The Great Triple Baconator This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

October 17, 2017
One thousand, eight-hundred and fifty: the number of calories required to create a masterpiece. Three juicy quarter-pound meat patties, draped in applewood bacon and American cheese, adorned with mayonnaise and ketchup, fitted between no ordinary bun, but a premium bun. Each ingredient harmonizes ever so magnificently in this magnum opus of fast food. Each bite begets the sweet sound of a thousand violins, the cascading strum of celestial harps, the trumpets, the horns, the entire orchestra! Here in this symphonic heaven, worries cease to exist. No matter that grease is dripping down my chin or that ketchup has somehow managed to reach my forehead. Truly, the Wendy’s signature Triple Baconator is no mere delicacy, but an experience.

I will never forget my first encounter with the Great Triple Baconator.

It was a late Saturday night in mid-October. The debate team had just survived a long day of brutal competition and, as a result, was in desperate need of nourishment. Spotting a Wendy’s, the only restaurant open for miles at this time of night, in button-up shirts and pencil skirts we scuttled across the parking lot toward the fluorescent yellow and red hues of the Promised Land. With a swing of the door, we were embraced by the consoling scent of all things deep-fried.

I took my place in line next to a group of senior boys who, despite my growing fondness for upperclassmen throughout the season, had remained an intimidating bunch, each one nearly twice my size. I studied the menu as I overheard them brainstorming their own dinner selections: breaded chicken sandwiches, chocolate Frostys, fries – had innovation run its course? Just as I was ready to settle for some chicken nuggets, my eyes were graced by none other than the Holy Grail of fine dining.

One boy asked what I was planning to order. I pointed to the monstrosity basking in all its electric glory on the menu.

“Wendy’s Triple Baconator?” He laughed. “That burger’s nearly as big as you! There’s no way you’ll finish it.”

He had a point. At the age of 14, I had barely achieved a menacing height of five foot two and the upper body strength of a party balloon. As a result, I often found myself calling upon others for assistance with ridiculously commonplace tasks, like reaching high shelves and opening packages of fruit snacks.

“Tell you what,” the boy said, grinning, “if you can finish your Triple Baconator before any of us can finish ours, we’ll pay for it.”

I accepted the challenge.

The odds were stacked against me: Anatomically, the average 18-year-old male undoubtedly had a greater stomach capacity than the average 14-year-old female. Statistically, it was quite likely that one of the three boys would finish before I could even come close. Even the cashier, foreseeing my defeat, attempted to steer me toward something more “my speed.” A taco salad, perhaps?

But I was determined.

I soon found myself face-to-face with the Great Triple Baconator. At this moment, 1,850 calories stood between me, my pride, and more importantly, a free meal. From the first bite of the grand feast, each mouthful inspired an exultant fanfare, each swallow, a burst of applause.

I emerged victorious with a satisfied stomach and an even more satisfied wallet.

Since that night, I’ve come across more substantive challenges – rounds against nationally ranked debaters, formidable piano concertos. But no matter how small I may feel at times, I’ve learned to take each challenge bite by bite. I’ve learned to speak a little louder, to stand a little taller, to tackle even the greasiest Triple Baconators in life unapologetically. Now, I find myself with an awakened tenacity, always hungry for more.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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