By Alex Walsh
Part I: The Challenge
I’ve got beef with East Asia. Specifically, the fact that they’ve got beef. More than me. Consistently. That doesn’t sit well with me. Not that the amount of food soon to be discussed could possibly sit well in my stomach, but that’s beside the point. I’m more than willing to inflict grievous harm on my body when principles are on the line.
You may be aware of the moderately popular fast food franchise known as Burger King. You may also be aware of the corporate behemoth called Microsoft. Well, they teamed up. For the launch of Windows 7, the latest iteration of Microsoft’s near-ubiquitous operating system, Burger King rolled out a “Windows 7 Whopper.” This culinary improbability promised to combine the exquisite flavor and inherent health risks of Burger King’s flagship sandwich with the sheer, inconceivable size of the Redmond-based software giant by stacking seven patties between its golden buns.
The news of this new scion of sliders caused my brain to skip past questioning the marketing sense of promoting grandiose claims of a new product’s benefits by coupling it with a food whose name is synonymous with “lies” and hop right on into fantasizing about the burger. Matthews-esque shivers raced down my leg. Its towering, brazenly inconvenient height catapulted it into the realm of pure art. Form over function, indeed.
That, of course, was when I finished reading the sentence and saw that it was exclusive to Japan. Memories of the betrayal of the BK Seven-Incher came flooding back. (It’s exactly what it sounds like. A cheeseburger stretched out to the size of a seven-inch hero. The ad campaign was an almost insultingly blunt fellatio reference. I drove ten miles to get the damn thing only to find out it was released in Singapore.) Asians only. I knew there was only one way to vent this rage.
I tweeted about it.
PlanesNoSnakes: Unhappy that the Windows 7 Whopper is only in Japan. I want seven layers, damnit!
rhymeswithhappy @PlanesNoSnakes The whopper has 2 patties, right? That’s 800 calories. 7 patties? Basic math says Windows 7 whopper clocks in at 2,700
rhymeswithhappy @PlanesNoSnakes that’s not food. that’s a dare.
rhymeswithhappy @PlanesNoSnakes ps – this weekend we’re buying 4 whoppers, building this burger, and making you eat it.
I decided then and there that I would do it. For the American people, who gave birth to both Windows and the Whopper, who fought for the idea that anything worth doing was even more worth doing if you could add more beef, and who steadfastly refused to concede that bigger is anything other than better, I would build and consume that monstrous sandwich!
PlanesNoSnakes @rhymeswithhappy You’re on, bitch. Be warned: I’m hungry for victory.
p0pr0cks518 @PlanesNoSnakes consuming well over the daily amount of calories in a single sandwich knowingly? Your blood will turn to sludge
p0pr0cks518 @rhymeswithhappy we’re giving @PlanesNoSnakes a death dare
rhymeswithhappy @p0pr0cks518 lol
President Obama and will.i.am warned me this would happen.
“We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics; they will only grow louder and more dissonant.
We’ve been asked to pause for a reality check.
We’ve been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.
But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything FALSE about hope.”
Fuck the haters, this was to be my challenge. And when I completed it, standing atop the summit of my own greasy Everest, I would go ahead and brush my shoulders off.
Part II: The Attempt
After much anticipation, the day was finally upon me. The cast was as follows: Erin (p0pr0cks518), the looks; Dan, the muscle; Matt (rhymeswithhappy), the wild card; and Cassandra, the youth. Astonishingly, in light of what you’re about to read, I had been designated the brains of this outfit. The conditions were ominous. Matt’s eleven year old sister – the aforementioned youth – had come to visit, and a sky full of menacing rain clouds followed closely behind. I tried to keep my food intake light as we traveled through the soggy streets of Manhattan in search of Halloween pumpkins. When the time came for the challenge, I had only eaten an appetizer plate of fried calamari at Puglia’s (a small restaurant in Little Italy with good food, lousy service and an endearingly creepy shrine to an Elvis impersonator) and a blondie from Magnolia’s.
