I would be free to collapse with a graceless thud prompting my colleague, (not) Under Ling (anymore), to beckon in a concerned tone:
(not) Under Ling (anymore): Hey, are you okay over there?
Quickly ascertaining that I was buying my rainbow, my young friend would bellow in alarm:
(not) Under Ling (anymore): We need an ambulance! Does anyone know the number for 9-1-1?
In my Charles Foster Kane moment, with my final breath I utter my last word:
My fantasies of taking leave on Permanent Vacation are shattered when my phone rings. The caller is my buddy Coco. I speak to her confidentially.
Me: I’ve just polished off a chipotle chicken sandwich. My guts are killing me. I think I’m dying!
She absorbs my plight.
Coco: I’m jealous! You get to go home! What about me? I’m stuck here and you get to follow the white light? Oh no, you don’t!
The white light never comes. I quaff two thirds of the water cooler and survive the near death experience of my sandwich. Since my birthday is coming in ten days, I feel an obligation to my friends and family to stick around a little while longer. Therefore, I will avoid flirting with The Grim Reaper via spicy sandwich and return to my regular diet of labor camp-style sustenance that I anticipate will eventually bore me to death.
Ahhh shades of the infamous Upper Westside Calamamri ala Ptomaine of a decade and 1/2 ago my friend! I still burp up relics of that long ago lunch with you!
Oh yes, Max, that lunch truly was a death worse than fate.
This is the funniest damn thing I have read in ages. This one needs to be FP! Seriously, one of your very best fucking posts. Maybe you should consider sacrificing digestion to the demand of comic brilliance.
How kind of you Kathy, but I don’t think the gods and godesses of WP are going to make that mistake with LA again anytime soon. Besides, digestion is highly over-rated — right up there with sleep, breathing and holiday cheer.
I wonder how low in the GI tract (or is it track?) your problem manifests itself. I’ve been on a processed-flour-free diet of sorts which was inspired by some PBS show the wife saw a few months ago. She bought the doctor/author’s book and we’ve been happily eating nutritionally dense foods like kale, collard greens, other raw veggies and nuts. Lost about 15 lbs and feeling healthier. Well back to the GI issue. Had some processed flour products the other day and I’ll tell you, I’ve been farting up such a storm at work this week. The green smoke emanating from my nether regions reminding me of dry ice evaporating on a lighted floor disco ballroom back in ’78. I guess it’s just The Lord’s way of keeping us honest.
Ha! Your co-workers must love gas-bag you this week! Is this diet you’re on the same thing as a gluten-free diet? I have yet to be diagnosed with celiac disease, but that could be announced within the hour since I seem to be a magnet for every intestinal ill out there.
Three factors contribute to my somewhat “protected” state at work. First is the fact that my position is somewhat unique, I am pretty much the only person this side of El Paso who can do what I do. Second, and possibly more important, my office overlooks the courtyard of Oddfellow’s Restaurant in Hoboken. You see, they just started crawfish season at the Cajun restaurant and they boil thousands of them in the courtyard before lunch. The smell of the crawfish and the seasoning masks just about everything. Finally,there’s a bathroom literally right outside my office door and in a pinch I can blame the odor on some mystery guest.
Wow, you do have this completely figured out. I’m the type that would just keep the window open.
I laughed at your misery! I couldn’t help it – this was hilarious! I, too, had severe nether region distress years ago and it took a whole year to figure out what was wrong. I’m impressed that you stayed at work and continued to pretend doing work. You’ve got to stop treating your stomach like a test subject, LA!
I’m glad you found my misery entertaining. Come to think of it, just as Picasso went through his Blue Period, I am certainly in the full throes of my Misery Period — I’m hard of hearing, I suffer chronic dry eye, I have frequent lower back ache, and then there’s my dental anguish. Basically, I’m living, breathing rot.
You’re always hilarious, but you even exceeded your own high standards! I do feel for you, even though I fortunately have a stainless steel stomach that has never suffered indigestion. Having the Taurean love of food (like moi) with fussy digestion is some Cruel Fate Dreamed Of By An Malevolent Deity. A few drops of spirit of peppermint in warm lukewarm water can calm the seething innards.
That potion would have been nice to know as I lay dying under my desk on Monday. I’ll keep that in mind for next time — and I’m sure there will be a next time I forget and eat something else lethal. Glad you enjoyed reading about my agony Q of P!
Is it possible you have gall bladder disease?