---- — Taste of Kokomo brings back a little nostalgia for me. Last year was my first time attending the fork-and-knife affair featuring Kokomo’s favorite eats and drinks as the newly-hired Lifestyle Editor for Kokomo Tribune. I browsed through the event with my notepad for story ideas that would embrace Kokomo’s culture of community. One year later, I’ve practiced with the City of Fists Roller Derby, I’ve been a DJ for a day, I’ve witnessed kids accomplish goals that some adults may never set and I’ve been a part of people’s moments to tell a story that, hopefully, inspires people to think of possibilities. I’ve also tried to tell stories from personal experience, not shying away from experiencing it myself in order to bring more clarity and real-life meaning to my notepad scribbling.
So, that brings me to Mulligan’s Sport Pub. The bar and grill has an annual spot in one of Taste of Kokomo’s competitive-eating challenge and this year; and I took a bite out of it. Then, I was immediately moments away from begging for my last rites. It. Was. Rough. The sports pub is hosting the hot wing challenge at Taste of Kokomo. This is what that means: Five souls will race to devour 10 hot (try excruciating hot and flames-from-hell painful) wings slathered with “death sauce.” The sauce is packaged with an adorable little coffin, and let me tell you … You feel like you’re going to need one after you bite into one of these babies.
I sat down at the bar, awaiting these hot wings that taste like they would be on the Grim Reaper’s fave food list. And behind the swinging doors which open and close to Mulligan’s kitchen staff I overheard the following:
“She’s really trying these?”
“Isn’t this the sauce that that one dude took a shot of for 30 bucks?”
“I want to watch this one.”
Then moments later, my eyes started watering before this straight-to-the-tomb finger food was in my peripheral vision.
There they were, in all their innocent-glory packaged with the raging ruination of my taste buds.
I became prepared, bartender Toni handed me a glass of water served with a facial reaction that said: “This girl is nuts, and I get a front row seat to whatever happens next.” She reached her arm out slowly to lower the water in front of me, indicating that there is a legitimate reason for her cautionary approach.
Simultaneously I hear from the kitchen, “Water is not going to help her.”
Well, crap. Here we go, folks.
12:06 p.m.: Bite into an edible object that tastes like an entire oven. OH.MY.GOSH. [That’s at least the the professionally appropriate response, so I’m stickin’ to it].
12:06 to 12:08: I have no clue what happened. Seriously, no clue.
12:09: Bartender Toni, “Look at that face!” She automatically refills my water, as my body is expelling fluids through my forehead and my eyes. I lost my left contact during this ordeal. Yes, my left contact fell out. I couldn’t touch my face because it was covered in the nonsense that had engulfed every pore of my body and was simultaneously breathing out fire. At this moment, I looked a lot like that fire-breathing dragon in Shrek. But, not smiling.
12:10: Thoughts: OH DEAR LORD, IT’S GETTING WORSE!!! You think it’ll only last a few seconds, think again. There’s this moment where it subsides, but it’s like the quiet before the storm. It’s like your body is saying, “Oh, you fool. You thought this would be a good story…” right before your nervous system sets your lips on fire, makes your eyes water more, then the nose runs. Try to wipe your nose with the back of your hand out of desperation? -- By the way, if you’re judging my lack of manners right now… Yea, you forget your own name during this. So, don’t judge. Think again, NOW your nose is on fire too. Try to wipe your tears? Think again, that little patch of your face will be reminding you just how ridiculous you are when it’s still simmering 10 minutes later.
12:11: I Googled how to survive such a task, in case this moment happened. I found that what happens next wasn’t as helpful as my Google results said it would be. “Milllkkkkk, please.” And, there you have it. I’m a 27-year-old. At a bar. Drinking milk.