Wednesday, July 13, 2011

JoeTalk Takes a Break from Seriousness - The Eating Contest

Sometimes even JoeTalk needs a break from serious matters. My mind hurts from questions of religion, of justice, and from an obsessive need to spread meaning and purpose in life. Let's try something different today. I want to discuss humor, but it is a Fact that discussing humor, or at least deconstructing humor deflates its fun. So here it goes with the something different. Though I hope to stay away from personal stories, this story isn’t about me. Rather, I served merely as a spectator to one of the crazier spectacles in my life. Hope you like the story.

I wonder who started the first eating contest. Do you think that any cave paintings portray early humans competing over who could eat the most food in an allotted period of time? Ok, probably not. They were most likely worrying if that sound signified a predator, or whom to club etc. Either way, in my mind, eating contests do not flow from any necessity, or any logical aspect of life, or even any of our pre-conceived notions of fun.  As a competition, they lack the grace of competitive sports, but they do allow us to indulge in the more animalistic, greasy aspects of our existence.  It’s easy to mock their popularity, but watch a video of an eating contest, a real eating contest, and try not feel drawn in. You will understand the popularity. So popular in fact that when Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, an American, took down the 4 time reigning champ a while back in the international hot dog eating contest (66 in ten minutes) he was greeted back home with calls of, “Way to bring pride back to America”. Looking back, we, as a bunch of high school juniors going through our long hair stage, felt the same.
My friend and I, the organizers, decided that three large Kosher delight deli sandwiches with three large helpings of fries or rice, three large sodas, and three sides of gravy would be enough for our attempt at an eating contest. This wasn’t so much a classic eating contest of one person against another, but one person against the food. The contestant, the rules stipulated, must finish all three sandwiches with all of its trappings in 90 minutes with no bathroom breaks. The spectators, of whom we had no trouble in collecting,  would bet on his ability to finish or not. The first choice seemed obvious. I mean come on; we were talking about Aloysius P. Quentin here (Real names changed for obvious reasons). This is the same kid that would only stop eating off strangers plates because we were already ten minutes late for class.
The big day had come. Kosher Delight had never been more packed at 12:15 in the afternoon. At least fifty students, all guys, dollar bills in their hands, packed into the store.  EuroTrash, the friendly cashier, whose name is completely self explanatory, was more excited than I had ever seen him. This was going to be huge. Aloysius was seated prominently in the middle while everyone watched him start his road towards victory. “Yeah, this would be a piece of cake”, we thought, “look at him go, it is only twenty minutes in and he is already halfway done”.
But then it happened.
There is a popular TV show, Animal planet, which documents animals in all walks of life,  including death. I never imagined that I would watch an elephant slowly die, but then again I never imagined that I would be shown a wombats private parts, but I was shown the wombats ‘gina as Steve Irwin (R.I.P.) so eloquently put it, and I did see an elephant slowly die: A fallen mountain.  I desperately tried to get rid of the dying elephant memory, but watching Aloysius try to finish his 3rd sandwich brought the memory roaring back. His (both the elephant and Aloysisus) breathing became short and heavy, emphysemic, walking around with an oxygen tank type breathing,  and it was only the start of the third sandwich. “Ok” we thought, “That’s not such a big deal he just needs to take a breather, who wouldn’t need one, right?” He started eating again and promptly stopped. This time on top of the heavy panting, he undid the two top buttons on his shirt. “Again, no reason to worry, he just needs some air” someone shouted from the corner. Another bite. Now he unbuttoned all the buttons his pea green shirt.  “Ok, this is a little weird”
It almost seemed like he was playing strip poker with the sandwich and he was getting his ass kicked, badly. Another bite; now his whole shirt was off, leaving him dressed in just pants an old plain white t-shirt, “Ok this is just insane, but again, this is the same kid who sings with his mouth oddly wide open so this oddity is just standard”. Another bite; no clothes off, “Alright, were back in it. Take that evil sandwich,” we shouted.
“But wait, where the hell is he going, hey, Aloysius, going to the bathroom is against the rules, come back! Remember, if you vomit you lose!, Wait, no you cant leave, hey, come back here, good, he’s coming back, wait, is he crying, oh my god, he is crying, holy crap, why is he crying, please, stop crying, wait, why is your undershirt off, oh my god…are those man-breasts?” 
True story. 
End of round one.
Round two. Ok, the Quentin thing was a fluke. He wasn’t even a real eater in the first place, but William Powers, man that kid actually eats the leftover gel from gefilte fish jars, and it is even rumored that he ate those sticky hands just because he was hungry, so yeah, this one is in the bag. Again the place was crowded, and again the eater sat in the middle surrounded by his adoring fans, but this time EuroTrash and Zamal U (source of name unknown) didn’t seem so happy, which seemed understandable after the male breasts fiasco, but who can say no to that much money?
Things were looking good. There were no buttons unbuttoned, no shirt taken off, and best of all, there were no man breasts revealed, and we were already done with two sandwiches.
And then it happened.
I kept seeing the elephant gasping for air as it lost its coordination hitting the hard floor with a dull thud.
There was the slow and heavy breathing, top buttons were being unbuttoned, and the cameras were out waiting to capture another shirt off situation, but it didn’t get that far. We were back in it.
There was now only a half of sandwich left, some rice, and some orange soda, and William had a big smile on his face, but this salami sandwich wasn’t going down easily. You could almost hear the salami sandwich saying, “Come on William. You think you’re so great. Go ahead. I dare you. Take another two bites. Let’s see what happens”, but William couldn’t hear the imaginary voice of this salami sandwich and brazenly continued.
The tears came earlier than with the first round, but at least there was no shirt off. He began crying as he rushed off to the bathroom, which required climbing about 20 stairs. He made it to stair number 12, at best. He lay there moaning, crying out in a barely audible voice, an animal's groan more than anything else, muttering something that no one understood.
“What Will, what the hell are you saying?”
None of us really wanted to go closer for fear of vomit, but someone had too. I slowly tiptoed towards the downed elephant.
“Hey Willy, how you feeling?” I said in my kindest voice, attempting to hold back laughter.
“I want my mommy”
“What? Will, I can’t hear you”
“I WANT MY MOMMY”, and now he bellowed it with all the strength he had left even with the tears streaming down, and saliva lazily hanging from his mouth.
“What’s he saying?” the group called up, desperate to know.
“He wants his mommy”, I called down.
Eventually someone else came up and we carried him down the stairs. As we were leaving the store, Willy, in the fashion of a fallen hero who failed his devotees, turned to his admirers, and with a sullen face and a barely audible voice said, “Now I know what death feels like”. 
True story.
Round three. Time for the big guns. No one thought that it would come to this, but we would have to go to The Rabbi. There was no other choice; the sandwich had to be conquered. Rabbi Blumenkrantz begrudgingly accepted, but we were all skeptical. “Ok, he appears capable, and maybe in his younger days he could contend, but he is married and probably washed up, but we have no other choice”.
It started like all of the other rounds. We were more scared than ever of the undershirt fiasco. Maybe even more scared than EuroTrash and Zamal U, but on January fifteenth at 12:42 p.m. Rabbi Joseph Blumenkrantz finished all three sandwiches in 27 minutes. That is less than ten minutes per sandwich. Six stacks of meet(the sandwiches were cut in half), 12 slices of bread, rice, three large sodas, and heavy gravy. There was nothing left. No rice had fallen and no drink had spilled. He didn’t unbutton any buttons, nor did he have to stop to take some deep breaths. The gravy bowls looked like they were cleaned by the staff and as he finished he just took the napkin out of his shirt, looked at us and said with a tinge of disappointment, “You guys call that an eating contest?”
True story.

