Purge and Rally

March was an active month for parties -- St. Patrick's Day, March Madness, National Corn Dog Day. You didn't know there was a Corn Dog Day? Neither did I. A group of UCSD students did, however, and they invited me to their annual corn dog party. As I walked around the apartments across the street from campus looking for the party, I noticed several empty corn dog boxes and empty cases of beer -- found it.

I walked in and saw someone writing on a chalkboard. (Only at a UCSD party would you see a chalkboard.) On the board was a tally of how many corn dogs people scarfed. I saw that a few people had eaten eight. When a woman told me she was up to seven, I asked her how she could eat that many. "I'm pacing myself. I started at 1:00 this afternoon."

There was a crowd around the TV watching the college basketball finals and another crowd on the back balcony.

Plates stacked in the kitchen reminded me of a scene from a horror movie, as they were splattered with ketchup and mustard.

I met Jeremy Boyd, the host of the party. He told me they consumed 384 corn dogs the previous year and that Foster Farms sent him 700 this year. Because the distributor sent jumbo, honey crunch-flavored dogs, Boyd doubted the record would be broken. Boyd had a live web cam running so people across the country could view the event.

He told me Foster Farms sent the dogs for free and that parties were going on all over the United States and as far away as Australia.

As I read the nutritional information on an empty box -- at a quarter pound each, they packed 280 calories -- I heard someone say, "It's funny that so many vegetarians are here while we're eating these."

When I was handed a corn dog, I asked for the mustard, and Boyd informed me, "We've gone through seven jars of it, but only used four bottles of ketchup."

I told Boyd that I didn't know there was a Corn Dog Day. Not since fifth grade, anyway, when the school cafeteria served corn dogs on Tuesdays. He laughed and told me that he called Karl Strauss Brewery and asked them to donate 12 cases of their Endless Summer Light for the event. After confirming that it was a nonprofit event, the brewery told Boyd that for parties like this one, they could donate two bottles per person. When Boyd gave the brewery the head count, the person on the phone said, "Well, you're grad students. We'll make it 2.4 [bottles per person]."

When I heard that they'd have boxes of corn dogs left over, I suggested giving them to the homeless. A woman replied, "I don't think they'd want them. One year, it was Thanksgiving, and my friend was working in a bar. I went to bring her a dinner, and she had already left. As I walked out of the bar, I gave it to a homeless guy. He said, 'Well, thanks. But couldn't you just give me money?'"

I overheard someone mention a "triple double," which is rare in basketball, so I joined the crowd around the TV. Turned out he was referring to a person who ate ten corndogs, drank ten beers, and had ten servings of Tater Tots (about a hundred tots). I said, "Tater Tots? This is reminding me of elementary school." They ran out of the Tater Tots early in the day. One of the students suggested contacting Ore Ida for sponsorship of next year's party.

I asked, "Couldn't someone throw up eating all that?" I was told, "Dude, you have to purge and rally. It's happened before, but not today."

There was a fryer in the kitchen with a constant supply of dogs in it. There were also some in the oven and more on a grill. One woman said, "We have three methods to our cooking madness."

I'm told in years past, they were oven-baked only, but they borrowed the fryer this time. Jeremy says, "This is the only party you can come to, learn a trade, and leave the place employable." I said, "Yeah, if you want to work at Hot Dog on a Stick."

A guy named David Groppe showed up in a corn dog costume that he made. He offered to put it back on for me. "I bought a plunger for the top at Ace Hardware. I tried it on my head. I went to Upholstery Outlet and Buffalo Exchange for the materials. It was a couple days' work." He introduced himself to other partiers as "C-Dog." He said, "I might have to use this on Halloween and get [my girlfriend Suzanne] to be mustard."

As he walked through doors, C-Dog had to bend down to get through. Someone said he looked like a unicorn.

I went out to the front balcony to smoke a cigar and drink a beer. There was a view of the ocean, but it was chilly that night. I met a guy from India, and he was talking about mangoes. ("India doesn't grow good mangoes.") There were girls from Texas wearing cowboy hats. It was an interesting crowd.

I talked to a few girls about their tattoos and then asked their friend, who didn't have one, why she didn't have ink. "Why mess with perfection?" she said.

When I found out one woman was a lifeguard, I struck up a conversation with her about sharks. She told me, "When I was a junior lifeguard, we were out on our boards being trained, and we saw the dorsal fin of a shark. Some of the girls were crying. Not me, of course. We got our arms and legs on our boards and talked about what we should do. Someone said that sharks won't attack nonmoving targets, and if we can see the fin, we know it's not attacking. We all ended up deciding to paddle in. Real fast."

I asked a guy from Russia if he ever went back there. "Why would I? I'd rather go some place like Italy." He was having a conversation with someone about the best remedy for a hangover. The Russian guy's magic potion was a shot of vodka and pickle juice. Someone offered that greasy food worked wonders. Another suggested activated carbon pills but added that "they do strange things to my stool."

Crash your party? Call 619-235-3000 x421 and leave an invitation for Josh Board.

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