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The Perilous Pursuit Of A Hot Dog

You shall not pass!

Have you ever been in a Maverik convenience store? It’s a lot like a 7-11 or a Conoco or a Chevron, but woven into the most wonderful cocoon of weird ad copy.

Cashiers are “Adventure Guides.” Ringing up someone’s purchase is a quest on par with setting out for Mount Doom with the One Ring.

Instead of “getting a refill on a Diet Pepsi,” you shoot it down your gullet with an elephant rifle. Buying a bag of chips is like bringing down an entire pride of lions with a bag full of throwing stars. Getting the Adventure Guides to give you the key to the restroom is every bit as harrowing as getting caught in a snare, then accidentally gnawing the wrong foot off as you set yourself free.

But I was in Maverik because I was craving a hot dog. I’m not sure how the Maverik ad writers have decided to refer to a hot dog purchase, but it’s probably along the lines of riding two galloping gorillas through an exploding minefield with one foot perched on each of their backs as marauding reptiles try to discharge venom into your vulnerable eyeballs.

SSSSSS.

I wanted one. Oh…I wanted one.

The craving unlike any other

Hot dogs are pretty gross. I know it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love them. And even though I like fine, fancy hot dogs, sometimes I want a rubbery, gray, bumpy hot dog that’s been sitting on the rollers in a convenience store.

This was such a day. On days like this, I would brave anything for a hot dog.

I swung through the front door on a vine, letting go just before I flew into the mouth of the T-Rex. A tribe of pygmies were huddled around the Ho-Hos, but I did a quick back flip and kicked their blow guns. The darts from their blow guns sedated an army of hungry yetis, but before the pygmies could harvest the yeti meat, a chasm opened up between them and their prey.

They howled their way down into the abyss. I did not mourn their passing.

I jumped my motorcycle over the rack of Cosmopolitans and Maxims and grabbed an empty 44 oz cup. I filled it with Diet Pepsi, but the force of the fountain nearly knocked me down. But finally it was done and I made it over to the wiener stand.

There they were. Hot dogs. They glistened and turned like rubbery larva. Josh…you came. Release us!

This part is true

I opened up the hot dog oven and set my drink down. I knocked my cup off the edge of the counter and it fell to the ground and spilled. I leaned down quickly and that’s when I heard the sound:

SSSSS.

But I hadn’t been blinded by venom. No, I had knelt down and pressed my forehead into the bank of hot dog rollers. It didn’t really burn me, but it did make a noise and it scared the crap out of me. I went to the bathroom and checked my head in the mirror, but there was no scar–just a big ugly stain in the shape of a cylinder.

Back in semi-reality

The inside of the store was quiet when I left the restroom. The Adventure guides had all been slaughtered. “You were too beautiful for this world,” I told each of them, before performing super-mystical rites that sent them peacefully into the next world.

I made it to the parking lot and grabbed the leg of a helicopter that was taking off. I waved my hot dog at the pilot and he did a bunch of loops.

Then we got into a horrible battle with an entire squadron of pterodactyls.  I ate the hot dog really fast as I plummeted to Earth.

How I survived this adventure, I’ll never know.   I must have some greater purpose to fulfill, and more hot dogs to eat.

Josh

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  • Laura Cococcia January 24, 2010, 6:36 am

    I just spit out my coffee laughing at the potential visual of you hanging on to a helicopter with the hot dog.

    Not to make this all about me … but I also have a perilous hot dog pursuit story. I was 16, wanted one so badly and walked across the street to the “Hot Dog Man” in our town. I didn’t look both ways and I got hit by a car (it’s a small town, people drive slowly). I was completely fine, it’s just embarrassing – people make fun of me because of the hot dog. I think they’re getting a bad rap, or they just invite a ton of dramatic adventure stories.

    • Josh Hanagarne January 24, 2010, 12:24 pm

      Wow, you were really, completely unharmed?

  • Greg January 24, 2010, 7:33 am

    This is just hilarious! And touches a nerve somewhere, I think. Somehow, I’m betting we all know just how bad hot dogs are, yet I ate 2 of them yesterday.

    Fortunately I didn’t have to fight my kids for them… Not sure I would’ve won that battle.

