Thursday, October 11, 2012

Roach Eating Death Mystery Merits Analysis

I hate to make fun of a death, but the passing of a man in Florida who had just completed a live roach eating contest merits some discussion, don't you think?

Luckily, there's a great Associated Press analysis of the situation by writers Suzette Laboy and Tamara Lush.
Edward Archbold at the roach eating contest.
He passed away not long after the contest ended. 

As an aside, I mentioned earlier this month  in a post about alligators swimming with kids during pool parties,  how Lush, formerly a Vermont reporter, now has such a great job  reporting for the weird, weird news out of Florida.

Anyway, Laboy and Lush open their article with some of the most logical questions that you'd never thought you'd find yourself asking about people, like the guy who died, Edward Archbold, 32,  who eat live roaches for fun and profit:

"Why would anyone eat a live cockroach? Why did he die when several others in the contest ate the same bugs without incident? What inspired Archbold - who was described by the snake store owner as "the life of the party" - to shovel handfuls of crickets, worms and cockroaches into his mouth?"

As for why people participate in these contests, we get this:

"Lou Manza, a psychology professor at Lebanon Valley College, said folks who participate in extreme events like bug eating "are looking for things to make life interesting."
"At a certain level we're all looking for things to break up the monotony," said Manza, who participates in extreme marathons and says some people think that is odd. "We're striving for something that gives life meaning, something beyond the ordinary. The older you get, you start looking for something else."

The article goes on to say that such odd contests like roach eating are inspired by the Jackass movies, in which people in the films performed very odd stunts. I guess people apsire to what they see in the movies.

I might aspire to be like Woodward and Bernstein in "All the President's Men" (fat chance of that) Others aspire to be the world's best roach eater. More power to them!

Autopsy reports on Archbold won't be available for another week or so, but theories are he was allergic to roaches and he had enough in his system to go into shock and die. Or the bugs had some sort of bacteria that killed Archbold.

As always, I have questions not covered in the awesome Laboy/Lush AP article. What do roaches taste like? I need someone to describe it to me since I'm never going to try them myself. I guess I'm not "striving for something that gives life meaning," at least via the roach eating method.

Had Archbold survived, he would have won a python for his efforts. I'm not sure if a python is quite the prize I'd want to win in a contest, but to each his own.

But, as the AP story points out, people who participate in these weird contests are after the fame, not acquiring material wealth

If you consider material wealth being the proud owner of a python.

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