Eat Your Heart Out

By now we’ve all heard the sad (?) story of Edward Archbold of Florida. This paragon of good sense died a few months ago after entering a contest sponsored by a local reptile store. The object of the contest was to eat as many live worms and cockroaches as possible. The prize? A python.
So Archbold doggedly gulped down a quantity of worms followed by several dozen live roaches … and then he collapsed and died. His just-released autopsy report lists his cause of death as “asphyxiation due to aspiration of gastric contents.” Yum yum. All this, remember, in an effort to win a free snake.

Edward Archbold is not alone in his idiocy. There have been more than a few instances of people literally eating or drinking themselves to death. Come to the buffet line and enjoy a sampling of the sin of gluttony at its most deadly:

Jennifer Strange: This aptly named Californian wanted a WII gaming system for her kids’ Christmas present in the worst way. So she was delighted when her local radio station announced a “Hold Your Wee For a WII.” contest. It sounded simple: all you had to do was drink plain old water and refrain from peeing longer than anybody else. So Ms. Strange began chugging the agua till she began to feel sick. But she was determined to win that WII, so she kept on drinking and presumably crossing her legs and hopping around. She eventually did win the WII, which her kids no doubt appreciated all the more knowing that their mother had died to get it for them. That’s right, Mom succumbed to water intoxication, a condition that arises when so much water is drunk that the salt and electrolyte balance of the body is thrown out of whack, causing brain damage and sometimes death.

Dempr Cevic: This Turkish villager won a $15 bet by eating a whole barbecued lamb back in 1974. He collected his money and dropped dead ten minutes later.

Jiten Bhunia: In Jiten’s village in India, somebody started a salt-eating competition. Hundreds of people took part but the contest was quickly abandoned once Jiten became ill. Not surprisingly, he did not survive his salt overdose. Even less surprisingly, no one would admit to promoting the contest or knowing who did.

Janet Rudd: At a fair in Ontario, Canada, a Chubby Bunny contest was being held. Contestants put a marshmallow in their mouths and said “chubby bunny.” Then they’d add another marshmallow and say it again. And again. The person with the most marshmallows in their mouth who could still repeat “chubby bunny” was the winner. Janet Rudd entered this contest and exited it feet-first. paramedics with suction equipment were unable to budge the gooey mass of marshmallows filling her mouth and throat.

Andrew Lee: A British forklift operator with hopes of becoming a chef decided to see how much hot sauce he could consume. Accordingly, he gathered peppers from his father’s garden, mixed them with tomato sauce, and then challenged his girlfriend’s brother to share with him. The brother proved to be a lightweight, but Lee scarfed down a huge portion of his sauce. Later that night he complained of severe itching, finally fell asleep and never woke up. The autopsy was inconclusive but the coroner’s best guess was a heart attack brought on by eating too much hot sauce.

And two bonus tracks!

Myra Griffin, age three, didn’t finish her slice of homemade chocolate cake. This greatly annoyed her mother,who had baked it, so she force-fed the cake to her daughter. The whole cake. The unfortunate Myra suffocated, making hers a genuine Death by Chocolate.

An unamed Italian man did something to displease his girlfriend. She and her other boyfriend tied him to a chair and crammed over a pound of butter down his throat. They claimed he’d gotten drunk and perhaps hit his head, but the truth was readily and greasily uncovered at autopsy, when his lungs were found to be full of melted butter.

For the record, the human stomach is designed to hold between one and one-and-a-half liters of food and liquid. Most of us can handle up to three liters, but not without discomfort. Five liters is enough to rupture the stomach, but most people don’t reach that point because their body protects them by making them vomit. But in habitual binge-eaters, or people with other mental disturbances, this reflex either doesn’t kick in or they are able to override it, and eventually the stomach is so stretched that it cannot contract to expel its contents. One woman managed to consume an estimated twelve liters of food and liquid before her stomach burst, killing her.

So at Christmas dinner when your annoying cousin proclaims “I’m so full I’m about to burst!” while simultaneously scooping up thirds on the mashed potatoes, just smile and keep your fingers crossed.

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2 Responses to “Eat Your Heart Out”

  1. judylaq Says:

    OMG Guess this proves that all ‘crazy’ people are not locked up after all!

    • ghostscribe Says:

      I took a class in abnormal psychology in college, and there was a visit to the local mental hospital. We learned there that among mental patients, choking is one of the leading causes of death, because they’ll put anything and everything in their mouths. The water fountains on the wards had to be secured/locked because some patients had polydipsia, meaning they would just drink till they killed themselves.

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