Also, because we could always use laughter here's a bunch of Zach Galafianakis quotes/stories. (Yes, much of this comes from the Rolling Stone article)
1. “I saw that Ke$ha woman the other day,” he says. She’d e-mailed him about getting a drink, and a few days later, he ran into her in a bar. “She was sitting by herself, and I walked up to her and said, ‘Listen, I got your e-mail. Your music is really bad! I don’t know who listens to it, but I imagine it’s, like, six-year-olds – and it’s a bad message.’ ”
2. “I’ll be honest with you: I’m not adjusting to it well. I don’t mean that as a complaint. Most people wouldn’t be well-adjusted. I just get confused by people asking me questions. For years, nobody asked me a question, ever. So now when someone says, ‘Oh, you’re going to be on the cover of Rolling Stone,’ my first reaction is, ‘Ehhh, I don’t think that’s a good idea. I mean, it’s cool – but does it have to be the cover? What’s Blink-182 doing these days?’ ”
3. When Sean Penn called to offer him a role inInto the Wild, Galifianakis told him he had an appointment at Arby’s and to "send my Jews the script
4. His longest job was on a Fox drama calledTru Calling, about a mortuary attendant played by Eliza Dushku who could commune with the dead. He tried his hardest to get fired. He’d tell Dushku she was eating her way to cancellation, or stand up after a table read and say to the writer, “Great script, Karen,” and throw the script in the trash.
5. I once walked in on my grandparents making love...And that's why I don't eat raisins.
6. My brother has ADD, which is weird because he drives a Ford Focus. I told my brother that joke but he didn't laugh becuase he got distracted by my shoe strings.
7. I don't mean to be gross, but the only time it's good to yell "I have diarrhea" is when you're playing Scrabble because it's worth a shitload of points.
Thanks for reading. Watch the internet series Between two ferns if you havent already. Have a great day,

No comments:

Post a Comment