Friday, March 03, 2006

Chili Con Mystery

A few days ago, I received a peculiar bit of e-mail in my inbox. The subject seemed simple enough "Saturday Info - Chili Cook Off", so I clicked, figuring in all likelihood it would be from a Nigerian interested in pursuing online banking with me, or perhaps from someone overly concerned with whether or not my penis can maintain an erection, and if it's even large enough at all.

What I discovered, instead, was an invitation to a Chili Cook-Off, which read and looked exactly as follows:

Hey guys, Kat and I are looking for some compadres to join us this Saturday for some fun & debauchery. Saturday, March 4th, while I know it's been cold, it might be nice to hop in the L train and get off at the Bedford stop and melt off the chill with some Chili...

Where; Brooklyn Ale House (dog friendly bar)
The Big Annual Chili Cook-off starts at;
When; 4:00pm THIS Saturday, March 4th

Seemed like a fun enough idea... the only problem was... I had NO IDEA WHO THE SENDER WAS. None! The name did not ring any bells, and neither did his wife/g-fi, "Kat". And weird -- it was to my personal e-mail address, the one only my "insider" people know about (i.e.

What kind of a person just e-mails strangers willy-nilly about things as personal as a Chili Cookoffs? I sat uncomfortably in my desk chair. Was somebody watching me right now? While eating a big bowl of chili? Made from the remains of one of my house pets? Farting maniacally?

"Everybody's gonna be there, and I wanted to drop off youuuuur invitation peeeersonally!"

Or perhaps this was a friendly stranger who said "Hey, you know who I bet loves chili judging by her height and weight and "tomato-puree-stache"? Michelle Collins. We should bring her on board the ol' chuck wagon and have an ol' fashioned cook off!"

But here's where things get complicated... because... I really wanted to go! What could be more fun (not to mention intimate) than stirrin' up a big cauldron of beans and meat? Nothing, that's what. But could I just show up to this apartment with a print-out of his e-mail and a bucket a sauce?

It's amazing how low the blind, homeless elderly will stoop these days.

So I wrote to him:
Hey [Name Redacted]!

Don't hate me for this... but I'm afraid I don't know you! Although I am more than intrigued by this chili cookoff idea. But would that be weird? If I just showed up? A complete stranger?

So, in short, was this e-mail intended for me? If so, I'm honored you thought of me. Honored and bewildered. If not, I'm sure there's another Michelle out there holding a can of beans, crying, and waiting by her phone. Or laptop. She's definitely holding beans and crying.


It turns out: This gentlement had written to me a couple of years ago about Votergasm, and my name was in his address book. Here's his response:
I did send this to you in error, we hardly even know each other!

It is very funny. If you do come I will be the 6'2" large guy with the 5' 11" girlfriend and several other friends...the owner is Sean and he is about 5' 5' with blond hair...looks like he should be in SoCal.

Take care,
[Redacty, the Redacted Name]

Nice guy, no? So anyway, if you're in Williamburg tomorrow, and want to eat chili with a bunch of friendly people who vary in heights, check out the Brooklyn Ale House tomorrow. Lord knows the weather will be right for it.

How you will approach the toilet immediately following the cook off.

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