  • Laura January 24, 2010, 7:48 am

    I love mystery meat. Especially hot dogs. even during my most militant vegetarians days, I made the exception for hot dogs. I justified it by saying that they weren’t *really* meat.

    (I’ve been following your blog for a couple of months, Josh, but this is the first time I’ve ever posted. See how hot dogs inspire people!)

  • Heather January 24, 2010, 9:05 am

    Wow. . . . that’s not just a hot dog. . . . that’s a MAVERIK hot dog! I’ve eaten lots of stuff out of desperation–almost-stale cookies, day-old pizza, week-old doughnuts—-but a convenience store hot dog is one of those barriers I just plain won’t cross. I’ve even eaten leftover Chinese take-out for breakfast, which is something my mom won’t do. This was great! And hilarious!

  • Boris Bachmann January 24, 2010, 9:07 am

    I think everything should be labeled ‘maverik’, ‘rogue’, or ‘tactical’.

    I could eat a box of Ho-Hos or swiss cake rolls all by myself no problem – pygmy tendencies I’m thinking.

    I’ll be thinking of this one tomorrow when I drop by the 7-11.

    • Josh Hanagarne January 24, 2010, 12:23 pm

      Me too. I’m pretty good about my eating unless someone puts something in front of me. But if you mailed me a carton of ho-hos, I’d eat them all in an hour.

  • Adam Di Stefano January 24, 2010, 9:28 am

    Josh – At your size, if you hung off a helicopter, I’m pretty sure it would completely throw off the balance of the craft, and a squadron of pterodactyls would be the least of your worries… but I digress.

    Seriously, though, if you haven’t already, you need to try your hand at some short fiction. This post, for instance, is something I could definitely see in McSweeney’s.

    • Josh Hanagarne January 24, 2010, 12:22 pm

      Thanks Adam. That’s something I hadn’t thought of. I write a lot of short fiction, and I love Dave Eggers, but my relationship with McSweeney’s runs hot and cold.

  • Tim January 24, 2010, 9:55 am

    Josh:

    I enjoyed this…the description of your adventure was hilarious. I, too, have had hot dog and other food cravings and will now always think of having my own personal helicopter in these times of need. Seriously, if you ever have another hot dog craving and want to put a little extra gas in your copter, you need to come to Chicago, where the hot dog is so revered…there are books devoted to this (e.g. “Never Put Ketchup on a Hotdog”) and there seems to be a hot dog stand on every other corner. I enjoyed your adventure today.

    • Josh Hanagarne January 24, 2010, 12:21 pm

      Deal. I’m hoping to be in Chicago later this year, and I will find you and we will eat hot dogs.

  • Srinivas Rao January 24, 2010, 11:43 am

    That was pretty hilarious. Only you could take the story of purchasing a hot dog and turn it into such a masterpiece :). I love hot dogs too, especially at a baseball game. But I always wonder if they taste better at a ball game because they cost 8 bucks.

    • Josh Hanagarne January 24, 2010, 12:21 pm

      I think they do, Srinivas. Anything tastes better when it’s $8, unless it’s a cooked carrot. I really did burn my head on that roller, and it really did make a noise. It was a weird day.

  • Daisy January 24, 2010, 11:54 am

    This reminds me of the adventure of buying coffee at the gas station convenience store… oh, what we do for a little Dashboard Joe! (The T-Rex must have been on vacation; I only had to brave a few Velociraptors. But nothing, no nothing, gets between me and my coffee.)

    • Josh Hanagarne January 24, 2010, 12:20 pm

      Don’t let anything get between you and yours!

  • Eric January 24, 2010, 12:20 pm

    A most excellent adventure. I had a good laugh at the real part, which just proves that real life is funnier than fiction. Great story, I really enjoyed it.

  • Ayelet January 24, 2010, 12:39 pm

    I got so caught up with the story, I didn’t want it to stop. My dad, who’s been a vegetarian for over 25 years, used to break his vegetarianism periodically for a hot dog and still talks about wanting one (although the veggie ones satisfy us both now!)

  • Niel January 24, 2010, 10:07 pm

    This post certainly seems appropriate for a Will Ferrell quote.

    “You’re…you’re crazy man. I like you, but you’re crazy.”