These days, Tommy (Muskrat) Greene is contemplating clams.
Greene, 47, a marina worker from Deale, Md., became known as a world-class diner two years ago when he made mincemeat of two so-called gluttony titles in The Guinness Book of World Records. In less than three minutes, Greene gulped 288 shucked oysters; in a mere 2 minutes and 43.95 seconds, he vanquished 220 sauteed snails.
After he defeated the defending snail-swallowing champion in London in 1985, Greene's special talent brought him fame beyond Deale, an Anne Arundel County community of 2,000 where he serves as unofficial mayor. But the attention did not go to his head, nor particularly to his stomach; Greene, who stands 5-feet-10, has not moved beyond his standard competing weight of 230 pounds.
"He's the same old Muskrat," said Pat Tannouse, the owner of the Pierpoint Restaurant in Deale, where Greene can be found every evening at 6 p.m. "We wonder about him sometimes -- how anybody can eat 300 oysters in one sitting. But we do love him."
Greene, who lives on a houseboat and spends his free time tinkering with his "fleet" of three boats, said he always did have a healthy appetite. His first eating contest came about in 1979 when a friend who had observed his skills entered him in a District snail-eating competition for charity. In seven contests, he has never been defeated and never become ill.
Currently, Greene is preparing to challenge a Washington state man who holds the world record in clam-eating to a duel in Deale at the end of the month. He has also shown interest in a possible shrimp title.
As always, Greene, who is known more as an eater than as a talker, makes light of his accomplishments. "I eat a lot," he said. "That's all."