The Hot Dog Man

April 17, 2006

Justine and I are enjoying a brisk spring Saturday on Whyte Avenue. It’s cold, but not cold enough to stop us from indulging in one of Mother Nature’s finest works of culinary art: The Mighty Hot Dog. We stop at the hot dog shack and order up. Just ahead of us, a young jock buys an odd looking man a Jumbo Dog. The man is very grateful, says he’s been looking at these hot dogs for three days and now it’s like a victory to have one. Guy’s got a few months on his face; rusted jeans and dirty steel toes, probably needs a wash. He has no jacket, save a dirty patchwork quilt draped across his shoulders. He’s taking great care and time in loading up his dog with a medley of condiments. And when I say “loading up”, I mean REALLYLOADING UP”. I can’t help but watch and chuckle. “Load that fucker up,” I say, “screw tomorrow!” He throws on heaps of sauerkraut, several spoonfuls of corn relish, a crazy amount of pickles, and to top it all off, a lethal amount of hot sauce. I know that I encouraged him, but wow, this guy’s asking for a serious bout of heartburn. When he finishes, his dog looks like a freakish salad with a bit of pink tubesteak poking out on the ends. “Uh sorry,” he chuckles, “I didn’t mean to be in the way.” As something of a hot dog connoisseur, I appreciate this man’s disregard for condiment conventions. Some may view such excess as a taint on the dog. Not I. When it comes to hot dog condiments, too much is just enough.

There is something more to this man. There is an air of bemused contentment about him, like he knew the score and knew that we didn’t. He takes great pleasure in making his dog a masterpiece. He looks very happy chowing down on his super-loaded dog. Justine and I sit in the alley and enjoy our modestly dressed dogs. From our concrete seats, we talk and watch the people walk by. Hot Dog man has gone now, off walking somewhere. We think of the Hot Dog man, with his blanket coat and grizzled, world weary grin. We smile. He made our day.

Vignette #60

3 reader comments (closed)

1

Rich

Long live the dog hot!

Apr 17, 2006 • 09:19

2

john perdue

I read on the internet you had announced your candidacy for presidencey of the united states. That you have the idea of letting the popular vote decide what laws the people should have, to govern themselves. That the people should also decide policy, through a popular vote. Policy such as war, health care, pollution control, drug legalization, etc.
Well, any ideas for how you’re gonna capture the popular imagination on this.
I’ll look for your name come time to vote, if I’m still around.

Apr 18, 2006 • 19:50

3

gravel

Thanks for commenting, John.

My campaign is actually quite simple. I plan to capture the popular imagination by staging a series of publicity stunts involving Penthouse models and giraffes. I can’t reveal too much more than that, but trust me, when I seize the Democratic leadership, this great nation of ours won’t know what hit it.

Stay tuned. Details to come.

Apr 19, 2006 • 08:32

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StreetRag is an urban weblog and podcast about the city of Edmonton, which is located in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is authored by Edmonton-based writer, web advocate, and poet Michael Gravel and is updated frequently with written urban vignettes, amateurish photographs, deuteronomous audio material, barely coherent musings and rambling ecumenical treatises. StreetRag is a love letter to a lonely prairie burg struggling with its big city ambitions and small-town feel.

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