OK, with all the talk about fasting, I have to tell this story. For a more serious post on fasting, click here.
In my freshman year of college, my roommate, Cres, and I got into a competitive spirit about eating. Who could eat the most? As we bragged about our appetites, I added a new layer of challenge. I could really out-do him in fasting.
So, we set up this challenge, to see who could go the longest without food. I don’t remember how long we went; it must have been a couple of days. And for all I know, he cheated. How could we check up on each other?
I knew he could eat more than I could. He was a couple of inched taller than I, and about 20 pounds heavier. I was just skinny. Maybe that’s why I threw down the challenge of fasting. I thought I had a chance there.
As it turned out, we were both starving after a couple of days, so we agreed to break the fast together. The fasting challenge would be a draw, and the eating contest would determine the winner. What a stroke of genius! Break a fast with an eating contest. Of course the perfect spot for that is a pizza buffet. On a Friday night we sat down at the Pizza Hut on University Parkway in Winston-Salem.
That pizza was so good! We went slice-for-slice until I began to slow down, around slice 14. I finally stuffed 17 slices into my empty stomach. I went light on the beverages to allow more room for food, of course. Unfortunately, my gluttony was no match for Cres’s. He ate 23 slices, and had a little lasagna to go with it. I had to concede defeat. He had blown me away at the buffet.
But I didn’t really lose. Later that night we both experienced the pleasures associated with over-eating. For the first time I understood the Alka-Seltzer commercial, when the guy says, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing…” I felt bad, but Cres crouched like an old man and made no sudden movements. His facial expression never changed: part grin, part grimace. Our suite-mates thought it was hysterical.
We both learned something. I learned that winning isn’t everything, in some cases. Cres learned that winning with only 18 slices would have felt a whole lot better. When it stopped hurting so much, we laughed at ourselves.
We never again challenged each other to an eating contest. I don’t think there was a real winner.