Posted on December 14th, 2009 by Nate
Like we’ve mentioned, the name 51 Eggs is a reference to the scene in Cool Hand Luke where Paul Newman eats fifty hard boiled eggs in one hour. He does it for the sake of the challenge, to entertain his cellmates and because nobody believed he could do it. The spirit of this scene is very familiar to us over here at the 51 Eggs World Headquarters, because it seems like the kind of thing we would have done. In fact it reminds me a lot of a stunt that Gabe and I pulled some time ago where in the time it took him to exchange 15K in $2 bills I drank eight pounds of water.
It takes a little bit of explaining to understand how we could have even gone about doing this. In the summer of 1996 Gabe had won a chunk of money as a settlement for a lawsuit. He had suffered a severe electric shock as the result of faulty wiring at a Grange Hall during a show that our band was playing. It was a crazy sight, his body writhing as he flew off the stage, and I actually saw a bolt of lightning shoot out of his head and arc with a roll of chicken wire that was on the floor. He had a fence shaped burn across his forehead for a few weeks and he saw his own heart stop on the monitor in the ambulance. It was a very disturbing thing to see, and he deserved every penny he got out of the suit. After the settlement, I came back to our house one day to find him in a bathtub full of money smoking a cigar. It was, what seemed to us, a king’s ransom.
That summer, after things settled down a little, bit he started a project where he was going to try to touch every $2 in circulation. To do this he would go to banks and cash out as many $2 bills as they had on hand, then we would catalog the serial numbers of each bill and mark them so they would be easier to track. Eventually we were calling different banks around town and placing orders for huge quantities of $2 bills to help streamline the process.
Naturally, this seemed strange to the banks. Having a group of otherwise impoverished punk kids exchanging $15,000 of out of a cigar box for two dollar bills is a little unusual. Gabe was never outright denied his request, but they did start to give him the run around a little bit, and made him fill out a bunch of paperwork for each exchange. We were working this circuit for about a week and it was during one of these visits when it happened.
One afternoon, we walked into a bank and there in the entrance was a huge old fashioned scale standing right next to a water fountain. I knew that the wait for Gabe to fill out all the paper work and get counted out would be long, and in a flash I knew what I had to do. I made a deal with him that he would pay me $10 for every pound of water that I drank in the time it took him to make his transaction. If the transaction took less than 15 minutes there would be no exchange of money. He weighed me in and went to the teller. I started drinking water.
At first, it was refreshing, it had been hot outside and we’d been walking around for a couple of hours. The water was cool and delicious. The first five to ten minutes were a breeze, and I thought I was well on the road to easy street, but it didn’t take long before drinking the water became hard work. I knew that I was going to have to pace myself and that slow and steady was the way to big money. I started a breathing cycle and worked to keep on powering through the duration. While I was stooped over the fountain it was hard not to notice the groups of people coming and going who were making their transactions faster than Gabe. In the past, a wait that had only seemed like a very long time was beginning to feel like a cold, wet eternity.
Eventually my stomach became noticeably cold, then my whole core, and then my arms. The cold started to course through my entire body, numbing my fingertips and toes, but I kept on drinking. Inhale, gulp, gulp, gulp, exhale gulp, gulp, gulp. The sound of the water fountain droning on almost like mantra telling me to keep drinking. It seemed like I was able to actually feel the blood in my veins and I started to sweat ice cold water.
At long last, Gabe came back around the corner with his cigar box and the contest was at an end. I stood up, my back aching from what I came to realize had been a full half hour of being bent over a drinking fountain. Weakly, but with excitement I stepped onto the scale. I had a feeling I had drank a fair amount of water because I’d never drank enough to make my blood run cold and feel light headed. What I saw seemed impossible. I had expected to weigh in at least a couple more pounds, four or five at the max, but much to my disbelief and to Gabe’s chagrin I had gained a full eight pounds! Gabe, always a gentleman, paid out without complaint and I had to spend the rest of the day laying down because as it turns out, drinking that much water makes you feel really terrible.
What does any of this have to do with our business? Nothing directly except that it well represents the spirit of our approach to our work. We’re constantly looking for opportunities to act on an idea and take something in a new direction. To give something a twist, and to find the fun in what we’re doing. This approach serves us well in developing brands, where sometimes you have to dig a little deeper to find the twist and give something its own life and personality. But the joy is in the search and making the right connections at the right time.Posted in Fun Times, History | 1 Comment »
One Response to “15k and 8lbs of Water”