Tuesday, April 18, 2006
The Triumph of Professor Peeps
So I get this email about a week ago from a friend of mine. One of his buddies organizes a Peep eating contest every year after Easter. This year would be the 4th annual event and he wanted to know if I'd like to come along. The rules were pretty simple: Enter with $20, you have 20 minutes to eat as many Peeps as you could, you then had 15 minutes where you could not throw up. If you made it to the end, the person with the most Peeps down is the winner.
I actually like Pink Peeps, I've had the Yellow ones and I really don't dig the taste that much, but I told him: "I'll go, but I'm going to enter as well.". Now for anyone who knows me, entering an eating contest of any kind is simply not something I would ever do, but something about this one sounded good to me. I was confident I could eat at least 40 and maybe even 50. I was told, however, that the two time champion "Sgt. Peepers" set the record last year with 75. That would be tough to beat.
So, last Friday my friend Kanabul and I bought about 40 Peeps and began experimenting on how to win. We tested them in water and in soda and then came upon a breakthrough: Vinegar. See, there were two main problems that we could see. First was that the Peeps had an insane amount of sugar in them and the second was that they tasted awful. The sugar problem was so far unsolvable but the taste problem was countered by the vinegar for some reason. With the right ratio of vinegar and water we were able to neutralize the taste. The sugar was another issue.
See, ingesting all that sugar and marshmallow was bound to make you throw up at some point. We were warned that 100% of the entrants threw up either during or right after the competition. We needed a way to counter the sugar and a way to counter the effects of the marshmallow. Enter the blender. Against the wishes of my girlfriend, Kan and I put our vinegar mixture into the blender with about 10 Peeps. We set it to Liquify and gave it whirl. What came out was not appetizing at all. Back to the drawing board. We started brainstorming...What is the opposite of sweet? We wondered. And then it hit us: Sour! Back to the blender was a mixture of water and lemon juice and Peeps. Out came a thick, creamy Lemonaide drink. Kind of like an Orange Creamcicle but with Lemons instead. We had our solution.
So, to the event we went yesterday with a box full of supplies. I had mixed the lemon juice into two bottles with food coloring so my mixtures would look mysterious. I also had a big beaker thing that I was using to drink out of and mix with. That and the blender and a bottle of water and "Professor Peeps" was ready to rock.
I was the only one using a non-traditional (ie. Not stuffing my face) method and in a way I felt a bit bad, but innovation is the key to progress and the judges agreed that my method was totally cool. Since I was blending I didn’t need to ingest anything right away (pointed out by another friend of mine) so when the event started I just chilled and filled up the blender, grinding away 5 peeps at a time. I stopped after 60 had made it into the blender and poured it into my beaker so I could drink it at the opportune moment. 16 more Peeps went into the blender as a backup reserve.
It was chaos at the event. Everyone was screaming and yelling and taking photos. There was a fair amount of yelling at me for having my blender but there was also a fair amount of people supporting me as well. Most everyone was waiting to see what I would do next. One of the most common things I heard at this point was something like "Well, he still has to drink it!" which was a good point since the most I'd drunk was 10 Peeps during our test. I had no idea what 60 would do to me.
So one of my friends yelled out that there were 7 minutes left. At that point, the most I could tell that the others had eaten was about 40 so I felt like I was going to win. I picked up the beaker. Everyone, including the other contestants turned to look at me. All I heard was "Oh my God! He’s going to drink it!" I started drinking away to choruses of "Ugh!" and the like. I was committed so I just kept chugging away. I got half done and took a small break. It was great. People were convinced at that point I'd made a horrible mistake and would puke right there and then. But I was totally fine. I went back for gulp #2. As I finished it, people were amazed and I was the new leader with 60 Peeps down.
To be honest, at that point I felt pretty good. I didn't think I was going to throw up at all so I sat back and waited for the clock to stop and the 15 minute waiting period to begin. I looked up and asked for a time check and guess what? 11 minutes to go! My friend was off by 5 minutes and I was fucked. I wasn’t sure I could last that long. The plan was to finish my gulp right at the buzzer. I got nervous a bit and sat back to think and see how I felt. About 3 minutes later I felt something coming up. And then it did. A huge belch. And then another, and then another. Ahh! I was ready to rock again.
I looked around and saw some folks catching up to me so I said to myself : "Fuck this. I'm either going to win or loose horribly" so I grabbed the blender again. People all went crazy: "He's going for more!" was all I heard. I poured the rest into the beaker and gulped it down. 76 Peeps in my belly. I sat back and immediately realized that I had made a very grave mistake. At this point everyone was going crazy. One contestant had grabbed my beaker and thrown up into it, the crowd was calling for my blender to be filled with puke and one or two wanted them to puke on me instead. The crowd was going crazy and all I cold do was sit there and calm myself and not allow myself to get anymore sick than I was at that moment. I was convinced I was going to loose it and look like a fucking moron.
And then the clock stopped. If I could hold on for 15 more minutes I was going to not only win but set the record. About 30 seconds later with everyone convinced I was going to loose it (I probably looked miserable and white as a ghost), I stood up and burped again, and again, and again. That made me feel a bunch better and although I felt like shit, I knew that if I threw up, it would be a complete surprise to me. And then came the cigars. 3 guys with huge cigars headed to the table and started blowing the smoke at us, me in particular it seemed. This was going to be hard.
The crowd was growing restless. They would take any movement or look as evidence that someone was going to loose it, and some did. Most all of them used my damn beaker. At the 5 minute mark, one of the girls behind me grabbed my shoulders and started vigorously shaking me. "Puke Dammit!!". I stood up (not a good idea when your belly was filled with 3 liters of Peeps and Lemon Juice) and grabbed the puke filled beaker and menacingly held it near her. I honestly couldn't speak. I was convinced if I'd opened my mouth I would indeed loose it entirely. There was a story of this happening last year where a contestant opened his mouth and spontaneously projectile vomited a stream of fluorescent yellow liquid which bounced off of something and flew backwards over his shoulder and covered his girlfriend. I had no idea how much time was left (in me and on the clock) so I sat back down and began to tune everything out. Soon I heard "2 minutes to go" and I knew I was going to win. I started counting in my head to 120. Then I heard the announcer say "and the unofficial countdown begins now! 10-9-8…." And the crowd joined in.
Now I was worried. Was he trying to trick me in some way? Why was the countdown "Unofficial"? When they got to 0 and he called me the winner I was skeptical. I was convinced he wanted me to loose it right there and then he was going to say "1 minute to go". I wasn’t until my friend Anthony (a contestant and judge) shook my hand and gave me the winnings that I knew for sure.
And then it was time to puke. There was a tradition that on the road behind the bar, everyone purged themselves into a huge swamp of Peeps. I walked over to it and couldn't do it. I guess I had spent so much time meditating that I wasn't going to throw up that now I couldn't. But I needed to. I was really full and I felt miserable. So I leaned over and gave it my best shot. After about 3 tries it came out. In two huge events my stomach was cleared out. The second one was so strong I fell over and almost into it. I had to brace myself my grabbing the ground. After that was over I laid on the back in the street and relaxed.
When I looked back, my puke wasn't yellow at all, it was all clear. I'm not a chemist or doctor, but the blending and the lemon juice made a huge difference in how my body delt with it. I'm sure they will ban the blender next year but Professor Peeps will again use science to beat all comers. Prepare for the defending champion to come kick some ass next year!
Seems like there are others out there as well.
Update: Here is some other press on my victory.