The L deposited us back in Bushwick and the trek to the Myrtle/Seneca Burger King was on. Upon arriving, we found that our earlier estimate of calories was flawed – the Whopper’s a one-patty affair. At least we wouldn’t be discarding any patties. My order: two Triple Whoppers, a Whopper, and a medium Dr. Pepper. Total calorie count on the three sandwiches came to an incredible 3,100. It was at this point that I realized I would not be eating the cupcakes I had saved from Magnolia’s any time soon.
Back at the apartment, the first task was construction. After establishing the first Triple Whopper as my foundation stone, I shucked the remaining beef patties from their coverings and stacked them up. At long last I was face-to-face with my opponent, perhaps the only specimen of its kind in the Western hemisphere. Like the old dude from Jurassic Park, I had tampered with the order of things, introducing a mighty force into an environment that had no place for it. I felt my hair stand on end as fight or flight kicked in, but Erin had already grabbed her camera so I had to act tough. You know, for America.
As all present gathered to watch, I hefted the awkwardly tall burger and took my first bite. Post-bite examination showed that I had barely made a dent. Laughter was general as I pulled a fork and knife from the drawer. Lest you look down on me at this point, dear reader, I will remind you that between the two sesame seed buns on my plate lay 1.74 pounds of beef. That’s nearly a kilo of cow.
Progress after that first bite was fairly slow. Seven Whoppers’ worth of beef with one Whopper’s worth of toppings gets dry and dull fast. But Lauren Walsh didn’t raise a quitter. I kept trudging on, consuming more and more despite rapidly disappearing hunger. Cassandra’s presence was very helpful. Whenever I slowed my pace she’d glance at her phone and disapprovingly inform me of how long I was taking. There’s really nothing like being judged by a fifth grader to restore flagging motivation.
About two awful hours after first bite I sat staring at one last chunk of cold beef on my plate next to a single solitary pickle slice. No feast has ever appeared more daunting. With shaking hands I positioned the remaining food on my fork and raised it a few inches. Dan alerted everyone that I was about to finish. As the challengers gathered, the journey from plate to mouth resumed. Here I made a critical mistake. Rather than mechanically shoving the last remains of the Whopper into my face, I thought about eating it. A wave of nausea rocked my body harder than a Timberlake jam.
I took a moment to settle down, then tried to eat it again. No dice. The gathering adjourned from the living room to the bathroom. Just in case.
I was determined not to lose on the boss fight, but for the life of me I couldn’t bring myself to do anything more than grimace at the paltry scraps whose continued existence heaped more and more shame on me with each passing moment. Once again lifting the fork, I put on a brave face but faltered at the last moment.
“Just put it in your mouth,” Erin offered helpfully. That was the tipping point.
“Oh no…” I groaned, pivoting from my plate. “This is happening. This is happening!”
My failure was complete.
It took me some time to come to terms with what had happened. For too long I cursed the whole affair. I had failed, I thought. The Windows 7 Whopper was a vile, cruel joke after all, and its creators black hearted men who cared not for the lives they shattered. But the next morning, my spirits lifted by a delicious Western omelet at the Kellogg Diner, I made a breakthrough.
All along, I said I was doing this for America. But perhaps I was coming at it wrong. My idealistic hope for a wholly pure triumph over the Whopper was entirely born of Obama’s America. To pull a win out of this, I had to get in touch with my inner Bush. If at first you don’t succeed, redefine victory.
With your permission, dear reader, I’d like to lay some knowledge on you. Windows 7 is a misleading name. Technically speaking, it is actually version 6.1.7600 of the Windows software. 6.1! By my estimate, I consumed about 6.9 Whopper beef patties. And I probably could have actually held down 6.5-6.7. So by even the most cautious of estimates, I totally outconsumed what would have been an accurate amount of burger.
It’s morning again in America.
(Seriously, though, never try to eat one of these things. It isn’t fun.)