Hi Bud!
Off the Wall, Nov
14, 2013

Ever since I heard through the grapevine that spicy foods help lower one’s weight in addition to helping one’s circulation, I became interested in the challenge. I’ll use this word because I am one of those geezers who never liked my food peppered or sprinkled with any kind of seasoning because of the hot feeling I got in my mouth.

Oh, but I tried. Maybe I never knew exactly how to do it right, but I gave it the ol’ one, two, as the saying goes. First I started with a product called “Road Kill,” the name in itself warned me to stay away, but I didn’t. I sensed that if the crows liked it, maybe I might, also. Now, you are not going to see me along winding roads hiking for morsels. Those birds do have an advantage, however. They get to fly and search where I have to walk to get me where I think I should be going.

Anyway, so much for that. I was proud of myself knowing I was trying. After all, my taste buds were getting the big clue that something was changing and Pee Vee’s cooking was one notch above something it never was before.

Then one day, I went down to the Farmer’s Market in Legion Keener Park. I normally would buy veggies from this one Derry farmer who always had what I wanted. Then one day, I noticed a stand shelved with bottles of various contents. I asked the individual manning the booth, “Do you have anything on the spicy side, not too hot, but something that would tantalize my taste buds? I was directed toward one mixture of an orange-flavored fruit plus spice additive concoction. I had arrived at my second step and dipped a few pretzels in it per meal.

At first, I thought it was so hot that I told the entrepreneur that it would take me years to eat this. By the end of the month, I was virtually dishing it into my mouth using a spoon. Go figure. That meant one thing, of course. Upon another visit I asked, “Do you have something a little hotter?” I can’t imagine what my tongue must have thought through this whole evolution. I was now into step three and even my son said he was proud of me. That meant a lot, as for him, “The hotter the better.” It would be quite some time until I got to that point; at least that is my thinking for now.

Time to escape. I decided to become a taste bud in my mouth. Keep in mind there are up to 10,000 gathered there. Wouldn’t it be neat to have a conversation about what’s to come? One has little worries about not having others to talk to.

One could start off one’s conversation, “Hey Bud!” Something tells me, a lot of heads that would turn. It is my opinion that if one would look in a general direction, then several of those sensory creations might be curious as to what the little fellow was going to say.

Taking it one step further, the conversation of one taste bud talking to another may follow the lines of this – “Whatever happened to the general food patterns that we’ve come to expect from Mr. Pee Vee? We could always alert the brain far ahead of time and tell it what he was having for breakfast, lunch or dinner and never be afraid of the hot stuff creating such pulsating sensations. Now when he opens his mouth wide each meal, the only thing that goes through my mind first is ‘Yikes! Here it comes, the hot stuff on a pretzel. Better alert the boss that it will be a hot time in the old town tonight!’”

I love it. Even my tongue knows I’ve aged. “Old town tonight,” huh? Can’t fight city hall.

But, there’s always a lot of good that accompanies the bad. Just think of the many fine foods that enter into that cavity known as my mouth – the fruits, vegetables, and locally caught fish that seem to satisfy the palate with every mouthful. I could always spread some of Ruk’s Preserves on them, too.

So the questions remain within my mind – “Should I go for the hot stuff using a conservative approach? Maybe moderate thinking would be far more beneficial at this time in my life than going for the gusto. Hey Bud, what do you think?”

- Paul J. Volkmann
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