Not every challenge is a good one

Published 3:30 pm Tuesday, September 13, 2022

I’ve done plenty of stupid things in my life. The most recent was this past Saturday afternoon when I attempted to eat the suggested serving size of some very hot potato chips — the Pringles Scorchin’ Los Calientes Rojo chips.

I have previously made it as far as six chips into the serving size of 14 before tapping out and trying to make my tongue and teeth stop hurting. Saturday I made it to 10 before conceding I am a complete idiot.

Let’s get something clear — I love hot food. Love it.

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I have dozens of different hot sauces at home. My favorite restaurant brings a bowl of their house-made spicy salsa to my table (usually) without me having to ask, because they know me.

I have had more than one person accuse me of (quote) “trying to kill” them after sharing a tasty spicy food item with them.

I love spicy. But I like it mainly for the taste. Not the pain.

But I was determined to beat this self-imposed 14-chip challenge. I wasn’t afraid. Note the use of the past-tense verb there.

Did I mention these special edition potato crisps were flavored with sauce from the popular internet show “Hot Ones”? It’s the show where host Sean Evans asks a celebrity questions as they each eat chicken wings flavored with progressively hotter sauces. Some guests have breezed through the challenge, but others have had trouble thinking straight, have cried in pain, and/or called Sean things his parents never intended him to be called.

So this was kind of my own private “Hot Ones” challenge. Except the only question I asked myself was why I had been so stupid.

I should have challenged myself to do something productive, like working on chord progressions on the guitar, studying the Bible, or writing a better column.

Or I could have at least done something less pain-producing, like slamming my face into my concrete backdoor steps.

Not every choice is a good one.

But God is merciful, and the fire in my face eventually petered out. I’ve set a new challenge for myself this week: Do something to benefit someone else each day. I imagine each day will be different, but worth it. Even if some of it turns out to be a bit painful.

Meanwhile, I’ll be careful in other ways. We ate hotdogs for lunch today, and my wife set the can of Pringles down next to me.

I think she’s trying to kill me.

Brett Campbell can be reached at