Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Susan B. and Joey C.

Yesterday in Coney Island, Joey Chestnut rose (or sat) to the occasion once again.  Mr. Chestnut captured his fifth consecutive Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.  Lucky man.  He scarfed down sixty-two of them in ten minutes.  For that he won $10,000.  As Chestnut himself acknowledged afterwards, "Listen I'm getting paid to eat.  It's not too bad a life."  What a country; eh? 

I cannot even feign criticism of Chestnut or his ilk.  His point is well-taken.  Obesity is a problem across racial, economic and social lines all over America.  Yet on our nation's birthday, there is a televised event starring "athletes" who jam as many saturated mushy amalgams of lumped up bun and wiener into their mouths as they can within a ten-minute time period.  And funnier still, it is an event that is televised on ESPN.  Gorging as a sport?  You bet

This year, proving that gluttony is an equal opportunity pastime the good folks from Nathans put on a separate contest for the fairer sex.  The inaugural edition was won by the favorite Sonya Thomas (a/k/a as "The Black Widow" because "The Wiener Inhaler" is just an inappropriate nom de guerre on so many levels).  Thomas beat 2009 Rookie of the Year Juliet Lee and Stephanie Torres by eating 40 hot dogs, one short of her record. Lee and Torres each ate 29. Lee grabbed a six hot dog lead at the midpoint until Thomas stormed back.  Further promoting gender equality, Nathan's paid $10,000 to Thomas for winning the women's competition.  Equal indigestion mandates equal compensation. 

For a day at least, New York City became Suffragette City.  Once upon a time earlier in his career, David Bowie was known as The Thin White Duke.  Just in case you were wondering, he was not spotted anywhere near Coney Island yesterday.  Smart man that Mr. Bowie.  And a Brit too.  Hmmmm....

-AK

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