The challenge: one day at the State Fair, 10,000 calories. Go.
When I first heard of the infamous 10,000 Calorie Challenge on the news, I was intrigued. After taking in roughly 9,000 calories worth of fried candy bars and funnel cakes last year, I was confident in my abilities.
After a quick trip to the ATM on Friday, Oct. 19, I embarked for the Fair, fully prepared to spend as much as it took to meet my goals. My friends, although moderately supportive, were disgusted by my plan as well.
“When he first told me about it, I was disgusted,” said Lindsay Bruening, senior. “I can usually handle it when he overeats, but this time, it’s on a whole different level. I tried to warn him, but he was determined.”
Oblivious to the opinions of my fellow fair-goers, I began my mission. First up: deep-fried alligator on a stick, complete with a side of fries. 540 calories down, 9460 to go.
From there, the list quickly spiraled out of control. Krispy Kreme Burgers gave way to ribbon fries that preceded deep-fried cinnamon buns rolled in bacon bits (yes, they were as good as they sound) and much, much more, but I was still skeptical I had eaten enough to reach my goal.
Because I was not on the verge of sickness yet, and I still had money to burn, I trekked onward.
And then, it appeared to me. Out of the corner of a dingy, unwashed store window, a small sign advertising the “All New Chocolate Krispy Kreme Burger” called out to me. Dragging my fellow challengers– Anne Cushman and Nick Hahn– along with me, I raced into the shop and promptly placed my order.
Two minutes and six dollars later, I sat with my friends, prepared to devour the Chocolate Krispy Kreme Bacon Cheeseburger. I cautiously sliced the treat into thirds, taking special care to preserve as much of the powdered sugar and chocolate syrup on top as I could. This was the moment I had been waiting for.
It was terrible. Maybe that’s a slight exaggeration; it wasn’t the worst thing I have ever eaten, but the combination of American cheese, glazed donuts, smoked bacon, powdered sugar, hamburger meat and chocolate syrup was well below my expectations.
At that moment, I realized what was wrong with the situation. Yes, the burger was poor (who would have guessed?), but the underlying problem was that the burger had been created in the first place.
The Chocolate Krispy Kreme Burger is the epitome of overindulgence, a plague far too widespread in modern-day America. Without even realizing it, I had not only engaged in this gluttony, but had taken it to a new level with my quest for 10,000 calories.
Sure, enjoying the deep-fried goodnesses of the fair is one thing, but actively attempting to make oneself sick is a completely different animal. And we wonder why one in three children born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes.
As I chewed the final bite of the calorie-packed donut burger, all of these realizations hit me at once. At the rate our nation is going, the 10,000 calorie challenge may eventually become a commonplace and even accepted feat. The time has come to reject fried fatty foods once and for all.
My final count for the day was just under 8200 calories. Although I fell short of my goal, I walked out of the fair with my pride and my heart still intact, but also with a new understanding fresh in my mind.