My regret over deciding to willingly ingest food so spicy that just having it come in contact with your skin could give you explosive diarrhea was not at all lessened when I took the first bite. I put on a brave face for the camera (as you'll see later), but inside, I knew I had made a horrible mistake.
It wasn't just that the curry was unbearably hot; it was also kind of disgusting. Usually, even when adding excessive amounts of heat to a dish, most places will also try to give it some semblance of deliciousness. That wasn't the case here. It was just hot for the sake of being hot. When you add in the fact that I had to deal with the constant threat of one of Gladstone's Teen Wolf-like finger hairs falling into my food the entire time I was eating, this challenge was teetering on the brink of impossibility.
He sometimes wears it in cornrows.
With each bite I was constantly reminded that I really need to come up with better and less painful ways to attract attention. Like maybe running onto the field during a Major League baseball game and getting Tasered by overzealous stadium security. I'm pretty sure that would hurt less than eating this bowl full of lava that's trying to pass itself off as Indian food. I did find myself quietly appreciating the 30-minute time limit, though. Knowing I was on the clock kept at bay the intermittent bouts of crying that threatened to overtake me every time I looked down at my plate and the amount of most likely flammable food I had left to consume.
Pictured: Me, dismayed at the amount of food on my plate and the amount of Gladstone at my table.
But there was something else driving me as well, and that's the fourth life lesson here. I knew that, no matter how torturous this meal was, it was only going to last for a brief amount of time. Did I hurt? Yes, of course I did. But I also broke both of my arms at the same time once. Not only did the pain I was experiencing eating this curry not even sort of compare to that, but I knew it would be far shorter lived than that nightmare scenario.
Really, that's true with almost every other type of pain as well, be it physical or emotional. It might seem never ending when you're in the midst of it, but remember, it will pass. With that wisdom firmly implanted in my head, I powered on. Each bite of this devil curry was begging me to put down the fork and eat a plate of vegetable samosas like a normal person, but giving up would mean the pain had defeated me. And dammit, Corey Hart told me to never surrender way back in the 1980s, and I wasn't going to let him down. Also, if you understand that reference, congrats on being as old and, by extension, abundantly knowledgeable as I am.
Anyway, with just about nine minutes left, I found myself with just one last bite of this poison on my plate. With an equal mixture of dread and excitement rippling through my scorched innards, I lifted that last forkful to my mouth and downed it. And that's when I learned the last and most important lesson of all ...
That's right, kids, winning is forever. And it's important. If your parents pat you on the back and tell you how great you are because you came in 10th out of 11 contestants in whatever bullshit contest you're involved in, then you have shitty parents who couldn't care less about whether you succeed or fail in life. Trust me, you want to win. It's way better than losing. Just, like, so much better. If your folks didn't teach you that, count your lucky stars that I did just now.
And finishing that last bite of phaal meant that I had won. Against the tyranny and evil of the most heinous curry India has to offer (in Manhattan, anyway), I stood my ground and refused to accept defeat. With that, my victory will live on forever. Not only is my picture posted on the "P'hall of Fame" (which you can see in just four easy steps by going to this website, clicking on "P'hall of Fame," clicking "Curry Monsters" and then clicking to the last page), but my courageous win was documented on video by Gladstone's bitch ass. So for time eternal, I have proof that, at least in this contest, I am indeed a winner. And now, you can be a winner vicariously through me, by watching this video of me facing down the ridiculously painful Phaal Challenge. Gladstone makes a few appearances also. I sincerely apologize for that.
For more from Adam, check out 5 Horrifying Food Additives You've Probably Eaten Today and The 5 Most Ridiculously Over-Hyped Health Scares of All Time.