Just over a month ago, Alexander Tominsky was an ordinary man. Now, thanks to nothing more than an iron will (and iron guts), he has transformed himself into a legend, eating 40 rotisserie chickens in 40 days and ensuring his place in history as “The Philadelphia Chicken Man.”
Speaking to The New York Times following the completion of his mission yesterday before a throng of cheering spectators, Tominsky said that it wasn’t easy to achieve his goal. Initially, he would annihilate a chicken in 20 minutes and “there was no pain,” but, as he continued his work over the following weeks, Tominsky needed roughly two hours and started to feel “cramped up, bloated from all the sodium, and said that he came to believe that he could ‘feel the pulse of my heart in my stomach.’”
The concept of a rotisserie chicken itself also began to change with time. Tominsky said that he became disgusted with “the slimy sounds” that accompany picking out dark meat (“too salty and greasy”) or white meat (“dry”) from the bird. By the time he was on the home stretch his strategy required him to “chew the chicken into small pieces, mush it in his mouth, and slurp it down with water.”
Nevertheless, he persevered. Tominsky, who’s 31 and works as a restaurant server in Philadelphia, wasn’t driven by making money, settling a bet, or becoming famous. (His Twitter description doesn’t include any links, and reads, simply: “I ate chicken.”) He was driven by something purer. Tominsky told the Times that “much of the world is in pain ... so he must do something that brings him pain to make others smile.” He added that it “just felt like I was doing this for a very important reason” and that his personal agony was “microscopic in comparison to what the world lives with and sees everyday.”
Even if he “happened to, for some silly reason, pass away from” eating the 40 chickens, Tominsky said that he “would have been OK with the sacrifice.”
Fortunately, that hasn’t been the case. Tominsky is alive and well. He will go on to eat many more chickens, maybe spaced out a bit better in the future. And, thanks to the sacrifice he made of his body for the last 40 days, all of humanity now understands the incredible feats we’re capable of if we recognize our own strength.
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