Saturday, July 7, 2007

competitive eating: american pastime

"It was kind of hard to concentrate on my own stuff," said Erik Denmark, a challenger from Seattle, Washington. "I felt the emotion of the event."

Indeed! If I were back in Brooklyn, there's no way I would've missed the Nathan's Famous hot-dog eating contest in Coney Island. The world's best competitive eaters gathered at the home of the world's most... er, famous hot dog maker, in the scenic Coney Island National Historic District. And, as the IHT reports, it was a scene out of Rocky: an unknown young American, left, defeats the lean, mean, foreign 6-time defending world champion (right), restoring gluttonous glory to the true home of overeating. Even the other competitors (including super-cute Sonya "the black widow" Thomas, who ended 5th with 39 hot dogs) were overwhelmed by the historic clash of titans. Jo-ey!! Jo-ey!!

I've forwarded this article to some euro friends, because it has really brought out the nostalgia, and it's something that nobody here seems to understand. When I describe how last summer's Brooklyn bbqs were spectacles of proud overeating--to the point where it was difficult to actually get drunk despite being surrounded by dozens of our own crumpled beer cans--after which I inevitably ended up passing out with a stomach ache, I'm met with confused headshaking. I'm asked why anyone would do that. I'm like, "Whaddya mean why?"

On days like this, how can I ever hope to bridge le fracture transatlantique?

Maybe it's just the frustration of the July 4th bbq that I never had, but I can't help but pine for Brooklyn this morning. A day at the beach, a ride on the Cyclone, a view of the projects, and the tasty treat of watching human freaks eat 60+ hot dogs in 12 minutes. So damn American it hurts!

"Joey Chestnut: American Hero:" coming to cinemas in 2008.

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