No. 11 >> The Hot Dog Issue: Make me one with everything.

MAKING THE WORK // Make Me One With Everything

I’m on a writing break. I take writing breaks when I feel like I’m going to lose my mind. I do what any other insane person does and I go find something else to lose my mind about. Like picking the “right” paint colour for the living room walls. Have you ever been undone trying to pick out the right white paint for your walls? Try picking out the right grey.
 
After hours of research on Pinterest, eight or nine trips to different paint stores, and yet more hours Googling paint names like “Gothic Arch” and “Smoked Truffle”, we finally painted the living room this weekend. The colour we chose has an inelegant name: “Pleather Please”. I’ve renamed it “Corinthian Charcoal”.
 
On Saturday morning, after the living room was cleared and cleaned, our project station set up, and painting pajamas donned, I re-watched YouTube videos to refresh me on the best painting techniques. I then instructed A., who’s painted before, on the best painting techniques. “Okay, boss?” I asked to see if he’d got it.
 
“‘Boss’ is what people call you when you’re not the boss,” A. replied.
 
“You can be the boss of other things,” I said.
 
Considering all the angst over the colour, the actual painting went quite well, though I can’t say it was entirely painless. At the start, I was trying to shove a roller onto a roller cage. It was being tricky, so I had to anchor the roller cage against my upper body. I shoved the roller on with some effort and a confusing, pinching sensation. Somehow the roller had attached to my right mammary. A. had to gently detach it while I took deep breaths. “Don’t feel bad,” he said. “I once got my todger caught in a dresser drawer.”
 
“Do I want to know how you did that?” I asked.
 
“I’d just gotten my socks and smalls out to get dressed and it was hanging in the wrong spot, that’s all,” A. said.
 
After we got the first coat of paint on, it looked better than the Builder’s Beige, but the undertone was too violet. I was hoping for brown undertones. A. assured me that it’d be better with the second coat and, to prevent tears and despondency, handed me a wallop of gin with a token bit of mix.
 
The next day, after the second coat went on, we agreed to not make a decision about whether or not we needed to get more paint for a third coat until after lunch. As we sat on the balcony eating our hot dogs (we allow ourselves one package of the high-quality kind every summer), me fretting about the colour, I thought of that old joke in which the Dalai Lama goes to a hot dog stand and says, “Make me one with everything.”
 
'Please make me at one with the grey paint,' I thought.
 
Then I remembered the second part of the joke. The Dalai Lama hands the hot dog vendor a $20 bill, which the vendor puts in his till. The Dalai Lama asks for his change and the smart-ass hot dog vendor says, “Change comes from within.”
 
A. and I went back into the living room after lunch and looked at the paint, which was already dry to the touch. Was it the perfect grey? Nope. It’s no more perfect than my writing is after hours of obsession. Is it good enough? Grudgingly, yes. So is this some kind of instructive lesson on perfectionism? If it is, I can guarantee you that I’m not going to learn anything from it. Sometimes, change isn’t forthcoming from within. Sometimes, all that’s inside you is the you you’ve always been. And now that I’ve lost my mind over paint chips, I can go back to the writing and maybe it’ll feel a little peaceful. Hot diggity.
 

SEEN & HEARD // Haute Dogs

I grew up with a mother who weaned children off their bottles by giving them wieners straight out of the fridge to suck on. When she was babysitting my little cousin, it wasn’t uncommon to step on one of the sucked on—then eventually chewed on—and discarded wieners. It made me feel very conflicted about hot dogs.
 
Three years ago, when A. and I were leaving Vancouver to move to Toronto, we held an apartment sale to divest ourselves of our possessions. We wanted to make the apartment sale fun, so A. came up with the idea of having a concurrent hot dog sale. I immediately began researching ways to dress up hot dogs. What if I made baguettes for the dogs? What if we only had fancy toppings to go with them? What if they were haute dogs? A. does not often veto my harebrained plans, but he vetoed that one and bought Ball Park Franks and a Heinz triple-pack of condiments.
 
Last week, I came across the most expensive hot dog on the planet, as recorded by Guinness World Records. Sold at Capitol Dawg, in Sacramento, California, the glorified wiener costs $145.49. This is the description:

“The hot dog is composed of an 18-inch, 3/4-pound all-beef, natural-casing, Chicago-style frank, French whole grain mustard, garlic and herb mayo, sautéed shallots, mixed baby greens, applewood and cherry smoked uncured bacon, Swedish moose cheese (costing $200 a pound), chopped tomato, sweetened dried cranberries, a basil olive oil/cranberry-pear-coconut balsamic vinaigrette and fresh ground pepper. It is served on a custom-made herb focaccia roll toasted in white truffle butter.”

For a few extra bucks you can get it in a combo with fries and a soda.  
 
First, since when does “Swedish moose cheese” sound appealing? Second, I can get behind fancying up a hot dog, but over a hundred bucks of fancy? That’s going too far. I’d chew on a good ol’ fashioned wiener before I’d go for that kind of nonsense.
 

CURRENT OBSESSIONS// Mustard Loses at The Hot Dog Derby

I’ve always been accident prone. As a kid, my mishaps included things like twisting my neck in a Slip & Slide accident, breaking my arm showing off at a pubic skate, getting a black eye trying to play tetherball, and falling in the road while running after a bouncy ball when a car was coming. You’d think I’d cringe when kids have similar accidents, right? Nuh-uh. I can't get enough.
 
Last week this silly series of clips of kids falling off of things and making physical miscalculations had me crying. Then, this week, there was a true gift: a video of a kid in a hot dog suit that loses a race because his pants kept falling down. The kid—Mustard—is ahead of Ketchup and Relish when he face plants the first time. A handler helps him up and pulls up his pants, but it keeps happening. The kid’s bun gets dirty. Relish—the least popular condiment of the three—wins the race.