(Note: I got a great deal of information for this essay from the Wikipedia article about Michael Lotito, which you can get to by clicking here.)
Every once in a while, I just need to read about something or think about something that makes me just sort of say “well, uh…yeah. It’s, uh…well, there it is.”
I’ve spent a good chunk of my life writing about things, and have a passion for finding just the right words to articulate exactly what I’m trying to say, or exactly how I feel about something. Consequently, I’m drawn to things where I just cannot think of any words to describe exactly how I feel about them. By trying to write about something in which I literally haven’t the words to fully express myself, I am giving myself an impossible task, and though I never fully succeed at it, I always feel as if I’ve stretched my writing muscles.
Given this, I give you Michael Lotito.
Before I go on, I once again remind you: I honestly do not have words to fully express my reaction to Michael Lotito. We’re getting into an area in which, as I discuss this man, the best I can do is just say something like “so…Michael Lotito. There he is. Yep, Michael Lotito.”
I don’t even know where to begin here. Perhaps I’ll just imagine a group of people discussing something interesting that they’ve done in their lives.
I would perhaps discuss my appearance, years ago, on the game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”
Megan would perhaps discuss working at The Kennedy Library, archiving the mountain of sympathy mail that Jacqueline Kennedy received after John’s death.
My friend Linda would perhaps discuss her visit to Machu Picchu.
My friends Laurie and Joe would perhaps discuss their year living with the indigenous people in remote Argentina.
We’re Michael Lotito in that room, he would lean back, and say “well, over the course of two years, I ate a Cessna airplane.”
He would not be lying.
Michael Lotito turned a mental affliction into a career. He had pica, the condition that causes the afflicted to eat, well, anything. Lotito, who performed under the name “Monsieur Mangetout (which translates roughly to ‘Mr. Eat it All’),” did, indeed, eat anything: metal, glass, rubber, you name it.
Doctors determined that his digestive system had an unusually thick lining, so Lotito was, at least according to him, able to eat what he ate without any discomfort. He would break down his gastronomic conquests into bite sized chunks, and then he’d tuck in. Shopping carts, bicycles, television sets, chandeliers, beds, skis…you name it, he ate it.
He consumed the Cessna over a two-year period, from 1978 to 1980. He supposedly, when performing, consumed about a kilogram of metal (2.2 pounds) a day. It is estimated that between 1959 and 1997, he consumed around nine tons of metal.
His method apparently involved drinking large amounts of mineral oil to help the things he ate wind their way through his system. He also claimed that passing these things never hurt. I’ll take his word on that, and prefer to immediately think of something else…anything else.
Lotito received a brass plaque from Guinness to commemorate the unusual eating records he set. He celebrated by eating the plaque.
I really have nothing more to say at this point. As I said, though I have searched mightily for the words, and I have none. The most I can say is that because of Michael Lotito, it is possible to use the following sentence and indeed refer to an actual event that occurred:
The man passed a Cessna.
I’m going to stop writing now.