If you remember (and maybe you don’t, since hot dogs probably cause memory loss), I calculated the approximate number of hot dogs I’ve eaten in my life. Using 50 hot dogs per year as an average, plus the 36-minute figure, I determined my lifespan will be shortened by 2-1/2 months. This is not exactly a frightening scenario compared to a six-, seven- or eight-decade time period.
Then I continued reading the email and discovered the person believes that when it comes to hot dogs, any number greater than zero is a health crisis just waiting to happen. The email concluded with this gentle piece of advice: “All processed meats should be OUTLAWED!!!!” (Sometimes I think the primary thing that should be outlawed are hysterical declarations that things someone doesn’t like should be outlawed.)
I freely admit that hot dogs are not good for you. And although I like the taste of hot dogs, there are many other foods that taste a lot better. But unlike any other food, hot dogs have a very strong sentimental value. When I eat a hot dog I can close my eyes and be transported instantly to Fenway Park in 1967. I was 10 years old and my dad took me to my first ever Red Sox game. Everything about that trip flooded my senses: the sparkling green of the grass, the bright blue sky, the shimmering white uniforms worn by the Sox players, and the odd gold socks and white shoes worn by the Kansas City A’s. Yup, that was their last year in KC before moving to Oakland.
When James Earl Jones gave his famous speech in the movie “Field of Dreams,” he instead could have said, “The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been hot dogs....Hot dogs have marked the time.” As long as he was standing in front of a beautiful baseball diamond, it still would’ve been one of the most stirring moments in cinema history.
So, I’m not apologizing for liking hot dogs. And to that gentleman who wrote to me, just remember that if hot dogs are outlawed, only outlaws will eat hot dogs.