What to do when you’re paying the ultimate price for spice

It’s a lot like a hangover. You eat some sauce. Then you need more sauce…then MORE. And the next morning, you find yourself crab-walking into the office, wondering why you didn’t take up the offer for a standing desk.

And you’ve gotta admit it: you’re the one who got yourself into this prickly pickle in the first place. Because you love the hot stuff. Gotta have it. Can’t get enough of it. The first step is admitting you have a pepper problem.

Have no fear. The Aardvark guzzles hot sauce. He is no stranger to pain. And he’s here to hold your hand and help you get through it.

Why, why, why?

After over-indulging in the hot stuff, you might ask: “Why does my tender bootie burn with the heat of a million suns?”

Well, you have evolution to thank for that. You know all those pain receptors that light up in your mouth when you pop a chili? Those same pain receptors also dwell at the very tail end of the old food chute. Weird. Those nerve endings tell your brain your behind is literally on fire (it’s not). They may even squawk that you’re going to die (you’re not). It’s just mental ju-jitsu. A little practical joke courtesy of our friend Mother Nature.

So, now what? Here are the Aardvark’s Five Tips for Surviving the Sting:

#1. Master Your Attitude

Any survival handbook or reality show will tell you when you’re in a crisis, rule number one is to remain calm. So, you’ve reached for the Reaper sauce when you should have grabbed Chipotle: It all went down okay, but a day later, you’re having second thoughts.

It’s okay. We’ve all been there.

In fact, another cool thing about human evolution is that we get used to things. Even chili pepper burn. So, over time, your tolerance for hot sauce will only increase… everywhere. That means if right now your hand is poised over 9-1-1 speed dial, maybe next time you’ll feel all Netflix and chill about it.

#2. Perfect Your Walk of Flame

Ring sting can be hard to hide. Your co-workers may notice your permanent eek! face. Your kids may wonder why you’re hoarding all the pool floaties to sit upon. And everyone will be curious why you’re walking as though your shoes are two sizes too small.

Now, of course, you could just admit you chugged the Scorpion sauce non-stop last night. But the Aardvark understands that there are times when the consequences of one’s actions are just a little too personal to share.

The alternative? Blame it on “last weekend’s Ironman competition.” Maybe those “new hip-hop dance lessons” are the culprit. That little teardrop in your eye? It could be from the “rom-com” you sat through last night.

Sure, your work of fiction might leave a tiny dark mark on your soul. But at least you won’t have to admit to having fire in the hole in the middle of the staff meeting.   

#3. Reach for a Fire Extinguisher

Quick tips: Drink lots of water (refreshing!), eat some fiber (please don’t make us explain), repeatedly scream into a pillow (you get it), or take a “self-care day.” Ideally, all of the above.

Or you can try a couple of more, ahem, hands-on approaches:

Wrap a bag of ice in a thin towel and sit on it. A surefire way to cool a raging hot spot – fast. Go for 20 minutes at a time every 2-3 hours. Brrrr. But ahhh…

Or perhaps try a cooling swab (though, for the love of god, dab gently). For chronic sufferers who like to plan ahead, you might also enjoy a cool spritz. Hello, fresh! (Please Note: We highly recommend the “soft rear” setting. This is no time to mess with the hard stuff).

Ring sting is usually blissfully brief. So, if it keeps on stinging for toooo long, seek out the advice of someone in a lab coat and latex gloves whose name starts with “Doctor.”

#4. Pace Yourself

We’re looking at you: the one who’s in flaming-caboose-survival-mode… and who’s just about to dollop more hot sauce on their very next meal. That’s okay. We’ve already established you have a pepper problem.

If you want to avoid ‘roid rash, pick a peck of peppers that’s appropriate for your current heat tolerance.

Of course, we’d never expect you to go sauce-free. But maybe today is a day to reach for the Smoky Aardvark Chipotle. It’s rated at just two flames (on our range from 0-4) and has all the full flavor and tang you love about Secret Aardvark. Then, before you know it, you’ll be back to grizzled veteran status, dumping Secret Aardvark Hab Sauce, Serrabanero, even Reaper and Scorpion onto everything from your eggs and pancakes to your hot chocolate lava cake dessert and everything in between.

#5. Embrace the Burn

We all eat hot sauce and chili peppers because we love endorphins. Not to mention the irresistible flavor explosion. The occasionally blazing side effects are just an irritation we put up with. The Aardvark knows you’re never gonna stop. You embrace life. You live large. And you like your sauce hot and lots of it. And neither you nor the Aardvark would have it any other way.

So, at the end of the day, it’s okay if you need to swab or spritz now and again. It’s also perfectly fine to just grin and bear it like the badass you are.

Either way, you’ve earned the Scout badge of fiery endurance. You’re now a Ring-Sting-Certified Survivor.