-Golden Birthday Taco Contest-
(This year is going to be different.)
Here we are on the eve of my golden birthday and I’m making that age-old promise that this year will be different. But this time I mean it. After the disparaging nature of last year, I need some change. My previous birthday had been one of hope and anticipation of greatness. 365 days have smashed that young man and spawned the humble, unpublished writer before you.
I’m doing my best Jonathan Ames, drinking white wine in a David Bowie glass that I coincidentally received as a gift last birthing day. I ventured out this evening in a light gray/tan sports jacket recently purchased from St. Vinnie’s, khakis, my olive green Rock and Roll Hall of Fame t-shirt, a tan cabbie/newsie hat, and my mandals. As per usual, I sport a slightly unkempt beard and moustache of a different color. Not unlike a horse of a different color from Wizard of Oz, my moustache is almost red, a strong contrast to my very brown hair. My glasses are black and distinguished. They aren’t as thick as Buddy Holly’s, but not as thin as John Lennon’s, two of my spectacled heroes. I had intended on sitting in my favorite bar and writing a similar piece, but there were too many cars and I don’t care for busy bars. Thus, I ventured to the local supermarket and bought some infinitely cheaper wine.
Last year I promised myself that I would be published by my next birthday. I did not achieve that goal. Although I did write two “Letters to the Editor” to the local paper that were promptly printed. I should have sent them in as articles, but lacked balls. It seemed that submitting them as Letters was a sure fire way of getting at least printed. I did waste quite a bit of time early on in my quest for publication, though. Since the realization of my writing dream I had submitted piece after piece for contests. I fooled myself into thinking that I would win and everything would be right from then on. There was one particular contest I was especially confident in: a fiction contest for Esquire. One of my favorite authors was an Esquire writer at one point, and I fancied myself the same way. When I reread my submission, it is quite weak and self-indulgent. I didn’t win. It was impractical to think that after one creative writing course that I would immediately work my way into the public eye, but I was a little too confident and love drunk with my own writing. So it goes.
Now, I’m doing to the work. Putting in the time. It took me many months to realize my mistakes, but I had to be in that place to get to this one. I take my criticism well and don’t waste time with pointless escapades that will only bring me further down. I feel like my moment is coming. I’ve read more books in the last three months that the last three years. These primarily Jewish writers are indirectly helping me find my voice. Now that I think of it, 75% of my favorite writers are Jewish and repeatedly mention it in their work. There is one who had a semi-similar upbringing as me, Catholic. But our tale is not uncommon: raised Catholic, rejects church, becomes agnostic. I wonder if I am secretly Jewish. This is also somewhat ironic, as their favorite authors were, for the most part, anti-Semitic in nature. Now, I was not aware of any of these writers faith when I first embarked into their respective catalogs, it is merely a coincidence. What would my strict Catholic parents think about this? Only Jehovah knows.
Anyway, my original thought was to sit in the once church, now bar and become intimately familiar with my surroundings. As my first act of change in my golden year, I have decided to, as I drunkenly put it last night, “Do things.” The first of which will be a taco eating contest at said bar. Apparently a contestant merely has to finish as many 8-inch tacos as he can in an evening, attempting to break the record. I have long been a fan of eating quickly and abundantly, but have been far too sheepish to enter any challenge. Not this year though. I’m going to live things and have either success or regret. It should be pretty easy for me as I can demolish three Taco Bell tacos in less than two minutes, still craving more. I am extremely excited for my attempt at greatness. However, even in failure this may have its journalistic benefits, as I will document all goings-on and hopefully market this piece into some sort of published work. This contest will set the tone for my year. It is Sunday night. My shot at the title comes Tuesday evening. More then.