The first time a friend foisted a bottle of shrimp cocktail sauce from Indianapolis’ legendary St. Elmo Steak House, I did not realize the specter of death that lied within. Naive and filled with machismo, I dunked a chilled shrimp into the cocktail sauce, scooping out a good tablespoon’s worth, and like a moron inserted it whole into my gaping maw.
Friends: My sinuses exploded.
When I was in high school, a “friend” hid a glob of wasabi into guacamole as a joke. St. Elmo shrimp cocktail sauce, with its nuclear-grade horseradish, was at least five times as potent. I couldn’t even muster any words, just the noise of guttural intakes of air—guuuhhhhhhhh guuuhhhhhh—as my face disintegrated into ash.
In that context, watching this video from Wednesday night’s Indiana Pacers game was one of the most awe-inspiring clips I’ve ever witnessed.
A Pacers fan named Eric managed to down an entire order of St. Elmo shrimp cocktail in 13 goddamn seconds and managed to not die immediately. And he did it less than one-third of the 45 seconds allotted, a feat as impressive as running a sub-hour marathon.For stepping to the precipice of the hereafter, Eric was awarded a $75 gift certificate—presumably to St. Elmo Steak House—and immortality in The Takeout’s Hall of Champions.
We really should talk about St. Elmo Steak House. Legendary really is the right adjective—it’s been serving steaks and seafood in downtown Indianapolis since 1902, and was was named an “America’s Classic” by the James Beard Foundation in 2012. The restaurant achieved pop cultural notoriety in 2013 when the show Parks & Recreation filmed on location, during which Newt Gingrich just happened to dine at the restaurant and the former Speaker of the House was worked into the episode.