Burt Prelutsky

By this time, the entire civilized world knows that Mr. Takeru Kobayashi, 27, has pulled off the near-impossible feat of winning his sixth consecutive Coney Island hot dog eating contest. I have no idea how one goes about training for this event, and I suspect I wouldn’t want to know, but I’m pretty darn sure that steroids play no part in it. For that alone, the man is to be commended.

The only thing comparable that springs to mind is Lance Armstrong’s string of Tour de France victories. But I think that even if Mr. Armstrong is innocent of all those blood-doping charges that blood-doping losers keep bringing up, his accomplishment pales by comparison to Kobayashi’s.

After all, how many adults do you know who still ride bicycles? But everybody eats. And a great many of us eat hot dogs. But how many do you think you could eat in one sitting? Maybe three? Let’s say you starved yourself for a day or two. Think you could maybe down four or five? The great Kobayashi devoured slightly more than 53 in 12 minutes, and that included buns! That works out to about four-and-a-half per minute, or roughly one every 14 seconds. Truly, the mind boggles. To tell you the truth, just thinking about it makes my stomach do a little boggling.

Kobayashi, who weighs a mere 160 pounds—although I don’t know if that’s his before or after weight—is no one-trick pony. Once, in order to win a $25,000 prize, he put away 17.7 pounds of pan-seared cow brains. I’m not aware if there was a time limit on that occasion. I’d say if he managed to do it in less than 10 years, he more than earned his money.

Aside from being a human garbage disposal, Takeru might be a very nice fellow for all I know, but you invite this guy for dinner, and it could blow your food budget for the next six months. You don’t worry about his asking for seconds; his firsts will clean out your refrigerator and whatever’s hanging around in your pantry.

Apparently, food-eating contests have become a big deal while I wasn’t paying attention. For instance, Kobayashi had a real fight on his hands from an up-and-comer named Joey Chestnut. He wolfed down 52 hot dogs to run a close second. And if you’d been smart enough to put your money on Joey who was, according to the bookies, a four hot dog underdog, you’d have cleaned up.