Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Eat something awful? Could be worse

And be thankful it wasn't on TV

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What with Thanksgiving just a couple of days behind us, it might be too early to ask this next question.

What I want to know is: What is the most foul, the most disgusting thing you have ever eaten in your entire life?

All of us, either knowingly or by sheer accident, have swallowed something so awful it causes your skin to crawl and your tongue to leap out of your mouth, grow tiny feet, then skitter away and hide underneath the refrigerator.

For example, in my high school biology class, there was a pair of twin brothers who, for a quarter -- which was serious coin back when I was a kid -- would eat anything you could point at, such as the eyeballs of the frog the class was dissecting.

It would not surprise me to learn these eyeball-eating brothers are now the heads of a major corporation, or, just possibly, senior tax collectors with the Canada Revenue Agency.

In my case, the lowlight of my career in consuming occurred in the late 1970s when, in the middle of a trip through Europe, my friends and I decided (why not?) to follow the fictional trail of the characters in the novel Dracula.

So there we were, in Romania, sitting in a Romanian restaurant, trying to read the menu, which, and this will come as a huge surprise to everyone, was written in Romanian.

As an experienced traveller, I knew how to order in a strange country, so when the waiter arrived, I pointed my finger at some random words on the menu and, in an overly loud voice, blurted: "I'LL HAVE THIS!"

The waiter grimaced, then backed slowly into the kitchen. A short time later, he returned with our meals, which he plopped in front of us with a flourish. There, on my plate, was a steaming pile of... something. It appeared to be boiled tubes of what resembled some kind of large, wrinkly pasta.

I stared at the plate in abject horror, then glanced at the waiter, who was hovering over my shoulder, no doubt curious as to what my next move would be.

After frowning at the plate for several seconds, I loudly asked the waiter: "Um, what is this?"

He must have read my confused expression, because he flashed a knowing smile and, pointing at his midsection, made the following barnyard bleating sound: "Baaaaa! Baaaaa! Baaaaa!"

"He wants you to eat his colon," my friends whispered in disgust.

Then it hit me. "No," I grunted. "It's sheep intestines! A heaping plate of boiled sheep intestines!"

And I was right. You are probably wondering what they tasted like. If I could use only one word, that word would have to be "rubbery." It was like eating bicycle tires, only with far less flavour.

But that is not today's point. Today's point is I told you that story so I could share this next news story, which makes eating sheep intestines seem like a culinary walk in the park. I became aware of this real-life drama because multiple videos of the incident have received thousands of online hits since being posted on YouTube last week.

On the videos, Scot Haney, a weatherman with Connecticut TV station WFSB, is sitting around engaging in on-air banter when, suddenly, he bends over to scoop up what he believes are scraps of breakfast cereal he dropped on the studio floor earlier that day.

"You left Grape-Nuts all over here. C'mon, clean up!" one of his co-anchors chides just as Haney, on live TV, pops the scraps of "cereal" into his mouth and swallows.

"I can't believe you just ate that," WFSB anchor Irene O'Connor squeaks in dismay. "You are crazy. You just ate that off the floor. That is waaay beyond the three-second rule."

After he finishes his on-air snack, Haney's smile turns to disgust. "They're a little soggy, and they taste like shoes," he informs his colleagues and the live audience.

A few moments later, during the Trending Now segment of the show, Haney shares a revolting realization.

"Ladies and gentlemen, those were not Grape-Nuts I ate," he confesses. "I kept finding more and more of it on the floor and I thought it was Grape-Nuts because it looked just like it."

Displaying the sole of his shoe, he continues: "My cat threw up and I must have stepped in it, and that's what I ate. I ate cat vomit right here on television. It's disgusting."

Professional to the end, the meteorologist concludes by telling viewers he isn't going to do the weather. "I'm going to throw up," he explains.

With apologies to Mr. Haney, we'd like to leave you with something a wise man once told us, namely: "Baaaaaa!"

Now what's for dessert?

doug.speirs@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 16, 2013 A2

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