Junior Warden’s Message – August 2022

Greetings Brethren, family, and friends of Lodge 542! I hope y’all are doing well. This month we celebrated our Second Annual Hot Wings Competition at the Lodge. 15 of us signed up… and most of us survived.

This annual tradition started last year under the direction and initiative of Worshipful Omar Cervantes. During his year as Master of the Lodge, California enforced lockdowns that prevented us from meeting in-person. This forced us into sharing fellowship over video conferencing as an alternative. To break up the monotony of video calls, WB Omar decided to have a hot wing eating contest based on the popular YouTube series, Hot Ones, and bring the Brethren together – despite the mandates and restrictions at play. Basically, the contest involves eating 10 wings, each one coated with a hotter sauce than the previous one.

Hot Ones Season 18 sauces
The sauces of Hot Ones: Season 18.

WB Omar purchased the 10 hot sauces from the Hot Ones web site. Then, he purchased small plastic containers to distribute the sauces to each participating Brother – like the sauce containers you receive with takeout orders. Next, he delivered the sauce containers to each Brother, each labeled from one to ten. Finally, we all joined a Zoom call and endured the misery of consuming hot sauces unfit for human consumption. Fortunately, every participant soldiered through and completed all 10 wings! To commemorate our victory, each winner received his own trophy.

Hot Wings Contest trophy
One of my most-difficult and proudest achievements as a Mason.

This year’s contest followed the same formula with a few, notable differences. First, government lockdowns are over, allowing us all to meet in-person – except one Brother who joined via video call. The wings were all tossed in the sauce before each round, as opposed to individual containers, previously allowing each Brother to “choose his own adventure” regarding the amount of sauce applied. The Lodge provided an array of drinks and snacks to mitigate the effects of the wings including milk, peanut butter, honey, yogurt, and more.

Da Bomb hot sauce
Sauce #8: “Da Bomb” or — as I call it — Satan Syrup!

Despite the planning and precautions, some Brothers did succumb to the spiciness and tap out before completing the contest. This came after sauce #8 because it is the tipping point of the entire contest. Sauce #8 is “Da Bomb” and rates around 500,000 on the Scoville Scale. It’s held its place as sauce #8 in every episode of the Hot Ones Challenge, during the show’s 18 seasons, except the first season. Having eaten it twice myself, I say it’s basically magma – a viscous, lava-like substance with overwhelming flavor notes of burning and agony that linger for way too long. Fortunately, it destroys your taste and pain receptors, making wings #9 and #10 – that are technically hotter – more palatable.

Brothers eating hot wings
The Brethren of 542 soldiering through the pain.

Despite the trauma to our taste buds and digestive tracts, this year’s event was a great success! It was a great opportunity to carry on what is now an annual tradition – bringing us together in-person this time instead of separated by restrictions. I look forward to doing it again next year!

As always, I hope you’re all doing well and continue to do so. Please reach out if there is ever anything the Lodge can do to help.