Although my mental prep seemed poised for victory, I wasn't prepared physically. My NYC diet of all-you-can-eat half-priced sushi and French toast has kept me in a shape, probably best described as an sagging water-balloon.
As the South Florida sun set, a golden maize hue on the horizon, one had to reflect on the corn eating championship. It was more than the usual competitive eating contest -- it had fights and forgiveness, despair and hope, bad behavior and magnanimity.
I have always relied on the kindness of strangeness, so 24 hours of shrimp cocktail, beer and whiskey in Indianapolis required a stumble to the dark side, with some nice folks along the way. As a city on the competitive eating circuit, Indy has often confounded me.
In 1968, as Washington, D.C. was overcome by riots, Ben's Chili Bowl not only stayed open, but served the rioters on one side and the police on the other, proving that chaos may reign in the streets, but chili brings only peace.
The Nathan's contest is the Tour de France, the Masters, and the Super Bowl rolled into a hot dog bun. I've been fortunate to be at the final table for a decade. Where can eating too many hot dogs get you?