By Tracy Beckerman
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“I want a hot dog!” My husband thrust his menu under my nose and pointed to an admittedly delicious looking picture of a hot dog.
“No, I NEED a hot dog,” he clarified. “I need THIS hot dog!”
I sighed. I could understand if he smelled a hot dog wafting over from the kitchen, or even saw one on a tray passing by. But this was a picture. A stupid picture of a hot dog with a squiggly line of mustard on it. Apparently to him, though, that picture looked so amazing, so savory, so delicious with the imagined steam rising out of it, that he took one look at it and started to drool.
I suppose this might seem like a perfectly normal craving for some people, but it wasn’t for him. With the exception of a very occasional baseball game frank and a rare barbeque hot dog indulgence, he almost never ate hot dogs. For one thing, hot dogs are really, really bad for you and he is generally a pretty healthy eater. Of course, that realization in itself isn’t usually enough to stop him from ingesting something he shouldn’t. However, in this case even he was hard pressed to justify putting something into his body that is the food equivalent of fallout from a nuclear plant leak.
Then there’s the fact that hot dogs give him really, really bad reflux. When he eats a hot dog, he continues to taste it for two or three days … and not in a good way. I’m not sure if this has to do with his body chemistry specifically, or more to do with the aforementioned nuclear waste ingredients. Either way, the point remains that for him, hot dogs, are generally, not dogs.
But for whatever reason, on this particular day he had an undeniable, no holds barred, Frankenfurter-sized hot dog craving.
“Don’t you think it looks good?” he asked dreamily, ogling the picture of the hot dog like it was a bikini-clad centerfold.
“You don’t eat hot dogs,” I reminded him.
“I know. But I want a hot dog. A big beef hot dog with mustard, relish, and sauerkraut,” he demanded. “And maybe a baseball game on the side.”
I shook my head and looked back at the menu. “How about … a Tofutti dog!”
He stared at me incredulously. “Seriously? When Casey Stengel led the Yankees to the World Series in 1958, do you think he ate a Tofutti dog?’
“I heard Casey Stengel was soy-intolerant,” I responded.
“When Nathan’s Hot Dogs opened in Coney Island, do you think they served Tofutti dogs?” he wondered.
“Little known fact. Coney Island is known for it’s excellent tofu,” I informed him.
“Did anyone, anywhere, ever sing, ‘Oh I wish I were an Oscar Meyer TOFU weiner?” he demanded.
“You got me there,” I said.
“Hot dogs are as American as baseball, apple pie and, um… hot dogs!” he insisted. “I’m an American. I WANT A HOT DOG!”
I sighed and took the menu from him.
“Look, Uncle Sam, I get that you want a hot dog, but I’m the one who has to live with you after you eat the hot dog and then listen to you complain for two days about how sick it made you, and then be understanding when you swear you will never, ever eat another hot dog again. So do me a favor, have a Tofutti dog and let’s call it a day.”
He scowled. “Forget it. I’ll pass.”
“Good for you, honey,” I said. “That’s what being an adult is all about. Making tough choices that may not be what you want at the time but you can feel good about later!”
“Are you ready?” Asked our server when she returned to our table.
“Yes!” Exclaimed my husband. “I’ll have a bacon double cheeseburger deluxe with onion rings and a vanilla shake…”
He looked over at me and smiled.
“… but hold the fries.”
Follow Tracy on Twitter at @TracyinSuburbia.
Lost in Suburbia: Take me out to the ballgame
By Tracy Beckerman