No Kobayashi? Then No 4th of July
Takeru Kobayashi, the man who held the world record for hot dog eating for six years, has announced that he may not compete in the annual July 4th hot dog eating contest on Coney Island. The only reasonable solution? Cancel the 4th of July.
I have had the opportunity to see Kobayashi eat in person, and it’s quite a sight. He’s known as “The Tsunami”, which despite being wildly insensitive to the people who regularly get killed by tsunamis, is a pretty fitting name. He’s fast, destructive, and terrifying to watch. When Kobayashi eats a hot dog, you’re never entirely certain that he won’t take a finger with it. He pairs up two dogs at once and then pushes them conveyor belt style into his mouth, chomping all the way. I’m sure he’s lost rings down there, countless fingernails, probably a wrist watch or two. And despite being Japanese, tiny, and an intruder into what is clearly our rightful domain of competitive eating – he’s as American as apple pie.
I ask you, what’s more American that shoving disgusting amounts of food down your face in as short as time as possible? Sure, the Star Spangled Banner is our national anthem, but it really only sounds right when sung with a ho-ho and half a box of goobers in your mouth. The United States was a country born on freedom and independence, but we were raised on melted cheese and deep-fried funnel cake. Takeru exemplifies this as well as anyone. He was not a born eater. He’s slender and surprisingly short. He had to learn to be a pig, slowly working his way up through long training and strenuous workouts. Kobayashi wasn’t given what you and I take for granted: a natural ability to stuff our faces to the brink of sickness. He saw what we had and said, “That is what I work for. That is my destiny.” If that’s not the American Dream, I don’t know what is. And we’re supposed to celebrate our Independence Day without him? I don’t think so.
Not impressed? Well, here’s a video of Kobayashi in a hot dog eating contest with…a bear.
I’d like to see George Washington do that. It’s unknown why Kobayashi would skip the Coney Island challenge this year, but rumors are it’s over his appearance fee. Which frankly is a little hard to believe – I mean, the guy eats hot dogs for a living, how lavish could his demands really be? In any case, I’ve got two words for Nathan’s, the hot dog institution that runs the contest: pay him. Pay whatever it takes because it will not be the 4th of July without The Tsunami doing his thing. The fireworks won’t have the same pop, the grill won’t have the same sizzle, and the beer won’t have the same blinding intoxication. Because I was wrong in what I said before. Kobayashi isn’t as American as apple pie – he’s as American as 50 apple pies eaten in under a minute. That is America. Don’t let us down, Nathan’s…