Records are set to be broken. Overachieving, out doing the next guy and going to the extreme can earn you a place of honor in history or an entry in a record book. Guinness is waiting for you! As the spirit of competition has led to great things, it also can be one of risks and consequences. The stakes are high, especially when in comes to food contests, beer drinking contests and ingesting other ‘edibles’ into your body.
As thousands gather in Ireland to celebrate the newly created holiday billed as ‘Arthur’s Day’, the beer will flow at a non-stop pace. It is not a contest, but a day to recognize the founder of Guinness beer, Arthur Guinness. What started out as a marketing idea in 2009, the festival of sorts has gained nearly equal amounts of popularity and criticism. It is geared to be a day of celebrating Guinness, the pubs and music. As the Irish have long celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, and danced their cute little jig, this new jag will serve to give patrons another chance of drinking themselves into oblivion. Guinness is waiting for you to warm up your bar stool and make it a day. Surely great fun will abound, but soon will come the hangovers and incidents that may stem from the drinking activities.
Beer and alcohol are an affordable commodity in Ireland and around the world. Unfortunately the effects of mass consumption and binge drinking can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, which is at epidemic proportions in Ireland. Here in the United States, beer consumption has also reached high levels with an average of 28 gallons per legal adult being guzzled each year. Taxes have influenced each state’s individual beer sales, as North Dakota ranks highest in beer consumption with an average of 46 gallons per adult. Averages mean some people do not even touch the bottle, can or tap, while others drink like a fish. Out of state sales is also a factor in the high average for North Dakota, where there is no sales tax. Utah is more subdued with only 20 gallons per adult being consumed per year.
As Arthur Day gets underway, it may set the groundwork for founders of fast food chains to have their own holiday. “Grab a table and gobble some burgers……do you want fries with that?” Food eating contests have been around for centuries. All you can eat buffets and salad bars produce mas amounts of food in every variety possible. TV shows such as “Man vs. Food” have encouraged the quest to pig out and win. The stomach takes a beating from too much eating, just as the beer could draw your death near. Just this past summer, a man in Spain died from binging on 6 liters of beer while competing in a contest. The amount was equal to 2 gallons and was down the hatch in twenty minutes. An Australian man collapsed and died from an eating contest just a few days before. The honor of getting your name in the record book does not always offer an elaborate prize, but the risks involved comes with a high price. One man even went to the extreme and died within hours after winning a cockroach eating contest last year in Florida.
Hopefully there are no bugs in your beer, but it does not hurt to bug you about drinking responsibly. Aside from deaths caused from drunk driving, drinking to no end could mean a dead end for some. Holidays are meant to be celebrated and often with enjoying adult beverages. Creating new holidays and events centered around drinking blurs the senses as well as the census. “All things in moderation”, so they say. Eat, drink and be merry because Guinness is waiting for you!
Written by: Roanne H. FitzGibbon