So, it took me a long time to figure out what to say about 2001.
Dave came back from the dead. I suppose thats kind of funny, especially around easter. Dave getting bonked on the head wasn't particularly funny, neither was the fact that he apparently couldn't speak-a the English for a while. Four hematomas isn't particularly funny.
Anyways, thats all background. Just about the time the 2001 competition started to be this glimmer in people's eyes, Dave Smith goes and gets cracked over the head a few times (probably for riding a girl's bike downtown again) and, apparently, his noggin' isn't quite as hard as everybody's been saying these past years. So, does the Peepoff go on? Do we prop Dave up in a chair and an old No Kill I uniform as Captain Pike? Puke one for the Gipper?
Miss Manners, where are you when we need you?
Dave settled all this by suddenly kicking off an email making sure we were all coming. I think I accused him of being a 'bot at the time -- it was remarkably coherent for a guy who'd lost all his words. Remarkably nice, too.
I smelled rat, and called him on it, but apparently it was in fact, Dave. The king of Sacramento Peeps had risen from the dead like so much marshmallow sputum.
I'm not entirely sure what drove me to compete in 2001. I'd like to say that it was the fact that I realized how precious and fragile life is and to never pass up an opportunity. Or, perhaps, that I spent much of 2001 pushing my limits further and higher than in any other year.
It was probably manifest in the fact that I was using a lot of recreational drugs at the time, for nobody in their right mind would actually consume that number of peeps knowing full well what was in store.
I deputised My Friend Betsy as photojournalist for my camera and scouted out a good spot for peeps. The House record stands at 45, set the year before by my roommate Henry. I figured that was a lofty goal, but if I kept pace with Vicki I'd be up in that range, so I plunked down next to her. Vicki has always got some Captain Morgan's that she's had under waiver back since one of the first of these damned events, so I figured she might have the angle I needed.
The first couple of peeps go down okay. Suprisingly, while you can still taste them you're doing fine. You'd think that it'd be the taste that gets to you.
Oh no. Its not the taste. See, for those of you who might live in a blighted, peep-free land (and I know that they exist), peeps are essentially a "marshmallow" core (or close enough) coated in a layer of FD&C coloration and topped off with a layer of sugar that seems to impregnate both dye and mallow both.
The sugar quickly frees itself from the confines of the peep and seeks to absorb any and all moisture in your mouth, quickly forming drifts and collectives in your ever-parching mouth. Owing to the nature of such things, beer does little to help your situation.
Now, if you can stomach it, the Captain Morgan's is a fine way to go. It cleanses the palette, washes away some of that sugar, and gets you back into the game. Problem is that its a one-way trip down the vomit comet for yours truly when clashing with the peep guts: suddenly the taste buds are clear again and the Captain Morgan's pogos with the recently freed vileness that is marshmallow peeps in concentrated mass.
I tried to keep up with Miss Vicki, keeping abreast with her until fairly nearly the end. I thought she was, at most, one peep ahead of me. She counted, I counted, we were dead heat + 1 the entire time. I figured that was a pretty good standing, right behind the queen. Pulling it out at the end and finishing even would be solid...
Well, turns out Vicki had mysteriously misplaced one of her boxes, only to discover it a few moments before the final whistle, putting herself SIX ahead.
Vicki is a saint and I dare not accuse her of underhandedness, but the girl has kept her record several years standing now...
Micky puked before time was called, and I think Bill puked before he even got an entire package down. Dave called time and even the once-mighty Dennis, down from his previous-year's record, puked after the five minute "hold".
I struggled nobly against the bolus of peep in my stomach, thinking it somehow more dignified to keep it down. Had I known the sweet (literally) relief of it, I would have taken care of business long before I got home. Regurgitating peeps is, in fact, much better than getting them down in the first place. The vomitous has a pleasantly fruity flavor and is neither syrupy or as chunky as one might expect.
Dennis pulled off another win, but his score of 82 was off from his 2000 record of 88. Was he fading? Were we seeing the end of an era?
Who would unseat the master?
Large peep fight followed. No cops this year, though I'm sure the neighbors had months worth of entertainment picking peeps out of their backyards. There were some odd cats from the burbs (well, okay, other than say, myself and Team Lurch/DeeAnn -- I mean, -clearly- from the burbs) that seemed to indicate that tourism was up.
Art was way up -- more dioramas than ever and all manner of festive peep regalia. Richard Hansen didn't compete, just heckled. Uh, what else...
Well, until then ... [back].