Saturday, March 02, 2013

Fear Of The Jalapeno

At breakfast with my youngest daughter yesterday, I realized that Jalapeños frighten me—always have.  I confess that here.  Sometimes it's like there's an angry army in the eggs I'm served, or an unruly mob of them in otherwise innocent grits. I'm really okay with a relatively smallish band of brother jalapeños in dishes. It's just that sometimes they horde together, overwhelming the host, and then their only purpose is to burn everything everywhere.

As a small group, jalapeños think of adding warmth and character to their host--they understand their place. Nobody throws a fiesta like they do.  But as they grow in number, their natural heat incites their neighbor, and, now crowded together, it is only a matter of time before they become uncomfortable, bitter and enraged. And then Jose Jalapeño hurls his sombrero skyward and shouts, "Vamos, mis amigos! Aprovechar el dia! Ahora es nuestro momento para descartar los huevos tristes y sin sabor! Quemar todo!"  At that point, all is lost.

(Translation:  “Let’s go, my friends!  Seize the day!  Now is our time to rule the sad and flavorless eggs!  Burn everything!”)

By the way, before “Carpe diem” was brought into vogue by the movie, “Dead Poets Society,” “Aprovechar el dia!” was the cool thing to say.  Those of us among the west coast intelligentsia during high school used to measure ourselves based upon how skillfully we inserted the phrase into conversation.  For example, a friend might ask, “Do you think we dare go to Del Taco at lunch?”  Speaking the phrase at that moment would have been unforgivable.  However, if a friend asked, “Do you want to take out the furniture from a classroom tonight and re-arrange it on the sloping roof so everyone will see it in the morning?” THAT would be the moment.  “Aprovechar el dia!”  Perfect.

But anyway.  I suppose I write today to encourage those who have silently suffered because of their well-founded fear of the jalapeno.  You are not alone.  You are not wrong.  I have appointments with the principals in my daughter’s schools next week so we can begin educating and encouraging students to take a stand against bullying those who have Fear of the Jalapeno (FOTJ).  I’m certain they will be delighted to help.  Additionally, I hope to meet with my congressman on Monday in order to work out the details of a bill that would regulate the jalapeno industry (“Big Jalapeno,” as it is known) and restrict jalapeno sales and purchases, requiring background checks and three day waiting periods.

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