"St. Pete or Bust! 2000" story # 12

St. Petersburg, Florida           November 15, 2000

More than any other competitors, I hold a deep respect for the dedicated athletes of two main sports: free-diving and mass-quantity eating. Not to brag, but I'm pretty good at both. If there was a Bulk-Eating League of Contest Holders (BELCH), I'd be the starting dessert-back for the Florida Clogged Arteries. But there's not, so I came up with "Week of Gluttony."
     The original goal was to accept seven eating contests from restaurants and other people. The idea was if I won the contests, I'd eat for free for a week and get very, very sick in the process. As far as I know, a "Week of Gluttony" had never been attempted before - which means, if I succeeded, it would make me...the GREATEST ATHLETE OF ALL TIME!!!
     Entering the week, here were the stats for Justin "the Python" Breen:

Weight: 178 lbs. Money in wallet: $ 100
Times I've thrown up from eating too much: 1
...from drinking too much: 4 (after my Trini weekend)
Belly-button: outtie Happy or merry?: happy
Times I've exercised on purpose in two years: 0
# of chins: 1 Favorite war: the Crusades

The first challenge was Scrumpy's Restaurant for the Scrumpire State Burger. 40 oz. of beef, 17 oz. of cheese, six big hamburger buns, and a side order of french fries. The restaurant allowed me an hour and a half to finish the burger. I asked the waitress what the record time was.
     "25 minutes," she said.
     That's what I would be shooting for. A small entourage of friends had come to watch "Week of Gluttony's" first day, including that thorn in my side, Pansyckas. Rrrrgggghhhh! They started cheering as I grabbed the quintuple-cheeseburger's top two layers and tore them apart like a wolf. I finished in 5 minutes, then went on to the next two layers.
     "Good bite trajectory," Pansyckas said, as I took a big, sloppy munch. I finished these two patties in another 5 minutes, and I was way ahead of record pace.
     I started on the overflowing french fries. Pansyckas gave me a proud announcement of the time, and just then the two pounds of beef I'd sucked down hit me hard. In fact, it nearly came back up and out, but I clenched my mouth and held the burger in, as any heroic athlete would've done.
     But I slowed down my pace, and Pansyckas started riding me. "This is the time to separate the men from the boys, Justin," he said, motivating me to break the record.
     At the 25-minute mark, I still had half a burger and some fries left. Pansyckas was throroughly disappointed. "Some people just don't have the heart," he said, blatantly ignoring the fact that ten months ago he'd attempted to eat the Scrumpire State Burger and had struggled to finish even a THIRD of it.
     I clocked in at 37 minutes and received a round of cheers from everyone but Pansyckas.
     A few hours later, my stomach was so violently angry at me that I couldn't even sit upright. I layed down on my friends' couch and pondered my next day's challenge. Issued by Munch's restaurant, I had to eat a dozen eggs, 1 lb. of bacon, 27 pieces of bread, and 10 lbs. of home-fried potatoes.
     I thought about this too long and puked. It occurred to me that "Week of Gluttony" was going to be the most miserable week of my life or anyone's, so I decided to abandon it. It was a sad decision, but it might've saved my life. My dream of being the world's greatest athlete will have to wait for another day. For now, it's either Muhammed Ali or Michael Jordan. I'm no better than third.

