today’s lesson, with visual aids

Let’s say, hypothetically, that you make yourself a salad for dinner. Hey, it happens. And let us assume, also, that you like spicy stuff and happen to have some fresh jalepeno peppers in the fridge. So if, still speaking strictly hypothetically, you were to slice up one of those peppers to put into your salad, you might find the following advice useful. Or so I’ve heard.

After cutting up the peppers, wash you hands. Wash them really carefully. Use a lot of soap. Concentrate on getting the soap under and around your fingernails.

Because, and again I emphasize that this is entirely hypothetical, if you were to not do this, and were to then, say, remove your contact lenses for the night, you might have a small problem. The problem would not be that your eyes would burn from taking the contacts out: you’d just blink a few times and it would go away. The problem would be that the fat-soluable alkaloid known as capsaicin, which gives the pepper its heat, would get all over the contact lens you just pulled out, and would not be dissolved or diminished in any way by the contact lens disinfectant solution. And if, nine hours later, you were to put that contact lens back into your eye, something very much like this might happen:


This has been a public service message by someone who absolutely positively did not do this today. Really.

(Oh well, at least I finally have glasses that were purchased in this decade and are the same strength as my contacts.)

(Actual helpful hint: enzyme tablets will dissolve the capsaicin, although you may have to run them through a couple of times.)

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