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The Portland Mercury Burn-o-meter

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Comparatively speaking, how does one "burn" compare to another? Let's find out!

Actual Fire
Not to be outdone by the somewhat negligible pain of the heart and palette, the physical sensation associated with actual burning flesh makes a remarkably strong appearance on the burn chart—crushing its competition with the threat of permanent disfigurement, inexplicable pain, and possible death by consumption.

Yeast Infection
Though I have admittedly little personal experience with yeast infections, an unscientific Mercury poll suggests that the burn associated with yeast infections is comparable to that of "vaginal Hiroshima."

Habañero Peppers
Recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the world's hottest spice, habañeros (or "death from the inside") are 10 times hotter than cayenne peppers according to the spice industry standard Scoville organoleptic test—which, in layman's terms, roughly translates to the burn of 1,000 suns. The habañero is god's way of branding his worthiest souls.

Insults About One's Mother
Employed in a virtually endless spectrum of variations, there are few burns more deeply felt than those at the expense of one's very own mother. Because of its potentially long-term psychological effects, the true force of this particular burn is difficult to quantify—but it's safe to say that in particularly effective strains, the "mother burn" can affect a person's life irrevocably.

Heartburn
By far the world's hottest gastrointestinal disorder, heartburn is an irritation in the chest that occurs when acids present in foods reflux into the esophagus. Known in extreme cases to deflate the careers of middling pop stars (Ashlee Simpson), heartburn is also often wrongly mistaken for feelings of amour—a confusion that can also commonly lead to painful burning sensations.

Rug Burn
Similar in position to the less socially acceptable "Indian burn," rug burn can sting like a real son of a bitch—but as it's easily treated with a little aloe vera, it can hardly contend with the upper echelon of the Burn-o-meter.

Atomic FireBall
Our apologies to the Ferrara Pan company—who to their teeth-rotting credit have no doubt brought us all a great number of excellent candies (Lemonheads, Alexander the Grape, and the brilliantly xenophobic Cherry Chans among them)—but y'all's FireBall is about as Atomic as a glass of tepid water.

Freezer Burn
Though downright agonizing when it's spoiling a perfectly good slab of veal or whatever, freezer burn is also an oxymoron—and everybody knows that oxymorons are the antithesis of hot.

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