A hot dog is a complicated food.
Some hot dogs are a banal and often sad food product to consume. How can something that rolls ominously for hours every day inside of a 7/11 be an enjoyable part of one’s dining experience? The hotdog often finds you in a dark moment, a sordid time in your life, where you find yourself choosing between the rest of your life and 5 minutes of fleeting satisfaction.
However, the hot dog does not live solely in the dark corners of our existence. There are establishments that elevate the possible sandwich, and breathe new life into its past. These temples of frankfurter worship create a world where the hot dog is king, and every other food item is a lesser, peasant treat.
Then there’s the ballpark hot dog, the true pinnacle of hot dog art.
The ballpark hot dog requires you to yell for it, to let the world know your deep desire for the mysterious meat cocktail encased in collagen and cellulose. Your rafter-shaking shout to the hot dog purveyor should inform your section that you are a person of taste, and you hold the reins of your destiny.
After you have called the noble hot dog guy to your row, you must then execute some swift and thorough communication, most of which could be non-verbal. You hold up one finger, the hot dog vendor reaffirms your polite one-fingered gesture and then begins to build your meat product feast.
As your hot dog is being pulled from the murky dog water from whence it was matured, the time comes for some tough decisions. How far will you go to find hot dog Nirvana? How much are you willing to risk to cultivate the perfect sporting event culinary experience? Is your trust in your own condiment decisions strong enough to withstand the disappointment of getting it wrong? What kind of concessions are you willing to make for your dream meat concessions?
All of these questions need answers as your hot dog enters its final resting place: the warm bun.
“You want Ketchup, mustard, relish, onions, what?” is the question asked to you. You answer, hoping that you’re right, that you did everything you could, that your decisions do not come back to haunt you later on.
Now, however, comes the biggest exercise of trust: You need to get your hot dog and exchange it for money.
Normally the assembly line method is the best way to get your food item and exchange it for money. While the hot dog is being sent your way, your money is traveling in the opposite direction.
That means that everyone between you and the vendor, will be touching your food before it reaches you. This used to leave your hot dog experience unscathed, but in the future, this practice will more than likely fall by the wayside.
But think about the amount of trust we used to put, literally, into the hands of strangers at sporting events. We’ve all seen those fans skip the soap and water portion of their bathroom experience in order to see an at-bat or a penalty shot. It has happened. We all implicitly trusted each other. It was a part of the experience.
The transaction has been completed. The reward is yours. You have done it. With your hot dog in hand, you have acquired food, completing the same ancient quest that our nomadic ancestors also embarked on. You are the peak of human existence.
You have also paid $6.00 for a hot dog that was touched by five strangers, but that’s the truest ballpark experience, isn’t it?
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