Craig Purcell

It’s no wonder some other countries and political factions dislike us so much.

As Americans, we keep making it easier to do.

On April 19, Molly Schuyler, a 124-pound mother of four, devoured three 72-ounce steaks during a competitive eating contest at Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas.

And just to set the table accurately, the “meal” also consisted of three side salads, three rolls and three shrimp cocktails. 

The steakhouse offers the “72-ounce challenge” daily to anyone who can eat the steak, plus fixings, in under an hour. Schuyler’s food intake from the challenge tipped the scales at more than 13 pounds of steak, without adding in the sides. She wolfed it all down in 20 minutes, setting a world record.

There are so many things about this story that turn my stomach that I hardly know where to start.

My appetizer will be the topic of competitive eating.

“Look at us, rest of the world. We’re so affluent as a nation that people can sit down to eat three 72-ounce steaks if they wish. What do we do with the food that doesn’t get finished during these pointless contests? Throw it out, of course.”

Meanwhile in some poorer countries, competitive eating is actually a “survival of the fittest” contest—where sparse food supplies are rationed and only the strongest survive to be hungry another day.

Next, my entrée arrives in the form of calling the whole spectacle a sport.

Let me get this straight. If we change the consumption of excessive amounts of food to seeing how much alcohol we can rapidly consume, that’s called binge drinking, and that’s unhealthy. If we don’t dress up this all-out gluttony and a person begins taking part in episodes of rapid food consumption to deal with psychological or emotional issues, it is called binge eating and treated as a mental disorder. And that’s unhealthy.

Put the same people in sweats or t-shirts emblazoned with sponsor logos, and it becomes a sport.

Now, for dessert—we publicize these idiotic gastronomic games so the “civilized” world can see what we do solely for entertainment purposes. The story was posted on the CNN website, with accompanying video. I’m sure that groups like ISIS, al-Qaeda and even ad-Nauseum find our hilarious hijinks entertaining. Who doesn’t want to watch a woman rip away at a hunk of meat with all the etiquette of a vulture feasting on fresh roadkill?

We’re already recognized as one of the fattest countries in the world, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting that 34.9 percent of Americans are obese. That’s not just carrying a few extra pounds. Obesity generally refers to a person being 20 percent or more above his or her ideal body weight. Let’s stop celebrating these mass-calorie undertakings and let’s throw a big, fat blanket over this so-called “competition.”

I’m about to be sick.