A cast house, or abode in which the out of town employees of a theatrical production dwell, is the closest I’ll ever get to the Real World house. It’s multiple strangers, hired to live and work together in what’s likely a remote location in a house with very few amenities. Internet and cable are for movie sets.
Cast houses are hotbeds of creativity. Working actors can’t drink like those Real World kids because audiences don’t pay to watch bloated, vocally strained, dancing-singing hangovers. We have to be cleverer than that.
In the mountains of Colorado, we were also incredibly broke. We were paid partially in money and partially in food coupons to different restaurants at various casinos around town. Out of the marriage of poverty and boredom, the Triple Contest was born.
The Curious Carebear, a dear friend of mine from college, dared her then-boyfriend, Aldolfo, to try to eat a triple burger faster than her. This Bronco Billy’s specialty had everything: bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, three buns, and three patties, all totaling up to a pound of meat. The Curious Carebear ate two things the day of the contest: 6/7 of a triple burger and all of Aldolfo’s dust.
Inspired by my feminist sensibilities, I decided to throw down my own gauntlet and challenge the now smug Aldolfo to another round of Triple Eating. I don’t want to brag, but I can fit my whole fist in my mouth. After demonstrating this in the middle of the casino diner, I saw fear in Aldolfo’s eyes.
Sunday, after our last show for the week, we all trekked up to Bronco Billy’s for the showdown. We ordered our burgers and threw shade at each other. As the food arrived, we made ourselves ready.
There is a video of what happened next on someone’s cell phone, somewhere in the world, but I pray it never sees the light of day. I started strong right out of the gate, but I got cocky: big bites are the enemy of winning. I may have had to take a minute to open my windpipe and start the contest anew. Even with that 40 second deduction, we were neck-and-neck the whole five minutes. The stakes couldn’t have been higher.
I wish that this story had an amazing Mighty Ducks II finish and that Iceland totally ate it. But I lost, by about 5 seconds. Though Aldolfo was gracious and the cast supportive, this loss remains one of the great disappointments of my life.