Emil and Vy were at the door, right on time for our ‚Äúodd news night.‚ÄĚ Vy and my other half, Marylu, would judge the contest to determine which weird news item was the weirdest.
We sipped cups of coffee and tea as we chatted. I decided to launch the contest into full swing by asking the others, ‚ÄúDo you remember how ‚ÄĒ a few years ago ‚ÄĒ my dentist told me I had blisters on the roof of my mouth and my gums?‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúYeah, I do,‚ÄĚ Vy responded. ‚ÄúIt was from that concentrated habanero pepper sauce. I think it had pepper spray in it, and those blisters were chemical burns.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúYou have a great memory,‚ÄĚ I affirmed. ‚ÄúAnd since then, I told myself I had to set some limits. I would eat nothing hotter than a jalapeno. I figured if the hot sauce was blistering my mouth and gums, what might it be doing to my insides? I confessed I had become a hot sauce junkie! Fortunately, it was an easy addiction to overcome.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúSo what‚Äôs your point?‚ÄĚ Emil asked.
‚ÄúSomeone else recently learned a similar lesson,‚ÄĚ I answered. ‚ÄúHere is an article from Fox News about a man who had to be hospitalized after eating what is purported to be the world‚Äôs hottest pepper, the ‚ÄėCarolina Reaper.‚Äô The article read:
‚Äú‚Äė… In the first ever recorded such case, the next few days after eating the veggie [the pepper] the man experienced short splitting [head] pains lasting seconds at a time. The 34-year-old … had eaten just one of the chilies at a chili eating contest in upstate New York.
‚Äú‚ÄėImmediately after the competition, he began dry heaving and developed intense neck and head pain starting at the back, which later spread across the whole head. He then developed crushingly painful headaches and at one point he decided to go to the emergency room.‚Äô‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúWow!‚ÄĚ marveled Vy. ‚ÄúWhat happened to the guy?‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThey diagnosed something with a big name, abbreviated as RCVS, a temporary narrowing of the arteries. It cleared up several weeks later.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúWell, I think I have a better one,‚ÄĚ Emil offered.
He quoted from theguardian.com, ‚ÄúFrench police have used teargas in an attempt to clear anti-capitalist squatters from the site of an abandoned airport project.
‚ÄúAbout 2,500 riot police made a pre-dawn raid in Notre-Dame-des-Landes to evict about 250 activists.
‚ÄúThe squatters have occupied the site for 10 years to prevent the airport from being built, but refused to leave after the plans were dropped earlier this year, saying they sought to construct an alternative way of life.‚ÄĚ
Marylu marveled: ‚ÄúYou mean they have been living there for ten years, and won‚Äôt leave even though authorities canceled building the airport? That‚Äôs crazy.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúI think I‚Äôve got myself a winner with that one,‚ÄĚ Emil boasted.
‚ÄúWell, we‚Äôll see about that!‚ÄĚ I countered. ‚ÄúHere‚Äôs one from United Press International: ‚ÄėA sneaky seagull in Scotland was caught on camera swooping down on a shopper‚Äôs cart in a grocery store parking lot and stealing a package of bacon. The video, filmed in the parking lot … shows the seagull descending on the cart while the shopper‚Äôs back is turned.‚Äô‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThat‚Äôs a competitor!‚ÄĚ Vy reassured me.
‚ÄúOkay, here is my final entry,‚ÄĚ Emil announced. ‚ÄúYou know how your missionary friends up in British Columbia hunt and eat moose ‚ÄĒ they say it tastes like beef? They would love this one from Alaska via the Associated Press:
‚Äú‚ÄėA man was injured north of Anchorage after a moose that he had just kicked stomped his foot in return, state officials said. KTVA-TV reported the man escaped major injuries in the encounter Thursday with the moose and her calf.‚Äô
‚ÄúOkay, ladies, which of the stories is the weirdest?‚ÄĚ I inquired.
Vy and Marylu conferred for just a moment and announced their verdict: ‚ÄúThe French airport story. That is really weird.‚ÄĚ
Emil smiled as I congratulated him. As the winner, he would chose the restaurant where we would enjoy dinner. We were pretty hungry, so we wasted no time piling into the car.