I’ve always been a fan of Italian Ice. Not any kind though — strictly lemon. Aside from chocolate frozen yogurt in a wafer cone, it’s probably my favorite summer treat. And for Italian Ice lovers like myself, this city is like striking gold. Every corner you turn, you have a nice young lady or gentleman asking you if you would like to sample some. Sure I will, miss, thank you for asking! Your coworker a couple blocks back just gave me a spoonful of lemon, so how about I try some lemon?

Unfortunately, I thought it would be a fun idea to enter into a challenge of eating my beloved Italian Ice as fast as possible for the enjoyment of City Paper readers. Silly me.

I know what you’re thinking. Why would you willingly subject yourself to brain freeze? This is a very good question. Luckily, I don’t get brain freeze. I get throat freeze. So, I smugly volunteered.

Game time arrived, and my other two male competitors backed out, including Managing Editor Chris Haire (what pansies), so it was me, CP intern Allie Rice, and Calendar Editor Erica Jackson. Needless to to say, they seemed less than thrilled. While Erica admitted defeat before we even left the office, Allie noted her competitive streak, and I prepared myself for battle.

With cameras in tow, we made our way down the Market, stopping at the first Italian Ice stand we found. Although the cart girl was very pleasant, the nearby restaurant fan was too loud for Joshua Curry, our cameraman, to film our wailing and complaining, so we trudged on down to King Street, where the showdown commenced.

Our new Italian Ice server was very friendly and looked slightly skeptical when she heard our plan, but promptly handed us our mango, lemon, and cherry “doubles,” gave us a countdown, and watched us suffer.

The following three minutes and 45 seconds were a slow and painful blur. After the first five bites, my eyes were watering, and my insides were feeling like the Antarctic. Cursing and spurting half-English, we got casually dismissed as a bunch of freaks by passing families. Erica was out after about 10 bites, but Allie and I were neck and neck. Numbness set in half-way through, and I was good to go to the end. Victory.

I may not have gotten a post-grad job that day, but I did win an Italian Ice eating contest. That one’s for you, Mom.