You're mine, Joey "Jaws" Chestnut. You're being stalked. You're mind is about to be played with. Your days at the top of your profession are numbered. Your ignominious throne is about to be snatched away.
I've booked my travel plans to participate for the first time in the Nathan's Famous Hot-Dog Eating Contest to be held on July 4th in Brooklyn, New York.
I'll fess up. I lack street cred in this arena. In one day I've had no more than six or seven hot dogs probably at some all-day college barbecue keg-fest back in the day. But one morning in 8th grade in one sitting I wolfed 32 pancakes without contracting a stomach ache. Considering these were the legit-sized flapjacks -- not the candy corn "silver-dollar" sized ones -- 32 was a rocking performance for any person of any age.
To out-glutton you, I know I have to shove about seventy in my pie hole faster than all the other contestants; you notched 68 to capture the crown last year. Nice work. I know you're the world's best at doing this. I've seen you on TV mashing the buns and wieners into your face, sipping some water to wash it all down grotesquely. I've seen your cheeks exploding as you rushed to get more in your mouth.
You're legit. Let's not discount that.
But I have that "it" factor when it comes to eating. I do junk food. Hot dogs are junk food. This is my ballpark.
In the past few weeks I've been warming up for the contest by microwaving a few Nathan's dogs for lunch and dinner. Occasionally I grill them. I like the taste of Nathan's dogs and contend they're juicier and more delicious than the national incumbent dog leader since the 1950s or so, Oscar Meyer.
Oscar Meyer dogs get a lot of hype but I believe are slightly overrated. I unleash that delicately because I have a college friend whose Dad back in the 1970s and 80s was an executive with Oscar Meyer at the corporate headquarters in Wisconsin. Plus he hung a cool Oscar Meyer hot dog balloon gizmo in his dorm room for four years. I value his friendship and don't mean to offend. But I have to say Nathan's dogs turn me on more. It may also be that a 12 pack of Oscar Mayer now cost about $42. Nathan's cost less, I conjecture, but can't confirm that.
When I arrive at the contest, I plan to seek you out, Joey "Jaws." Engaging in mind games can only help my chances of winning. I plan to trash talk, make you think that maybe you shouldn't even do this event anymore. I plan to point out the long-term health hazards of participating in one too many hot dog eating contests. Let's face it: It's not good for your body. As you cram 68 or more dogs and buns into your stomach, your stomach stretches way too much. It's unnatural behavior, like pulling your arm out of its socket on purpose and once it's out, bending it into a pretzel-shape.
During our conversation, probably during a lunch of a three or four hot dog eachs, I would remind you of your family, assuming you have one, and how they may be affected by you eating so many in front of 40,000 fans in attendance and millions on TV. They may be embarrassed by your prodigious talent. Have you ever considered their feelings? Or is this all about you? Your parents may be tacitly supporting you but deep down they cringe their son excels at something dubious. I plan to send you on a guilt trip about the whole event. My intent is for you to question what you're doing, re-examine your life and where it's headed, contemplate a different path. I want you to seriously consider whether being great at eating too many hot dogs too fast is noble or just plain gross.
My suspicion is I will create so much consternation in you that you will withdraw from the competition citing personal reasons. You will then write a book about the importance of finding yourself and not succumbing to the wishes of others. You will do TV interviews with Dr. Phil, Oprah and Montel Williams.
Meanwhile, I'll participate in the contest without having to worry about beating you, which means I will have a psychological edge heading in, and will only have to gobble a much more do-able 50 or, at most, 55. That's within reach for a lad who has wolfed 32 pancakes.
In less than four minutes I will get fifty down and be crowned the new world championship of hot dog eating. I'll be on the cover of the next morning's New York Times. ABC News will feature me on the 6 o'clock news. I'll be a star, what I've always sought in life.
On my drive home, I'll stop at McDonalds for a couple Big Macs and two large fries. I will wash that down with a High-C Orange Drink and a large chocolate shake.
Man I love McDonalds. They should sell hot dogs.