But there was still one item on the "Week of Gluttony" agenda that I wanted to do. It was an eating contest with Jojo - half-basketball player, half-garbage disposal. To be exact, he's six feet, nine inches and 220 pounds of Swedish muscle. We went to a Chinese buffet, this time without Pansyckas.
     We piled up our first plate with egg rolls, chicken kebobs, sugar bread, chicken nuggets, and a mop of noodles. It was enough food to fill up most anybody. I ate quick, but when I was barely halfway finished I looked up and Jojo's food had already been devoured. I was beginning to worry, especially when he ate the plate.
     No, I'm just kidding, he didn't eat the plate. Instead, he filled it up with some rice, sweet-n-sour sauce, honey chicken, boneless ribs, pork, and lettuce. I caught up to Jojo and filled my plate up with the same. As we ate, the wily Swede tried to pull a fast one on me by saying, "Look, there's a hot girl over there!" and then scooping some of his food onto my plate. But I caught on to his little trick. The more I ate, the more the sweet-n-sour sauce reminded my throat of puking. But, I held it in and we were on to plate 3.
     60 pineapple cubes, 20 melon triangles, and 15 peach crescents covered the plate. The sweet food was a welcome change for my tastebuds. Jojo joked, "If it looks like I'm going to lose, I might just fake an injury and say something like, 'Aw, I bit my tongue!" But the fruit plate went down quickly.
     For some strange reason, I thought it was a good idea when Jojo said next, "Let's just get a whole plate full of rice." I agreed, and between the two of us we lumped about six pounds of rice onto our plates. The restaurant's other diners gave us an angry look, because we'd hogged enough rice for twenty people. We started eating. The bland white rice tasted like mush, with my stomach in the shape it was in. We ate and ate and ate, but the rice was like an overwhelming fog that seemed to actually be expanding. Jojo and I also realized that no matter how big of a mountain was on the other guy's plate, it looked like nothing compared to the one we had to eat. We'd reached the point where we were seeing mirages. After 25 minutes of eating spoonful after spoonful of mush, we'd survived plate 4.
     Next came the "elimination" plate. We each were going to pick half of the fifth plate, with the intent of picking a food the other person didn't want. I went to the meat section, picked up some tongs, and tried to lift a ten-pound roast onto my plate. Ha, ha, but I was only kidding when I did that. I went to the desserts to get ice cream and strawberries, while Jojo selected five sugar breads. We sat down. First, we ate strawberries. We could feel the food piling up in our stomachs and nearly reaching our throats. Luke, an eager watcher of the contest, said, "You have to put on your game face." I took his advice and started psyching Jojo out by saying, "Oh, boy, another sugar bread!" I took a two-sugar bread lead, while Jojo rested his head in his hands. Just as I said for the fourth time, "Oh, boy, another sugar bread," Jojo admitted defeat.
     Woohoo! I'm the champion!!! David slew Goliath! The margin of victory: merely two sugar breads. Jojo and I shook hands. There would be no shame, for we knew we'd taken place in a truly heroic contest of athleticism.

Making the smooth segue from food to girls, I'm reminded that every week has to have a date, even "Week of Gluttony." The only problem with "Date of the Week" X was that it followed Jojo and my contest by only two hours. I still felt like I had a car engine in my stomach. My date was Patti, a half-Colombian, half-Spaniard with (my favorite) frizzy hair. I was going to have to try hard to take heed of MODERN ODDYSEUS' DATING ADVICE # 10 - Don't puke on your date.
     On our way to the beach, with every bump that Patti's car took, I felt myself coming closer and closer to needing to puke. We arrived at the beach with a wiffleball and bat, ready for a friendly night game of baseball. Patti pitched to me. She hadn't played a lot of baseball before, but what she lacks as a pitcher she makes up for in hustle. She's a hustler. I swatted a triple off of her, and she chased me all the way to third base, where I started to feel the egg rolls from my first plate of dinner wanting to climb from of my mouth. The game had to be stopped then and there, or else third base was going to be marked by a puddle of Chinese food.
     So, Patti and I chatted, but unfortunately our conversation wasn't on the same page. What did Patti want to talk about? Food. Chinese food, Indian food, food made out of sand... It took most of my power to keep from getting sick. "That wouldn't have been too romantic," I told Patti. She agreed...then started talking about some other food. A fitting end to the first, and hopefully last, "Week of Gluttony."

Final stats:

Weight: 181 lbs. Money in wallet: about $ 50
Times I've thrown up from eating too much: 2
Eating contests won by me: 2 ...won by Pansyckas: 0
Animal I'd most like to have for a pet: zebra
Job I'd most like to have: pope
When I'll next eat rice: 2009 ?
...ice cream: tomorrow morning
Best Athelete Ever?: "the Python"

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