Hundreds of spectators gathered to watch Alexander Tominsky take his final bite.
On October 8, a then-unknown man Tweeted a photo of himself tightly gripping a fork and knife as he prepared to tear into the rotisserie chicken on the plate in front of him. "I would like to Invite you all on a journey that I am on," he wrote. "I am eating a rotisserie chicken every day for 30 days. Today is day 11. I will keep you all updated as I get closer to my goal."
That well-seasoned, sodium-laden journey stretched from 30 days to 40 days, and it came to an end over the weekend on a pier near a Philadelphia Walmart with a crowd of hundreds cheering every bite.
Alexander Tominsky, a 31-year-old server at Philadelphia's Barclay Prime steakhouse, watched his online profile grow as he ate one rotisserie chicken after another. As he chewed his way closer to his goal, he posted flyers around the city inviting everyone to join him as he ate his last bird. ("Come watch me eat an entire rotisserie chicken," the just-the-facts style posters read. "The chicken will be consumed on the abandoned pier near Walmart. This is not a party."
But… why? Why would anyone choose to eat one store-bought chicken every single day for almost six straight weeks? Tominsky told the New York Times that he just wanted to provide some kind of semi-meaningless distraction from, you know, everything else that's happening in the world.
"This is just a little bit of an inconvenience and a sacrifice for the joy that it seems to be bringing people," he told the Times. (The outlet also noted that he didn't make any money or otherwise gain anything from his 40 day all-chicken diet. When Perdue Farms offered to send him some free "premium chicken," he turned it down.)
Tominsky told The Takeout that he picked up his daily chicken from a variety of supermarkets and restaurants, including Acme, Boston Market, Giant, Rittenhouse Market, Shop-Rite, and Walmart. "I've tried them all, pretty much," he said.
When Tominsky started his self-imposed chicken challenge, he said it took him about 20 minutes to down the whole bird. As the days accumulated into weeks, and weeks turned into a month, he started to struggle. Near the end of the 40 days, he could spend two hours trying to consume it all.
So yes, this guy just ate a chicken every day, and then he invited the entire city of Philadelphia to watch him eat his last chicken, and they did. There’s nothing more to it than that. Tominsky seems to shrug off any attempt to turn it into something bigger or more symbolic — and people get that, which could be why it garnered such an enthusiastic following online. (Even Tominsky's Twitter bio just says "I ate chicken.")
"There's no broader meaning here. I don't think there’s anything to take out of it as far as a moral lesson,” one attendee who watched Tominsky down his 40th chicken told Billy Penn. "It's just a guy eating chicken."
And sometimes that's enough.