Full Moon, I Turn Into A Wicked Bitch/MSG Poison Experience

August 5, 1982 Kowloon’s Restaurant, Saugus, Massachusetts

For decades Kowloon’s has been one of the premier Chinese restaurants on the North Shore. I only ate there once, over 30 years ago. It was an unforgettable evening…unfortunately.

In mid July I met a woman named Debbie at the Salem Willows. We started dating- I was bored & lonely & I think she was too. We didn’t communicate well…she lived with her parents, didn’t work & had few, if any friends. Her parents were upper middle-class, pleasant & seemed very happy each time I showed up to take their daughter out. I had begun to suspect Debbie had some kind of psychiatric issue, but she wouldn’t talk about it. We seemed to have a lot of fights over little things. I wasn’t sure if we were going to last. She was pretty, fun to make out with, and I felt kind of sorry for her…not the best reasons for staying in a relationship.

This was in the back of my mind when I picked Debbie up that evening. She had asked me to take her to Kowloons and I had always wanted to go there. I had just got paid and was feeling pretty relaxed. We ordered a Pu Pu platter that was quite tasty. Within half an hour the MSG kicked in and I started to feel edgy. By the time my Shrimp with Lobster Sauce arrived I couldn’t speak without being sarcastic. Every little thing that bothered me about Debbie was coming out as I had lost the capacity to shut off the internal dialogue.

After dinner I drove her home. Debbie was startled and disappointed that we weren’t going to Devereaux Beach to make out. I was amazed that she was even thinking of it given my far less than pleasant disposition over the previous 90 minutes. I had a pounding headache and was doing everything in my power not to swear at her or be any nastier than I had been. I said goodbye, drove back to Gloucester and stopped at the Blackburn Tavern for a White Rum Srewdriver…not the best remedy for MSG poisoning.

Went home, ran upstairs without saying hi to my roommates and shut the door. Eventually I was able to fall asleep. The next morning I woke up grateful to be my regular self again. I couldn’t bring myself to call Debbie for a couple of days. When I did I said I was sorry for being so grumpy. She seemed to have forgotten it. She asked if I wanted to get together again. I said I didn’t know. Something inside was saying it’s time to move on…and this wasn’t the MSG.


What do you think?

13 Points

Written by PaulPallazola


    • Once in a while a Chinese Restaurant chef puts too much of this seasoning into the food…usually chicken fingers are the culprit but there are dozens of menu items that might. The Kowloons meal hit me and changed my mood like a mind altering drug…I was edgy, angry, uncomfortable and in retrospect kinda mean… for hours I was miserable and not a pleasant person to be around. Ultimately time and sleep takes care of it but now when I order Chinese, I say “no MSG please…”