After numerous doses of pepto, Lipitor and pairs of depends I’ve had time to digest the nitrates and experiences of this past 4th of July hot dog eating contest. The 4th can be compared to a moderately big event in ones life, a bar mitzvah you trained 3 months eating hot dogs for (kosher mind you). Time along with effort, focus, and sweat equity are invested and leave a void, lack of self direction and worth. Kind of like if at midnight you turn into a pumpkin and or Lindsay Lohan. But when the adrenaline is still coursing you command a sense of chi rebirth as faith in the human spirit and mind are reinvigorated because accomplishments were made.
If I were a hated gym teacher on the 4th my stomach would be a stomped out paper bag filled with smoldering adrenaline, good intentions, and hot dog induced excrement. Consuming 53 hot dogs in 10 minutes garnered a 2nd place finish behind the great Joey Chestnut. I covered my clothing, neighbors, and non ironic molestache in sugar free generic target brand cherry limeade. “What the hell is that red shit? Or “Were you eating the hot dogs or throwing them up with all of your vital organs” is not the ideal conversation starter when entering a meat coma. Any distractions from grabbing a cold beer from rubys on the boardwalk is not one I embrace. When 53 hot dogs are consumed the body craves more liquids than is probably safe or natural and a beer on the boardwalk is what the nurse (ratched) ordered. With that beer the mind will wander and reflect on the day’s events and disbelief that the entire $200 per-diem was spent on one last hot dog practice. The sliver tray lining being it’s not difficult to convince the clerk of your intentions when your face is plastered on the paper tray liners.
With each passing of the 4th and the pepto bottle I am left to ponder my future and scratch a few layers into my reflexive self. With each great event and built up there’s a natural crash. For each expended adrenaline atom there’s a void that stubbornly won’t be filled. It could be the reason rock stars and celebrities turn to drugs, trying to unnaturally fuel the adrenaline burning oven from within. Ones life is not meant for display in more than 15 minute increment (Andy Warhol 15 min of fame). Most crumble under the pressure, just look at ghosts of child actors pasts. The eyes and world is expecting big things which are almost impossible to produce.
Those that are in the spotlight usually possess certain qualities that increase their appeal and adoration from fans. There are certain personality types in life that draw attention. They are the Jekyll n Hyde personalities that are outliers of the norm. The traits so cherished usually signal the inherent downfall. (Keith moon for example, loved for his crazy drug/ alcohol antics, killed by the double edge scotch bottle). It’s almost as if in the delivery room the doctor should slap the baby then the parents for concocting such tainted genetics but follow it with a high five. I’m not saying that my talents should garner attention and adoration but that there is some faulty brain wiring on that drives me to competitive eating and I’m left with those same empty feelings after certain big eating events.
My fears in life are few; normalcy, boredom, and mediocrity. Ferris Bueller may have said “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” My interpretation- “life can move pretty slow, if there’s too much time to think it could lead to insanity”. Normal life is a series of distractions from how horribly boring and uneventful the every day grind can be. For normalcy is insanity. What’s good for the normal/ masses is a lot similar to the sludge fed to cattle. Jay Leno, Domino’s pizza, and Kate Hudson rom coms are prime examples. The biggest fear of all is going through life as an unknown shlub. My main objective in life is to make an impact on the lives of others. I’d much rather be loved and adorned by a select few of the public then to garner a lukewarm approval and liking by the general masses. I’d like nothing more than to have people pick up my auto bio at the local Salvation Army for $.79, and get something out of my life. A life filled with an overflowing accordion file of experiences, acquired wisdom, and self explorations. Where the pay off and brain wrinkles far outweighed the invested time and a sincere attempt at peeling back the onion layers of meat and nitrates below my non kosher casing are made. The feeling cannot be matched when others invest time to truly investigate the interworking/ erector set of hot dog mortar, and Popsicle sticks coated in a manic eccentric obsessive food chemical formula. So perhaps a psychologist would argue that my involvement in professional eating could be my crutch to stave off boredom and insanity. Others site getting rich or starting a big family as their main life goals, my objective being to bring a little humor and substance to the lives of others.
I usually follow these mental dialogues with a recap of my latest food adventures. Following the Nathans contest I ventured to Ireland in an attempt to absorb my motherland and to sample as much black pudding, whiskey, unpasteurized cheese, and funky flavored potato chips as possible. Travelling abroad and especially in the European Union countries has taught me the low value of U.S. currency and impressive the potato chip varieties available. I discovered/ sampled the following on this trip; Cumberland sausage, Worcestershire, balsamic vinegar and caramelized onions, spring onion and cheddar, caramelized shallot and white cheddar, bacon, grilled steak, pigs in a blanket Pringles to name a few. The Pringles pigs in the blanket were my favorite as they gave off the greasy flavor and lingering aftertaste of cafeteria breakfast sausages(bangers if you want to go all British) Potato crisps (as they are called) are the ultimate fat boy treat. There is no reason to ever eat them as they consist of empty abundant sodium and deep fried calories. It could be the perfect vacation food to consume while reading trashy magazines your sister packed to read on the plane. Vacation for me is about celebrating/ encouraging my excessive appetites for food and alcohol. Following them up with excessively bad hangovers and in the case of Ireland excessively big portions of proper Irish breakfasts including the much celebrated black pudding (blood mixed with oats, YUUUMMMMY!) This trip was a testament to my growing taste experiences and thirst for the tabloids while nursing the Irish flu.
If ever there was a perfect memory from this trip that could be applied as a metaphor to my life it was the chugging contest vs. a young Irish lad. I put my pint down in 2 gulps and was met with a “Holy Shit” from the bartender. My life can be described as a series of “holy shit” moments; as in “Holy Shit that guy in the Mohawk just ate an astronomical amount of food.” Or from my girlfriend “holy shit, I can’t believe you just did that, you are such an idiot”
In conclusion, I hope this won’t be my last trip to the EU or the last time I get to relay some of the crazy thoughts that form a funnel cloud of chaotic convictions south of the old Mohawk. Eating if something that has taken me farther than I ever thought possible. I was a binge eater with a weight issue before eating. That’s not something one ever outgrows but for now I’m having the best time of my life.