Tommy’s At 60: The Six Sixty-Cent Chili-Cheese Chiliburger Cheeseburger Challenge
Note from the editor: We sent Intern Shane to Tommy’s yesterday with explicit instructions: Eat six of the 60-cent Chiliburgers on Tommy’s 60th Anniversary, Shane. Sixty-cent sixpack.
Telling many of my friends of the assignment given by the taskmasters at losanjealous prompted a liberal number of “!” and “?” filling my chat windows. Yes, I am to eat six Tommy’s burgers in celebration of their 60th anniversary.
On my approach to the sacred shack, I find a few ambulances lazily patrolling the perimeter. I find this comforting.
The scene: Organized chaos. Two news vans with satellite dishes at full extension, live mariachi bands, decent crowd control by the LAPD. Oh yeah, and of course, the line.
You’d think they were giving out Nintendo Wii’s. It took me about two minutes to actually get to the very end of the line at which point I nearly gave up hope of completing this assignment. Luckily, my photographer Rick was thinking straight.
Rick: Wait, we’re press! Isn’t there something we can do about this?
Me: Oh yeah. You’re right!
I took the two-minute walk back to the front of the line. Back to the shack. I finally found the guy in charge, Brent Maire, who was as crisp and clean as a 1950’s soda jerk.
Me: Hi! My name is Shane, and I am a food correspondent for losanjealous. How are you doing?
Brent: Great! What is your article about?
Me: … I have to eat six chiliburgers.
Me: No really, I’m serious.
Brent: Done. Where do I send them?
After I find a place to stand and prepare myself, Brent hand-delivers my six chiliburgers. He gives a knowing smile, shows me the way to unlimited beverages and says “good luck.”
A Tommy’s burger is a beautiful thing indeed. Delicately balanced with just the right amount of meat, chili, cheese, onions, pickles, tomatoes, mustard and bread; eating one is like handling a baby jellyfish filled with chili-cheese goodness.
I decided to take this challenge as fast as possible before my stomach knew what kind of punishment I was inflicting upon it. And so it goes. I finished the first and second burgers in under 10 minutes’ time. My photographer Rick let out a “wow”. I kept going onto the third. Things were going good until midway I started to feel “it.” I ignored my body’s safety warnings and forged ahead. After washing down the third burger with some tea, I took a breath. Bad idea. Suddenly I felt the gravity of what I was doing and had to hold onto the counter rail for support. I shook it off and started in on the fourth. After about the second or third bite, I felt the urge to vomit. It wasn’t a strong urge, but one that scared me.
I stopped and took a lap around the parking lot and did some stretching to try to squeeze some more room for food. I even loosened my tie. It helped; I was able to finish the last few bites of the fourth burger. I looked at the remaining two burgers in the box and let out a heavy sigh, not knowing if I was going to survive the ordeal. Gingerly, I lifted the fifth burger to my mouth and took a few bites, waited, then tapped out of the ring. I laid the remnants of the fifth burger on its paper shroud and prayed. I prayed for strength, for help and for courage to help me finish my task. Apparently, God was listening.
A random bystander came out of the woodwork and eyed my burger.
Random guy: Do you have any extra burgers?
Me: Well, I was supposed to eat it for an article…
Random guy: I tried to get one by cutting in line, but no one was buying it.
Me: Yeah, it’s a pretty long line. What was your name again?
Random guy: My name is Shane.
Ladies and gentlemen God has answered my prayers and sent me my burger-eating proxy. I handed him the last burger and shook on it to seal the deal. In five minutes flat, the last burger was gone.
The assignment finished, I found Brent to tell him the total tally. 4 1/2 burgers, or 5 1/2 by proxy. Smiling, he shook my hand and said I was crazy to even attempt such a feat. I agreed.
While stuffing his face, Proxy Shane said that Shane & Shane were sharing this burger with Jesus. After some thought, I would wholeheartedly agree.