So we moved on to a slightly hotter hot sauce, a habanero. No problem! I took a taste, dealt with the heat, recovered quickly and wanted more, even as my eyes were tearing and nose starting to run.
"Don't blow your nose too hard," Currie warns me.
He explained to me that women can often handle the heat better, because Ph levels vary between the sexes. Emboldened by that, I continued to try more samples, powering through various Carolina Reaper products, including the infamous "Last Dab." Currie even gave me a taste of his own private tincture, which I kind of enjoyed.
He was amazed. "You did better than any other news reporter that's been here."
I didn't, as it turns out.
I thought I was fine. The endorphins kicked in, and I was feeling great! We moved on to visit Currie's greenhouses, and then one of his farms. It was a lovely afternoon!
But two hours after sampling his peppers, Currie and I were walking through the woods...and I had to stop. I could not go on. I sat down on the ground, then I laid down. Cramps similar to labor pains gripped my lower regions. I thought I was going to die.
"Oh that happens," Currie says.
A producer on this story, Nate Skid, had also sampled peppers earlier and also suffered cramps (which made me feel superior at the time). Skid had made himself vomit to relieve the pain.
"Thirty seconds of pain to feel much better, Jane," he recommends.
I took his advice. It worked. But my pride in being some sort of pepper champ evaporated in the woods that afternoon.
Still, was it worth it? Of course it was! I got to try the hottest hot sauce in the world with the man who created it.