As I write this, it is July 19th, one of our nation’s most sacred holidays. Today is National Hot Dog Day. However, by the time you read this, the special day will have come and gone. I hope you remembered this wonderful holiday and celebrated it like all true Americans by calling in sick to work and enjoying a hot dog omelet for breakfast, a heaping serving of franks and beans for lunch, and a few grilled wienies with mustard and sauerkraut for dinner.
If you missed this holiday on the 19th, a part of me questions your patriotism, but mostly, I feel sorry for you. But don’t despair, you can have a belated celebration — and avoid being called before a congressional committee investigating Un-American activities — by calling in sick to work right now and enjoying a hot dog omelet for breakfast, a heaping serving of franks and beans for lunch, and a few grilled wienies with mustard and sauerkraut for dinner.
News reports cite figures from the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, which claim that Americans will eat approximately 7 billion hot dogs during the summer season — from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
Those news stories prompted two immediate thoughts: first, there actually is such a thing as the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council? Wow, I wonder if they’re hiring?
My second thought was: 7 billion?! Really? I love hot dogs more than life itself, but that number seems awfully high. If you divide the number of people in this country, about 320 million, into 7 billion, that works out to almost 22 hot dogs per person during a 14-week period. Of course, one-and-a-half hot dogs per week in no big deal for someone like me. But there are millions of people in this country (including the lovely lady to whom I’m married) who wouldn’t eat a hot dog if they were starving and it was the last morsel of food on earth. I question the patriotism of each and every one of these people (including the lovely lady to whom I’m married).
Additionally, there are many infants and elderly citizens who cannot eat hot dogs. So, it’s up to the rest of us to do our patriotic duty and make sure America reaches that 7 billion figure. Doing some quick calculations in my head (always a questionable move), I figure each of us needs to wolf down close to 50 doggies during these summer months. Well, as Patrick Henry said, “Give me wieners, or give me death!”
And speaking of death, there is someone besides my lovely bride who thinks I should cut hot dogs completely out of my diet. That’s right, it’s none other than my primary care physician, Dr. Phineas T. Killjoy. The situation is so depressing, I was forced to write new lyrics to a blues song. Although when I was finished, it turns out the lyrics go to the tune “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” not exactly a standard in most Chicago blues clubs.
(With apologies to Judy Garland)
Somewhere on a new gas grille
There’s a dog that I dreamed of
Mustard and ‘kraut on top
Somewhere near that new gas grille
I am blue
And the dreams of my stomach
No longer will come true
The doctor said, “You’re gonna die
Your eating habits make me cry
Can’t you see?
“Those hot dogs are made out of junk
Your arteries are full of gunk
They are not health-y”
Somewhere by a new gas grille
They are eating some weinies
Why then, oh why, can’t I?
If other people do not die
While eating hot dogs
Why, oh why, can’t I?