Welcome to Big Old Goofy World . . . a place where I can share my thoughts, hopes, and dreams about this rock that we live on and call home.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Someday . . . Competitive Eating

Summertime and the cooking is fine!  I imagine that most people would not equate a hotdog as fine eating, but in the summertime a charred hotdog off the grill is a delicacy.  At least it is around the Keener household for a few of us.  Nothing beats an ice cold beer and hotdog at a baseball game.  Nothing beats a hotdog off the grill at home.  ‘Tis the season for hotdogs!

Like any kid growing up, I dreamed of being famous someday.  I thought about sports but . . . was lousy at batting in baseball and you have to be able to hit the baseball once in a while to make it to the pros.  Never gained enough weight and bulk to play football.  Basketball . . . couldn’t dribble well enough.  And, besides, less than two percent of kids ever make it to the pros . . . I was firmly in the 98 percentile.  Because of this realization I knew that I would never be famous in sports.  The search went to other areas of life . . . scholastically, nope—not smart enough . . . artistically, nope—I can barely draw a straight line . . . musically—stop laughing!  Just because I cannot carry a tune in a bucket doesn’t mean I couldn’t be musically talented—but I am not.  Acting . . . nope! 

So, I pretty much gave up the idea of ever being famous until I reached middle age.  It was sometime in middle age that I discovered something that I was semi-good at—eating.  Been doing it all of my life.  I eat with the best of them that I know . . . or at least it seems that way.  I can stay at any table with anyone when it comes to eating most anything . . . except chicken.  I draw the line at chicken.  The wife saturated me with chicken for years and then one day, I woke up, and couldn’t stand chicken anymore . . . unless it is deep fat fried with the skin on.  A “no no” according to the wife . . . a heart attack waiting to happen.  I gave up on chicken.

Awhile back I heard of a new sort of competition called “competitive eating”.  Basically competitive eating is just a bunch people who get together to see who can eat the most of a particular food.  There I go . . . something I could do.  I can eat and with a little practice I probably would do quite well . . . maybe even become famous.  The only question was –which food.  Well, I knew it wouldn’t be chicken.  Then it dawned on me—hotdogs!  I love hotdogs and can eat more than my fair share at one sitting.  Again, with a lot of practice I probably could compete with the best of them.  Shoot, on a good day I could probably eat three, maybe four, hotdogs at one meal.  Sounds competitive to me.

 Turns out it was nothing but a pipedream.  Pictured above is Joey Chestnut.  Joey Chestnut won his sixth (in a row) world championship of eating hotdogs today at the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating World Championship on Coney Island today.  In winning his sixth straight title he consumed 68 hotdogs in ten minutes.  Sixty-eight hotdogs in ten minutes tied his world record.  I’m impressed . . . especially when I compare it to my four hotdogs in an hour.  The man is a hotdog eating machine; I am a rookie . . . a big rookie.  He is way out of my league.  He beat his nearest competitor by sixteen hotdogs.  That is two packages of hotdogs!  Again, I am impressed. 

This information killed my dream of being a competitive eater.  When I was thinking about becoming a competitive hotdog eater I was thinking along the lines of maybe . . . maybe . . . a package of hotdogs in about an hour.  I sure was not thinking about 68 hotdogs in ten minutes.  My tummy hurts just thinking about it.  I actually enjoy hotdogs too much to sacrifice the joy of eating one to a mindless scarfing of dozens upon dozens of them in a matter of minutes.  That is probably the downfall of my competitive eating career . . . a career that failed before it ever got started.  I like food for food’s sake—not honor and glory.

Which has brought me to a revelation . . . I am never going to be famous.  I am never going to be a superstar in sports or any other endeavor.  Especially when it comes to competitive eating.  I am just going to be an average person . . . nothing spectacular . . . just a common, everyday person just trying to get through the day.  And, for the most part, I am pretty much “okay” with that thought.  My tummy especially appreciates it once I gave up on the idea of being a world champion hotdog eater.  It is okay to be normal . . . to be average . . . to be like everyone else.  Except . . .

. . . except the competitive side of me still lingers in the background . . . whispering . . . “Go for something, anything!  Be a winner!”

After a couple of hotdogs the tummy knows that it is too big of a price to pay.  I already have a tough enough time with the southern expansion . . . eating way too many hotdogs would only add to it.  With that in mind, I jiggle the belly to Joey Chestnut and his hotdog accomplishment—salute!  I’ll stick to beating the local competition around the Keener table and claim the title for the millionth time in a row.  In the meantime I got a notice from my insurance company telling me my health plan has been canceled . . . something about hotdog consumption!  Imagine that!

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