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The Smoking Tongue

July 28, 2005

The Altoids Challenge



Do you like Altoids? Do you find them as addicting as I do? How many altoids do you usually have at a time? 1, 2, 3? I usually have 2. I've probably had as many as 5 at a time. They're "curiously strong", don't you know!

Do you remember that commercial on TV with the circus freaks, and the main attraction is the guy that can eat NOT 1, but 2 altoids at the same time! I always got a kick out of it.


Well, it's been a long time coming. I've often wondered if I could eat a whole tin of Altoids at one time. So I decided to try it out last night.


The container says there are "about" 70 mints in each tin. I took all the mints out and lined them up like army men to take a picture. And damn if there weren't exactly 70!



The dextrous part of the freak show comes next. Getting all the mints to fit in one hand without dropping any. Then, I tip my head back and start pouring them into my mouth, trying not to choke. Once my mouth was full, I looked at my hand and there were still about 20 left. Crap! Was the challenge over before I even started? As quick as I could, I started putting them individually in my mouth. Just when there doesn't seem to be any more room, the mints in the back of my mouth start to melt around the edges just a bit. They start to slide together in formation, giving just a little bit more room. Now I only have 10 left in my hand. Popped a few more in. 7 left, 6 left. (5 comes next), 4, 3, 2, 1. Finally.

So now I'm just standing there waiting for something to happen. A wave of panic crosses as I visualize my girlfriend walking in and asking me what I'm doing. "Nuttin' Honey?" I don't know which would be worse. Not being able to respond because my mouth is full, or actually explaining the idiotic thing I was doing.


(Nothing like pure-white mints to make my teeth look hillbilly yellow!)

After about 4 minutes, I realized I needed to swallow some spit. This was not easy. I almost choked when I started to swallow, and then stopped as I realized how much spit there was to swallow - without swallowing 70 mints in my mouth! A little bit of rearranging, a tilt of the head to induce gravity, and I took my first 40 ounce swallow. NASTY! To say it was minty, would be an understatement. I now know how they bottle up Listerine. They do this, and spit in a bottle.

So now the juices are really flowing, and I'm swallowing every minute. To be honest, the "curiously strong" factor of the mints are NOT wreaking havoc on my tongue and mouth. It is at this moment that I suddenly realize that maybe I should have chewed these as part of the challenge. I know that chewing them gives this extra boost in XTREME flavor, but it's temporary. To be honest, it never crossed my mind when I started this challenge, because I thought chewing them would be cheating.

By the way, here is a video of a brave young man chewing a tin of Cinnamon Altoids. Warning... It's long and boring. Kind of like this post.

Update: Another video. Another chewing of the Cinnamon - looks like I'm in the wrong league!


Ten minutes later I stand up to quit the challenge. I'm not feeling well at all, and am afraid I'm going to throw up. I feel like I've swallowed a gallon of minty fresh spit. I never imagined in a million years this is what I would be going through. I thought I'd just weather the super minty pain on the tongue. Instead, the world's best smelling puke is about to spray across the carpet.

The mints are only half way dissolved. If I'm only half way done, and I'm feeling this bad, there is no way I can make it. I stand at the door, with my hand hovering above the handle. Just beyond is a utility sink to spit the vileness out. As I hesitate, I envision all the things of my life I never finished: 8th grade. My application to McDonalds. Mowing the yard. Paying the bills. I don't think I could live with another failure in my life.

I take another swallow. I grimace in pain. I go sit back down at the computer. Maybe, just maybe I can make it through this. I try to pass the time by downloading porn. Then I quit, not wanting to associate sex with mints or pain.

For the next 10 minutes, I'm reluctant to swallow. However, that will just prolong the agony. I'm screwed.

Eventually, the mints are so small, I can swirl them around in the lake of spit I refuse to swallow. I'm almost done. I can see the other side of the rainbow. And I'm going to get my lucky charms.

Eventually I swallow the last of it.
Time passed: 29 minutes.

I wonder if my farts will smell minty fresh tomorrow.

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