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June 9, 2005

Yesterday I rode down to the South Side for some ribs and hot links at Barbara-Ann's, a carry-out BBQ joint reputed to be one of the best. I'm not expert enough to judge, but I know what I like -- SWM, 29, spicy, tender and messy, seeks same. Smoking OK. No fatties. -- and I really liked this.

But something unusual happened: I was not able to finish my order. I'd met my match. The thought of another bite made my head hurt. Five bites later my head really hurt. Five bites after that I was ready to pass out.

It was 90 degrees and humid. I sweat profusely as I sat against a Dumpster, the remnants of my meal between my legs. My eyes floated heavenward in defeat and exhaustion.

Five elderly men pulled up in a late-model sedan. One of them looked at me with a look of grave concern. He motioned to his mouth. It took a second but I finally understood: He thought I had been beaten up and left for dead. "No," I mumbled as I waved him off, "it's OK. It's only BBQ sauce."

Photo taken: June 8, 2005