THE BLOG
10/25/2013 10:52 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Is Twinkie the Kid a Zombie or a Vampire? By Crazy Legs Conti

I have kept the same heroes since the eighth grade and it has been a great month for my own personal hero worship. Those heroes are still active and working -- I read Billy Crystal's latest book about his trouble with turning 65, I watched a midnight screening of Arnold Schwarzenegger's Escape Plan, where he makes up for his 1980's grudge with Sylvester Stallone (like Arnold's goatee, the movie bristled with action), I saw my beloved Boston Celtics play a preseason game against the Brooklyn Nets (where many of my favorite Celtics now play). Next week, I will take in a reading of my favorite actor, Corey Feldman, as he presents his memoirs (Coreyography -- which, thanks to a Strand Bookstore reviewer's copy I read in one sitting. You might assume his writing is as flighty as his later roles in Meatballs 4, but you would be wrong. The book has the gravitas of his Stand by Me performance or the wishing well scene in The Goonies.). I will also hear my favorite band, The Tubes, play in Times Square. I have seen the Tubes over thirty times in thirty years, starting at EM Loews in Worcester, Mass in the eighth grade. A Deadhead could travel to hundreds of shows, but a Tubeshead has limited chances, as the northern Californian based rock-n-rollers don't play as many shows. I have a ritual that I present Fee Waybill with a bottle of Canadian Whiskey on stage. I have done this for the last decade of so, even after bass player Rick Anderson told me, "We don't drink as much as we use too. We kind of save the whiskey for holidays now." No matter, The Tubes have been the soundtrack to my life and any thanks I can give back is small compared to the joy their music has provided me. Former founding member, Michael Cotton is working on a Tubes documentary (check out www.thetubesproject.com) and I was interviewed for the film, but forgot to say that I've always thought, "The Tubes are the greatest band in the history of recorded music, why no one else knows this is beyond me?'

For a 42-year-old, the chance to return to the vivid emotions of a 16-year-old, does not come along very often. To have a month of my favorite team, band, and actors is a walk down childhood lane. That lane, however, was sprinkled with homemade pies and non-processed desserts. As I approach the world Twinkie Eating Championship at Tunica-Bally's Casino, I have no childhood memories to lean on regarding the yellow spongy crème-filled mini brick. I have eaten Twinkies competitively as an adult and not been kind to the Hostess iconic snack (I once joked that the ½ life of a Twinkie is seven years so I am still digesting the 30 I ate at K-Rock's radio station in Boston). I followed the bakery conglomerate's bankruptcy and the masses flocking to supermarkets to buy the last of the cupcakes and sponge cake that formed food memories of the consumers' childhoods. I had no such compunction, but was glad when the factory baked goods came back from the dead (hence the title of this post -- is it Twilight Twinkie or the The Walking Diet?) I consider Twinkie the Kid, the rooting tooting mascot of the space cake, to be someone I have dueled with on occasion. I bear him no ill will, but when challenged I will eat him to his hat, boots, and resilient crumbs.

I first ate Twinkies competitively at a Boston radio station, early in my Major League Eating career. I ate fifteen very fast to crush their intern, when the portly EMT said he could do better. I ate the next 15 just barely faster than the EMT. I was on the radio station with guest Joe Millionaire who was one of the first reality show personalities and was there to promote an in-store appearance at Filene's Basement. I figured eating thirty Twinkies was the better gig. My dad picked me up in his pick-up truck and lit up a stogie. Somewhere along Route 2, I urged him to pull over. In an industrial complex parking lot, I threw up a mass of foamy yellow that looked like the soufflé come to life in Woody Allen's Sleeper. I am pretty sure that yellow biodome is still there. I also ate Twinkies as my stunt to qualify for Wing Bowl in Philadelphia. Wing Bowl is run by two cantankerous radio hosts and is held the Friday before the Super Bowl, as a conciliation rally (of drunkard and strippers) for the Eagles. I describe Wing Bowl, as as close as one can get to the apocalypse without it being the actual apocalypse. I ate twenty-five Twinkies in five minutes and one of the hosts called it, "one of the greatest Wing Bowl eating stunts in history." I also quaffed Twinkies for charity at the now defunct dive bar Red Rock West. Nearly the 20th Twinkie in, my then girlfriend tried to rub my belly for help, but she was rebuffed by the giant bouncer. Twinkie eating is apparently is a solo journey. All these attempts were dunking (in coffee or water) and at the world championships dunking is ver botten. The only time I haven't dunked Twinkies was at an impromptu pro-am contest at the single sailor lounge at Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan. However, each team had to open the Twinkie boxes and remove each individually wrapped Twinkie from the plastic. Trying to remove the plastic from a Twinkie, while one's hands are covered in Twinkie mush is like trying to hot wire a bomb while wearing oven mitts. At Bally's Tunica Casino, the Twinkies will be naked as the day they were molded.

Will all this childhood nostalgia help me or hurt me when I face the yellow foam and white filling? Will I be able to channel a 16 year's old dream of all the Twinkies one can eat and no vegetables? Black and Red aren't the only colors you can bet on at Bally's Tunica this weekend -- me? I'm putting it all on Yellow.

Crazy Legs Conti can be reached at www.crazylegsconti.com where he has a spare ticket to The Tubes for Corey Feldman.

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