>The phone rang at ten to midnight. When the answering machine picked up before I did, my mom's voice filled the living room.
"Nothing to worry about. But I was excited and wanted to tell you..."
I picked up the phone and cut her off. "Hi. What's up?"
"Oh, your dad and I were watching some weird channel on cable that plays home videos. The one on TV was of the hot dog eating contest, and we saw Scott [brother-in-law] and then we saw you!"
"That must be the South Street Seaport qualifying round in 2005," I laughed. I'm sure this was extra exciting to watch on their new-ish flat panel TV. I ate 6.5 hot dogs in 12 minutes, earning me the unofficial title of Best Female Eater in the South Street Seaport Qualifying Round. (The only other woman, a bailiff, could only choke down five hot dogs.) More impressive, I stood next to Eric "Badlands" Booker, a champion eater who sprayed me with bits of wet bun as he consumed his winning quantity of food. If it played in HD, I bet they would have seen that.
My mom told me that the voice over gave all of the non-famous eaters fake names. I was named as June, but I forgot the fake last name. I also forgot the name given to Scott, but he was described as "Blah Blah, a future shingles sufferer," which I found odd and creepy.
The funny thing is that this is not the first time I have been randomly spotted on TV eating hot dogs. The same summer I entered the South Street Seaport contest, I also ate at the West (East?) Hartford, CT qualifier. MTV used that event as part of their documentary, "Real Life: I'm a Competitive Eater." Since I stood near celebrity eater Tim "Eater X" Janus, I made it into the show.
I "retired" from competitive eating attempts that same summer. It seems that my method of eating, which I called the rabbit method because it involved constant nibbling down of food, was not only ineffective, but that the absolute elastic capacity of my stomach is 6.5 hot dogs. While I managed to consume Sno Caps after the Connecticut attempt, I did not do so well after the Seaport, and decided that it was not worth branching out into other foods. Since the party's over for me, it's nice to know that both of my attempts to break into competitive eating are well documented, even if not in my own name.