Defeat by milk

Defeat+by+milk

Story by Katherine Doan, Staff Writer

I have always had a problem with self-motivation.

I find it hard to will myself to do things that don’t completely thrill me, such as studying, watching golf, and making small bridge models. The only thing that has unfailingly been able to prompt me to attempt even the most ridiculous of tasks is being told that I can’t do something.

And when I was told that I couldn’t drink a gallon of chocolate milk in an hour, I embarked on a short, yet interesting journey that resulted in self discovery, a new outlook on life, but mostly a stained T-shirt.

It all began when a teacher overheard me stating that I once drank three gallons of milk in an evening (which may have been a slight exaggeration). He bluntly told me that my claim was ridiculous and immediately made me a deal. If I could drink a gallon of milk in an hour, I would be exempt from the half-of-your-grade-this-six-weeks project.

I knew I would suckle the teat of victory.

The setup was simple. I sat along the edge of our patio with all the necessary supplies laid out in front of me: a gallon of milk, a glass and determination. After calculating that I needed to drink a little over a cup every 4 minutes, I began my quest.

The first 30 minutes went smoothly. I stayed on schedule, drank the calculated amount of milk every minute and felt confident I could complete the task with time to spare. Then I began the second half of the gallon. That’s when I realized my quest really was impossible.

The average human stomach can hold a maximum of 2 liters, but that varies depending on height, weight and age. Drinking a gallon, or 4 liters, of milk would require doubling my stomach’s max capacity, assuming my stomach could even hold the average capacity, something I hadn’t considered before.

Suddenly, the project didn’t seem as nauseating as the half gallon of chocolate milk staring back at me. Rather than accept defeat, I changed my desired goal. I no longer wished to accomplish the task because it was improbable, and I couldn’t even keep down what I had already consumed.

I debated on concealing the attempt from my teacher altogether, but I couldn’t let a failure like that go unnoticed. The jokes and snide remarks made by those I confided in hurt, but helped me understand that you can learn from a challenge that doesn’t go as planned. As for me, the experience taught me that horrible failures sometimes make the best newspaper stories.