I was shocked and disheartened when I heard the news yesterday that you would most likely not be competing this Fourth of July in Nathan’s International Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island. Some of our readers may not know this, but that event is the apex of competitive eating. It is to eating what the Super Bowl is to football or what the World Cup is to soccer. And you are its star. In 2001, you put away 50 hot dogs in 12 minutes, beating the previous world record by a whopping 25 hot dogs. You are a six-time champ—that’s more wins than anyone else in the history of this “sport” (since the event is broadcast on ESPN, I’m cool with referring to it as a “sport” as long as I can keep the quotes around it). And it’s not just hot dogs. You have gone on to win competitive eating contests featuring hamburgers, pizzas, lobster rolls and just about anything you can put in your mouth.
So when The International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE) Executive Director George Shea told the press that they had reached “an impasse” in your contract negotiations, which will most likely not be resolved by July 4…my heart sank. What made the news especially devastating was that this announcement came close on the heels of your fellow countryman and world masturbation champ Masanobu Sato’s decision not to participate in this year’s Masturbate-a-thon.
Think of how this will effect all the Asian American youth who look up to the two of you as role models. These kids see so few examples of Asian men excelling at any “sport.” But thanks to you and Mr. Sato, they were finally able to dream that one day they too could be the best in the world…at eating hot dogs or masturbating. Now, the dreams of countless young Asian Americans are in danger of being crushed. Or to use a metaphor you may be more familiar with—those dreams are in danger of being swallowed, digested, pooped out and flushed down the toilet of oblivion. How can you sleep at night knowing you’d be responsible for that?
I’m not saying this is true or that I agree with it, but rumor has it that you are deliberately sabotaging your own contract negotiations so you won’t have to compete in this year’s contest. And why would you do that? Because for the last three years, you got your ass whooped by American Joey “Jaws” Chestnut. Hell, Chestnut even beat you in a wonton-eating contest in Singapore last month. Wontons, for Christ sakes! That’s like a white guy beating an Asian at kung fu or calculus. Not only that, but there is also fierce competition from rising star “Humble” Bob Shoudt, who is a devout vegetarian but is somehow cool with eating meat for these competitions (yeah, I don’t get it either). You may no longer be the best and people are saying you’re afraid of losing and tarnishing your legacy. So in order to save face, you are intentionally fucking up your negotiations so you won’t have to compete and risk failure.
Again, I don’t care if any of this is true or not, but what’s important is this—are you going to do something about it?! Are you going to be a little girlie pussy and quit or are you going to get back in there and fight? Look deep in your heart stomach and I bet you already know the answer to that. You know you can be the hot dog underdog comeback kid and reclaim your title!
Look, I know you’re afraid. I know you’re asking yourself if you still have the magic. Well, I’m making a pledge to support you. I’m going to help you by volunteering to be…your coach. Here’s what we’re going to do. First, play this so you get in the proper mood:
July 4 is coming up pretty fast so we don’t have much time. You will need to move in with me asap so we can do some non-stop training. We’re basically going to plant ourselves on my living room couch and while I’m watching CNN and the Playboy Channel, you’re going to eat hot dogs like you’ve never eaten hot dogs before. You are going to eat hot dog after hot dog and if you start to weaken or give up, I’m going to zap you with the cattle prod my last girlfriend left behind. I’m going to condition you like Pavlov’s dog so you won’t dare stop eating hot dogs for fear of getting zapped.
But it won’t be all tough love. I will also provide the appropriate amount of inspiration on an “as-needed” basis. During boring commercials, I will scream inspiring words at you like, “Just one more wiener. Just put one more wiener in your mouth! Think of all the people suffering in the Gulf. Do it for them!” I’ll even write beautiful and awesome haiku poems to keep you motivated:
Hot dog on my plate
Tease me with your tender bun
I devour you
And if you get back in there and actually win, think of what it could mean not only to you, but those Asian American youth who look up to you. Kids like little Billy Chen of Arcadia, California, who, inspired by you, bet his white classmates that he could eat more McDonalds hamburgers than any of them. Little Billy Chen who handily beat his competition by eating a dozen burgers in about as many minutes and spent the next few hours vomiting and had to go to the hospital to get his stomach pumped, but for whom, it was all worth it.
So don’t let us down, Tsunami. My couch, my cattle prod and my haikus eagerly await your call. This is going to be one sausage fest I’ll be happy to partake in. Let’s do this!