ESPN is interviewing Kevin Conti, a "professional competitive eater". They're treating it pretty lightly, which seems appropriate. It does lead to some questions, though. How does one become a professional eater? At what point in your life do you decide that professional eating is a career choice? What would you say to your family? I'm going to make an unsupported assumption that none of these people gave up high-paying jobs to take up gluttony for a living.
I recently read an article by Jay Leno discussing why he turned down an opportunity to make a US version of the British car-buff show Top Gear. He felt that making something he enj0yed into a job would diminish the pleasure. Do you suppose these eaters have problems enjoying a good meal when they have to treat food as something to be swallowed as quickly as possible, with the attendant physical complications? I know they could just eat other foods when they're not competing or training (yes,training). But I would think that the physical adjustments needed to consume food in massive quantities would create reflexes that would compromise a nice sit-down dinner.