Mammoth BurgerLast year, we experienced our Christmas Day in Vientiane, Laos.  We happened upon a restaurant that had a challenge called, ‘The Mammoth Burger Challenge.’  If I could consume the mammoth burger inside 60 minutes, the meal would be free, I would receive a tee-shirt as a momento and my photo would be positioned up alongside other champions on the ‘wall of fame.’

Two conditions, I was not allowed to have help in eating the burger nor were I allowed to put my fingers down my throat to make room for more consumption!  If I were unsuccessful at eating the burger at the end of 60 minutes, I had to pay, no tee-shirt and my photo would appear up on the ‘wall of shame.’  And there were many who had failed!

A Christmas meal with a difference – heck, it’s just a burger and I love burgers!  I accepted the challenge.

The knife and fork arrived whereby they were chef cooking utensil sizes.  This didn’t phase me; nor did the  laughter of those sharing the same table at my expense.  It’s just another burger and I love burgers!

As the entourage of waiters arrived at the table carrying my burger, people from other tables suddenly appeared to see what all the noise was about, displaying whites of teeth that boomed yet more smiles and laughter.  It would be fair to write that it was indeed a mammoth burger, however, I endeavoured to maintain my composure and attitude to heck, it’s just a burger and I love burgers!

Monster BurgerThe size of a birthday cake that would hold 234 candles, it was made up of 1 kilogram of beef mince, 5 slices of cheese, lettuce, 3 juicy tomatoes, 1 onion, mustard and ketchup, and 2 huge buns.  It wasn’t just a burger but more like eight McDonald Big Mac burgers when sliced into a pie.  I don’t recall the words, “heck, it’s just a burger and I love burgers” being repeated since that day after the “On your marks, get set, go.”

That’s because after twenty five minutes into chomping just over half, my gut went, “whoa, stop, this car park is full sorry”, even though my arms were on still on auto-pilot conveying the burger from plate to mouth!  My eyes were too big for my belly, literally!  And so I sat for the remainder of the time being encouraged with “You can do it” by those nearby.

Wall of ShameBut I couldn’t and I had failed.  My photo now hangs up with others on the wall of shame and I have no tee-shirt to show for it.

However, this is where one failure set in place a new challenge.  I decided that I would not eat a hamburger of any type between Christmas Day 2012 and Christmas Day 2013, whether commercially or home-made.  The penalty for breaching the challenge, I was to get a tattoo the size of a coke can rim on my person … for each hamburger consumed or partially eaten.

Hamburger TattoosEven though I have had some fun imprinting an ink stamp in the shape of a burger when sharing this story to an audience for humour, I have maintained the challenge of not consuming any type of burger up to and including the posting of this blog entry.

The flip side is that as you can imagine, it’s been a tough year with banter being both supportive and teasing.  Even attending a family gathering at McDonalds tested my resolve.

The end of the challenge is only eight sleeps away … a sense of achievement is stirring at nearly having ticked off this challenge.  Failure can be a positive if we learn from the experience.

As most people are counting up to Christmas Day for whatever the reason, I too am counting up to the moment that I can eat a hamburger on the day!

You may be questioning my reasoning when there is so much more festivity type food going to be available.

Hey, it’s just a burger and I love hamburgers!


  1. Spot on. How many great athletes or business people fail and then improve through it? I would guess all of them at some stage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *