July 3, 2004

A sport I would watch on TV

if this athlete was playing.
Sonya Thomas ... who weighs anywhere from 100 to 110 pounds depending on the contents of her stomach, ... is ranked No. 2 in the world by the International Federation of Competitive Eating. ... She routinely outgorges men four times her size. She hopes to do the same Sunday at Coney Island, where the contest will be televised live on ESPN. ...

The records Thomas holds are astounding. Eleven pounds of cheesecake in nine minutes. Nine pounds of crawfish jambalaya in 10 minutes. Eight pounds of turducken (chicken stuffed in a duck stuffed in a turkey) in 12 minutes. Forty-three soft tacos in 11 minutes. 167 chicken wings in 32 minutes. ...

Her body ... seems to place no limitations on her ability to eat. Thomas said her doctors examined her and found that her stomach is only slightly larger than normal. But her slight, skinny build may be one of her biggest advantages.

The prevalent theory in the competitive eating world is the "Belt of Fat" theory, which postulates that skinny people's stomachs can expand more easily because they are not corseted by the ring of fat that burdens the heavy eaters.

So, apparently, the fat on fat people keeps them from getting even fatter? Maybe that's why people regain their weight after they diet: they are in better condition to eat more. In any case, I'm going to TiVo this event: it seems like an exciting and amusing spectacle. Or am I supposed to disapprove of the waste of food or the celebration of gluttony and tie it to what's wrong with America and the SUV problem and that sort of thing? I'll leave that to somebody else.

I will just say: "turducken" is a very unfortunate word. Didn't the people who coined it notice the first four letters? As for the idea of stuffing one bird with another in order of size, why stop with the chicken? There ought to be at least two or three more birds that could be used. Once you accept the basic idea, shouldn't you run with it?

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