So I spent most of the afternoon with a burning belly – but that comes later.
I went out three times to get the mail on Monday, fairly disgusted that the mail delivery person was so delinquent in his task. It was then that I remembered that our son Adam, who has been working from home since March, told me that he had Monday off, in celebration of Columbus Day, or Indigenous Persons Day, or Native American Day or whatever. Personally, and this shows my bias, I’d rather see a separate day for something other that Columbus Day, and give the guy his due, at least as it concerns the world we are living in now. But – however it turns out, at least Adam had a day off.
With Cheri at work, that meant that Adam and Aaron were home with no plans. That also meant that I, who by the way am retired, also had no plans, so the only reasonable plan was to have lunch at HuHot, the Mongolian grill. HuHot had been closed for a few months, as most restaurants were, but they decided to open up and abide by all of the distancing and standards and such. We too were happy to oblige, and wore masks to get into the place, until we sat down at the socially distanced table.
For those of you unfamiliar with HuHot, the meal consists of four steps, in which the customer participates for three of the steps. First, you take your way too small bowl, and select your meat – chicken, beef, pork and some other stuff that doesn’t matter. Next, you select and fill your bowl with the noodles you want. The strategy comes into play at this point. You put as much meat as you want, and then, as the meat is frozen, you crush it with your fingers into the bottom of the bowl, and then fill a small amount with the noodles.
Next, there is a huge display of vegetables, as though any Mongolian would be interested in that. I always take a number of cubes of cut tofu, since they tend to soak up the sauces – we will get to that later. I skip most of the rest of the vegetables, except for onions and mushrooms, which create the heaping part of the bowl.
Finally, we come to the sauces. I have never counted, but I am sure that there must be twenty or more containers with sauces of varieties of flavors and most of all – heat levels. I am sure some customers will find a low level of spice, and be satisfied with their meager life, but not so the sons of the Cross. The liquids are classified by levels of flames, and best of luck to those who do not choose wisely.
Yesterday, I did not choose wisely. For some reason, I went ape stupid on the sauces, especially giving in to the two – Kung Pao Wow, and Burn Your Village. I then topped it off with hot chili oil, and handed the bowl to the “chef.”
Step Four. They take the bowl, and dump it on a screaming hot huge iron grill, and spend the next 6 minutes or so “grilling” your lunch. They chop and spread and flip and combine, and finally, scoop the stuff that you put in your bowl back onto a plate for you to enjoy.
The three of us sat down, and started to eat. It took about three or four seconds for me to realize that my plate was undeniably hot. Really spicy. Terribly hot. Have you ever had your eyes, not cry, but sweat? Your nose runs and your lips and tongue and entire inside of your mouth burn? Welcome to Monday at HuHot. It was a capsaicin nuclear bomb. There was not enough water, and the fear arose of touching my eyes with anything. I mentioned the tofu squares – they are true natural sponges for all the hot sauce. As I tasted them, the sauce released and poured into my throat, which just accelerated the fire already raging….
So, of course, we ate it all, and then went back for seconds.
It’s at this point that we can all agree that sometimes, men do stupid things. It burned again. A lot. And we ate it all. Lots of water, although milk would have been better, and we were very careful not to wipe our teared up eyes, knowing that to do so would have serious – read horribly hot – results. As we finished the meals, and paid our bill, and walked out, we all remarked that in the outside air, it seemed as though we could almost taste color, and the exhaust from restaurants a block away.
The worst choice we then made was to go to the grocery store to pick up a few items. With my mouth covered by a face mask, the process of the lunch meal continuing to burn was excruciating. No fresh air – only recycling the superhot fumes. We make it around the store, and then checked out, got to the car, and tore off our masks in hopes of making the burn go away. We drove home, and spent the rest of the afternoon fasting. The amount of food and the spices involved were overwhelming – I realized you are never too old to do stupid things.
So, I skipped supper, and hoped for a simple, and quiet evening and good night’s sleep. I wonder when the time comes when indeed you do become too old to do stupid things…
A word of clarification about intentionality. I know I have defined intentional to mean doing things on purpose, instead of living accidentally, but intentional should also include the element of wisdom. I should be intentionally wise about what I do, and if I am not careful, I need to realize that I will unintentionally do stupid things on purpose, and that doesn’t bring wisdom to life. Intentionality also means I employ a modicum of wisdom and restraint to my choices in life, which in turn allows grace and joy to be found. Doing stupid things on purpose creates its own result, which is rarely good, and usually regret.
As Dad would always say, “Use your head for something other than wearing your hat.”
Word for the day: facinorous. Pronounced fa-SIN-er-us. It makes sense that the word emphasizes “sin” in the pronunciation. The core word is Latin, facere, which we have seen before, meaning, “to do.” However, the word takes on a more sinister tone, as facinus means, “a bad deed.” Facinorous is defined as “an atrociously wicked deed.” Actually, I think the definition is a bit off, because the word “wicked,” as I have mentioned before really is the description given to someone who has chosen to live apart from God. They want to be their own boss in every instance of their life. Certainly the product that comes from that way of living would be similar or the same as evil, but it doesn’t begin there. I believe instead that if one would act in a facinorous manner, it would mean one has given herself or himself fully over to evil. “Sin” is a good component at that point.
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.