When I was a kid I loved hot dogs. Most kids love hot dogs – they are a fun food. They look ridiculous, are easy to prepare, and taste great with mustard! What’s not to like?
But, believe it or not, one of my most tragic, and silly, memories is from a hot dog.
I was eight years old. My sister and I were playing while my Mom and Grandma were fixing lunch in the kitchen.
“It’s disgusting what they put in hot dogs,” said my Mom.
“Yeah, people lips and tails,” replied my Grandma.
Then they called us into the kitchen to eat lunch. They served us hot dogs.
I pushed my plate away, and refused to eat.
“But you love hot dogs,” my Mom said.
I just shook my head, “no I don’t.”
I did not ask my Mom and Grandma to explain why they were feeding us people lips and tails. And I didn’t freak out.
I did not warn my sister to stop eating her hot dog.
I simply internalized it, then refused to eat a hot dog for the next nine years.
Then flash forward to my teen years. I had been at my friend’s house, and they’d had a barbecue. Hot dogs! Everywhere I looked, everyone was eating these disgusting shards of human flesh! I got home that afternoon and my Mom asked about my day.
“It was fun, but yuck! All they had to eat were hot dogs! Gross!” I said as I made a face.
“I don’t understand why you don’t like hot dogs. You used to love them when you were little,” my Mom replied.
“I don’t like hot dogs because I heard you and Grama talking about how gross they were and how they had people lips and tails in them!”
When I said this out loud, I knew how ridiculous it sounded. I had more common sense than that – I KNEW that no hot dog manufacturer could possibly get away with including human body parts in a hot dog! And I knew my mother would never feed me something so awful!
After my Mom stopped laughing, she told me that my Grandma had not said “people” lips. She’d said “pig” lips. She then added that she never fed my sister and I the crummy hot dogs made from the stuff swept up off the butcher’s floor.
It’s funny how even the most ridiculous and crazy of beliefs are just accepted by us, without question! How many beliefs do we have right now that are so ludicrous that if we were to actually say them out loud we may blush with embarrassment?
Perhaps we are like the ugly duckling, who mistakenly believed he was a rather homely little duck simply because his family told him “you are a rather homely little duck.”
Sometimes beliefs are put upon us by those we trust, those in authority. So we have to have faith that at some point we are guided to the truth. And we can hope that we are intuitive enough to know when a really bogus belief is being pushed on us, and ask questions.
Because after all, it would be a terrible shame to go a lifetime without a hot dog.