Hot dogs, Potatoes and Rocks – Oh My!

The world is an odd place.

Over the Fourth of July weekend, I made a comment on Facebook about the World Hot Dog Eating Championship, and the guy going for his fifth win in a row. One of the ‘play-by-play’ (chomp-by-chomp?) guys on the ESPN broadcast of the event stated, “”If he pulls it off, he’ll be Bjorn Borg of the smorgasbord.” which I found amusing enough to slap on FB. This prompted my friend Lois to comment, “$10K for eating 62 hot dogs–life is odd.”

Indeed it is.

I remembered reading a while back about the World Rock, Paper, Scissors Championship, and it seemed to me that this event also had a $10K prize. So just to make sure, I looked it up.

Just to be sure.

The ‘World RPS Society’ maintains a rather extensive (considering the subject matter) website, featuring the usual array of web site stuff; a menu featuring home, FAQs, and “How To beat Anyone At Rock, Paper, Scissors” and ‘Gambit Play’ links, among others.  There was also a ton of basic info, some obscure historical notes, logoed items for sale including t-shirts, posters, and of course, the now obligatory link to sign up on their Facebook page.

Among the more curious highlights were  the multiple and bizarre, Soviet-propaganda-like graphic logo designs

(all explained by the fact they all turn out to be from some graphic design guy in Prague). Then, there was also one very intriguing technical link that caught my eye:

 ‘New Release! World RPS Society Announces RPS-OT Version 3.0 (alpha release) World RPS Online Trainer.’

At long last.

Along with the usual technical specs for such software ( RAM requirements, enhanced graphic interface capabilities) the tech-release release states, ‘The RPS-OT is the single most sophisticated RPS Grand Master emulator available anywhere for solo RPS’  (Solo RPS?! Borderline disturbing) before tacking on the coup de gras; ‘Finally a true blend of virtual AND reality.’

‘Single most sophisticated’ I have no doubt, the reality part…not so much.

Apparently, the software download is free (a bargain at twice the price) and the instructions are fairly succinct:

1. Hit the Let’s Rock! button below to start
2. The program will engage in a standard three prime shoot after the image loads
3. Play against the Online Trainer with your own fist in front of your monitor
4. Synchronize your priming with the speed of the graphic
5. Deliver your throw!
6. The page will automatically refresh every 6 seconds

Okay, this is where I get off the odd-train, but feel free to check it out yourself and report back. especially if you beat the software, you potential champion, you.

Personally, I haven’t played rock, paper, scissors since I can’t remember when – preferring the much more contemporary and action-packed ‘bear, ninja, hunter’ (bear eats ninja, ninja knocks out hunter, hunter shoots bear) for any of my more meaningful decisional situations.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t still enjoy the classics.

The whole RPS thing got me wondering about that other, personally more preferred though less respected resolution tool, ’One potato, two potato’ and whether it has its own society, association or championship.

Alas, a thorough Internet search has turned up nothing of the sort. I did find a government publication titled ‘One potato, two potato: haplotype association mapping in autotetraploids’ from the USDA Vegetable Laboratory in Beltsville, MD, but that was a dead end – as was the IMDB listing for a 1964 ‘One Potato, Two Potato’ movie about an inter-racial custody battle.

My search results also included a number of nursery rhyme and other children-oriented sites, but that only served to confuse the issue, as there are a tremendous number of alleged-variations on the ‘one potato, two potato’ chant which queasily reminded me of the whole ‘duck, duck, gray duck’ versus ‘duck, duck, goose’ imbroglio (for the record, I am a Midwestern boy – a ‘gray duck’ guy all the way).

What I see in all of this is opportunity.

‘One potato, two potato’ (OPTP) has long since shown its social and business value and flexibility, and has rightfully earned its due as a managerial and life decision making tool, and is certainly as worthy of a ‘world championship’ as RPS. If somebody with some technical expertise wants to join me by coming up with a ‘one potato, two potato’ training app, I can use my writing and marketing expertise to help market it.  All in all, OPTP would seem to have far more numerous, much sexier sponsorship opportunities than RPS – no matter how you slice it.

Then again, you might just think introducing an OPTP championship (or even basic, organized competition) would destroy the purity of the sport, which would pretty much ruin it for all concerned. I can appreciate that point of view, but didn’t they once say the same thing about RPS, or heck – eating hot dogs?  I guess there is really only one thing I can say to that:

‘Et tu potato, Brutus?’


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