Date: Fri, 26 Apr 1996 03:19:26 -0500
Subject: STORY/ANECDOTE...and it ain't vulgar

When I was doing a stint at a vegetarian restaurant, there was a dishwasher by the name-o of Eddie. A bright guy who was unfortunately born mute and deaf, and considering this is Mississippi, he was "thrown" into the system and thus cared for by the local/state Retardation Center (which is now goes by some "more politically correct" name), and thus, he's never received the proper education/help he so deserves. Well, the owners of the restaurant gave him a job (he lives in an "outpatient" house or something of the like), sorta took him under their wing (their nice, old hippies), and consequently, Eddie has become something of a fixture in the place. He "converses" with everyone (nope...he's been taught very little sign language) and in my opinion, was the most hardworking, trustworthy, happy and "bestest" employee there along with another guy who was also a dishwasher and was also an outpatient (he was "slow" and had a speech impediment...or said he did...I couldn't tell actually). Digressing...that sorta sez something about "normal" people, doesn't it.

I tell the above so no one thinks we were being cruel in the story I'm about to relate. Eddie was "one of the guys" and new what was what. He just didn't speak like "normal" people and didn't hear much other than certain sounds at certain pitches. Anywho, I walked into work smiling like a big ole dog one day because I had just harvested a good quart baggie o' Habs from my first venture in chile growing. I was also smiling because one of the owners had never eaten a hab and I wasn't sure if anyone else in the place had either.

Was gonna be a Day o' Fun for Rael-o. And it was. I witnessed a waitress turn red and sweat (she was one of those sorority gals....we call 'em "Bow-Heads" because they always wear those cutesy bows in their bleached-blonde hair; quite nice to see her sweat, literally, and basically look like sheeet for the rest of the day) and watched my boss bite off the "tit" and say "oh, that's not hot". Yeah, right.

I nodded and said, "gee, Mr. Manly Man....take a damn bite." And although not much of a bite, bite he did.

Now when I was in good form during my drunk days, I could put 'em away. An aficionado of room temp. beers and tequila I wuz (the town sells beer pretty much everywhere, but unless at/in a bar, its not cold...hence it was a learned trait of mine; again, Mississippi for ya...and the surrounding county is dry; go figure). But I wasn't one to chug my beers really, even when damn thirsty.

And to this day, I don't think I've yet to see a person drink two warm Turbo Dogs (nasty stuff, IMO) like Mr. BossMan did. Reached into the case (he was stocking the cooler) popped the top, drained it, tossed the bottle in the *trash* (they recycle diligently...unless on fire from a Hab, it seems...), and ripped the top from another, and sucked that baby down too...and said... "Yeah...that MF is hot!" And then he opened a cold one and sat down. Bummed a cigarette off me too.

But Eddie? What of the man? Well, Eddie comes by and being the Man Who Sees/Knows All, he spied the happy-shiney habanero sitting in front of my Dos Equis, glowing only like a hab can glow. Now I'm gonna loose a good bit of the "translation" here considering Eddie doesn't really speak although he does sound out a good "sheeeeet" and "f***" (and he knew those when I began working there, so don't blame me...I did try to teach him some "useful" German tho <g>), but nonetheless, Eddie has his specific sounds for specific words/phrases along with his own personal "sign language".

Looking at the hab, Eddie points at it, looks at me and does his "uuhh?" (much of his "speaking" is intonation) and gives me his inquisitive look. I put my beer aside and pointed at the chile, then shook my head and shook my hand, flat, palm down, over the chile. A definitive "no, Eddie, you don't want none of that bad boy". He made his "oh...why the hell not?" sound, did his Spock eyebrow raise, and damned if he didn't put his hand on his hip. Well, Eddie wasn't one to shy away from anything and he hated to feel left out, but I wasn't convinced he really knew what the hab was meaning he had no idea how hot hot could be. He'd seen jalapenos and serranos, cayennes and your other typical "chile" chiles; he may have associated it with a golden pepperocini or something (ha!). So I grabbed a bottle of Tabasco, put a drop in my hand and I licked it. Eddie followed my lead, licked and smiled. I knew he liked hot food (he loved Tuesdays when Kashmira, a really cool Indian lady, came and made a traditional dish from her country...my favorite day as well...and some of her stuff would light ya up) and he used Tabasco regularly, but I looked at Eddie, pointed to the hab again, and then spread my arms out as far as they would go, then pointed to my mouth with my hand and "waved" my hand, illustrating as best I could that the Hab was one hot momma.

Dear ole John, the owner, on his second cold (fourth total) beer, did nothing but sit a seat down from me and nod his head the whole time. Guess that was the best he could do. He still had sweat dripping off his nose and watery eyes.

Anywho...Eddie wouldn't remit. He was gonna eat that El Grande Habanero, by damn. And next thing I knew, he gave me his "pshaw" noise, grabbed the hab, and bit the damn thing in half and began to chew with a smile on his lips.

The smile lasted about 2.7 seconds. Mouth dropped open; eyes opened wide, bulged out somewhat, and I saw the skin on his forehead tighten as his ears raised a good half-inch. And then Eddie gave his "Eddie Wail". Again, I'm not making fun of Eddie nor his being mute/deaf; this is simply how he "speaks"; and I can only give examples of other sounds that may be familar to "show" what his specific sound of the moment sounded like. And the "Eddie Wail" is akin to the sound of a person falling off a mountain minus the "fade-away" effect and sorta like the scream a person would make if the woke up from a nice nap-ola and found themself buried alive. I may be stretching it, but it also sounds somewhat like what I figure the combined scream of a man and woman would be when the Doc tells them that "yes, your wife is pregnant; no, it ain't twins...it's sextuplets."

It scared the bejesus outta me regardless. He screamed like this and waved his arms up and down, swung his head from side to side and ran back towards the kitchen. Running behind him, John (yeah, he actually moved) and I reached the kitchen just in time to see Eddie grab the faucet part of his dish sink, pulled it off (it was broken/stripped out, yes, but if you didn't turn it on full blast, it worked...but I don't think it woulda mattered...Eddie was a stout man), and turned the cold water on full blast and stuck his head -- mouth open, eyes closed -- into the gyser. I swear he drank down a gallon or two of water.

Water dripping from him, every bit of him, Eddie walked over to me, handed me the other half of the habanero, drew an open hand, palm down, across his neck (which meant "no more!", more or less) and then grinned and punched me on the shoulder. Hard. Real hard.

Never have figured out if it was a "you son-of-a-bitch" punch or a "you looked like you were enjoying that too much" punch, but he was grinning at the time, so what the hell. But he gave me the Evil Eye every time I walked into work with more habaneros in my hand. Wouldn't even come near me.

Peace, Hendrix, and Chiles...
Rael64
Mississippi Redneck Cook
Copyright 1996 Rael64
rael64@earthlink.net
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