What To Do If You Find Yourself In a 4th of July Hot Dog Eating Contest

Has this ever happened to you? You're sitting around, minding your own business, celebrating America's birthday by setting off small explosives dangerously close to your house and children, and a hot dog eating contest breaks out. All of a sudden your quiet, neighborhood cookout goes from looking like this:

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To this:

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I know, the difference is shocking. At a regular barbecue, people at least have the good sense to avoid any non-alcoholic liquids. But if you should find yourself in a hot dog eating contest today, do not panic. That causes your esophagus to tense up and reduces your intake potential. If you're going to do that, eating six dozen hot dogs may not even be worth it. Other things to keep in mind as you throw caution and physicians' recommendations to the wind:

Keep the dog close by. Then you can just slip the dog half of your stack as you go and you'll be left with a much more manageable number of hot dogs, like 40.

Remember to swallow. Like all sports, competitive eating is all about fundamentals, and this one is key. Unless you're able to secure a large amount of napkins before the competition. Just explain that you're a real neat freak and want to keep yourself in order. Then, as the competition gets under way, you can just continue to fill your mouth with hot dogs, only to turn slightly each time, spit them into a napkin, and then ball the napkin up and throw it under the table. I used to do this with chicken all the time when I was a kid. Believe me, it works. It will look like you finished all of your hot dogs and you'll be applauded for being such a good eater. Then you get ice cream!

Don't compete against dogs. I've heard they can eat, like, 40 hot dogs in one sitting if given the chance. Also, avoid bears.

Keep a positive attitude. It's amazing how much cased meat you can eat if you just believe that it's possible. Once you see how well the power of positive thinking works under these circumstances, the resulting colon cancer will be no biggie.

Vomit on the other competitors' hot dogs. Oh sure, no one says anything to babies when they regurgitate in situations where it's personally advantageous, but yeah, I'm the disgusting one. In hot dog eating contests, as in business, sometimes the person most willing to purge on the table is the one that gets ahead. Trust me, I was a business major one semester in college. This strategy also allows you to then attack your hot dog stack at a more leisurely pace. Note: This tactic will not work if one or more of the other competitors are dogs or bears, in which case no amount of vomit is likely to deter them. Also, be aware that your barbecue seems to be taking place at a professional boxer's house or the Neverland Ranch.

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