This Is What I’m Talking About

I know what I can’t avoid.  Double rainbows.  Cats.  McKayla Maroney being less than impressed.  I am meme conscious, if not all that impressed myself.  As opposed to all the things I’m ignorant about, I feel pretty confident that I’ve at least noticed that video you want to show me because it’s so funny.  I spend too many hours here, I can’t help noticing.

So it goes with the “entitlement” backlash, which is popping up all over the place.  I heard a guy on the radio yesterday taking off on the subject.  There’s just something about the word.

I understand it.  To feel “entitled” has a strong pejorative history.  Psychology textbooks have entire chapters dedicated to patients with “a sense of entitlement.”  So I understand when people take offense when they don’t think it through, or don’t know.

In a formal sense, “entitled” means you have a legal right to something.  I buy a ticket, I’m entitled to see the movie.  I don’t deserve to see the movie, I’m entitled.  I paid.

Freedom of speech?  Entitlement, semantically masquerading as a right.

Medicare is an age-based entitlement.  You’re entitled to receive benefits once you reach the age of 65.  It’s not a dirty word.  Whether you deserve it or not is entirely not the point, although I’m sure you worked very hard your entire adult life and paid a lot of payroll taxes, and you at least sort of understand the relationship between taxation and benefits.  I was entitled to a public education because I was born a citizen of this country, a member of this community.  Taxes were certainly paid, but not by me.

On the other hand, I’ve been paying Medicare payroll taxes for nearly 40 years, and I’m entitled to squat.  You think I could at least get an aspirin, but no.  I’m not angry.

And I’m not angry about shifting definitions of certain words, or even irritated.  Just curious, sometimes, how things change.  I was kidding a friend the other day, who used the word “factoid” in a common way, meaning a little fact.  By definition, “factoid” means something that only looks like a fact, something that appears to be true because it’s repeated often, etc.  Not a true fact.

But I knew what he meant, and that’s really what counts.  I don’t get worked up over words.  I just notice, and occasionally think about them, and try to spell them correctly.

Today I’m thinking about “hot.”  Our temperatures are about to rise here in Western Washington a bit, into the 90s, warm for us, even hot, but that’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about this:

I have lots of little bottles of hot sauce in my cabinets.  These were speculative purchases, bought on the hope that I’d get a decent return, which is heat.  Most of the time I’m disappointed.  A couple of years ago, though, I was pleasantly surprised to find that good ol’ Tabasco made a habanero-based hot sauce.  This is what I’m looking for.

When I tell people I like my food “hot,” they get confused.  Like oatmeal?  Soup?  Steamy veggies?  Toast?  Gravy?

All good things, but I have to explain.  What I call “hot” they call “spicy.”  The word spicy has a slightly different meaning to me; I think about it as something that tickles my nose and my throat, that has a lot of flavor, often cumin.  Something that makes me choke occasionally if I get too much at once.

I’m talking caliente, not picante.  My goal is to persuade my brain that I just stuck a match in my mouth.  I want the back of my neck to get wet.  I want to wipe away sweat before I finish cleaning my plate.  I want to feel endorphins pumping through my body, trying to take away pain while waiting for the ambulance.

So I’ve been using Mr. Tabasco on everything.  In fact, I was pretty sure I went through an entire 1-1/2-ounce bottle about once a week, each one costing, as I recall, at least a couple of bucks, probably more.  Time to buy in bulk.

So I bought a gallon.  I pour it into a plastic squeeze bottle and heat up everything.  I keep the gallon jug under the kitchen sink, along with the other toxic chemicals.  I’m a responsible homeowner.

This gallon bottle of caliente arrived in February, which I remember because I was in Austin at the time. And yesterday I poured the last of it into my squeeze bottle.  So now I know.  It lasted a little more than six months (having not finished the last of it as I write).  Quick math tells me that I must average around 4 ounces a week.  I’ve progressed.

I also probably haven’t really saved that much money, considering that I had to pay for shipping.  Maybe 2 bucks a week.  Maybe I saved a little.  Convenience matters too.

So time to stock up on the heat.  Or the spicy, whichever works for you.  You’re entitled to your opinion, and I mean that.


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1 Comment

  1. Our house goes through a small bottle per week. My wife has often told people that she feels safe in assuming that she is the only mother who ever had to say to her child, “If you’re going to drink the Tabasco, USE A GLASS!”

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