Professional eating (and I don’t mean my own overeating efforts…)

I’m going through one of those classic bad behavior cycles as a result of stress. “What stress,” you ask? Well, I’m in no mood to be too confessional, but it mostly has to do with work and, when I think about it, it is mostly “success stress,” if that makes sense. There are issues with potential positive changes with jobs and/or moves to different places, there’s a bunch of stuff I need to do to stay afloat with my teaching, I’ve got various reports and paperwork to write, meetings and more meetings, etc., etc. Like I said, none of this is bad (it’s not like I’m worried about being laid off or fired or something), but good things can make you stressed out, too.

My “coping” mechanism is not taking care of myself (eating too much and eating badly, not getting enough sleep, etc.), which in turn makes me more stressed out, so I take even worse care of myself, which makes me gain weight, which makes me even more stressed out, etc.

I should probably stop that, shouldn’t I?

But that’s not really the reason for this post. The reason is some interesting stuff I’ve stumbled across about professional eating.

Victor at “Steamed Rice”
seems to share my fascination with this “sport,” and he’s actually done the work of collecting a lot of links and even some reporting on a grilled cheese sandwich contest in the Los Angeles area and on the controversy surrounding a chicken wing eating contest. There are a lot of links on his site, and he has a category called “Gluttony and Food” where most of this stuff shows up. Great site.

I doubt I’ll have time in this life to do it, but at one point, I was contemplating an attempt at writing a novel that had professional eating as the backdrop to the action of the book. Professional eating is such a bizarre and fascinating thing to me, a perfect metaphor for contemporary times. I mean, this is taking one of the original “seven deadly sins” and turning it into a virtue, a contest, and (inexplicably) a sport. For some reason, all the top competitive eaters are thin and Asian (the guy who is considered the best competitive eater in the world is from Japan) and not the big fat slobs you would expect. This would add an “international intrigue/nationalist spin” to the book, I think.

Anyway, I just think it has the makings of a very funny and strange novel. Maybe I’ll write it, but if you are reading this and want to beat me to it, feel free….

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