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Humor July 2012

Ernie's World

Men With Wieners and the Women Who Love Them

By Ernie Witham

It was our turn to host the annual Fourth of July barbecue, and my wife had left me in charge of the main course after I assured her that I couldn't possibly screw-up something as simple as hot dogs.

Ahh... The Fourth of July. Memories of my youth. Blue skies, a beach full of bikini-clad girls, and me a carefree teenager holding a foot-long wiener. Those were the days.

Fast forward, a lot of years later...

"Your buns have mold," my friend Jody said.

"Excuse me?" I cast a worried glance over my shoulder.

"No. These buns." She held up a package of hot dog rolls that had expired about the same time that disco died.

"Yeah and I'm not too sure about these either." Karen held up a very limp wiener with skin like one of those Shar Pei dogs.

It was our turn to host the annual Fourth of July barbecue, and my wife had left me in charge of the main course after I assured her that I couldn't possibly screw-up something as simple as hot dogs.

She sighed. "Well, at least we've got salad."

"Salad?" said Larry. He works construction and his lunch bucket often doubles as a wheelbarrow.

"Relax," I said. "We guys will simply run out and find us some other hot dogs."

"Now?" asked my wife. "It's almost time to head to the beach for the fireworks."

"I'll buy some ready-to-eat. I mean this is America and it's the Fourth of July. I feel just plain unpatriotic without a wiener in my hand."

Larry and Scott agreed.

So we grabbed a bag of potato chips, which Larry immediately blasted open with his combination pocket knife/blow torch/battery-operated nail gun. Then we ran for the door.

"We'll be back sooner than you can say 'pass the pickles,'" Scott said.

Jody held up an empty jar. "Larry ate the pickles," she yelled.

In just moments we were watching the empty rotisserie at 7-Eleven go round and round.

"Another husband bought them all," said the manager. He grabbed a napkin and dabbed at a tear in the corner of his eye. "Some of those hot dogs had been with us for years."

Scott, the diplomatic one, consoled him, pointing out the fact that he still had half a tank of nacho cheese that certainly must have some history behind it. He was grateful and offered us a deal on Italian Style Slim Jims.

"Use a lotta mustard, who's gonna know?"

"Karen will," Larry said. "She's from Jersey and her family's 'connected.'" We ran for the door.

Across the street, a deli was just closing.

"Please," I said. I took out a small flag and the three of us began singing the national anthem.

She saluted, then said: "Sorry guys. Sold outta hot dogs yesterday, but we got these." She handed us a can of miniature cocktail franks.

We thought about it briefly, but she didn't have any two-inch buns.

"Try the health food restaurant up the street," she said. "It's the only other thing open."

They too were getting ready to close. I stuck my foot in the door just in time.

"Look," I said, holding out my empty hands. "We're wienerless. Don't you have anything..." I looked at her name tag. "...Starlight?"

She smiled. "Well we do have a few dogs left. Would you like the Marrakech Dogs or the Dalai Lama Dogs?"

"What's the difference?" Larry asked.

"The Marrakech is formed from a unique blend of vegetable paste and organically grown grains. It's presented on a bun made of blue corn and rice and served with a side of sun bleached sprouts."

Scott and Larry looked at me. I was almost afraid to ask.

"The Dalai Lama? Well, we start with the freshest tofu..."

I sighed and the three of us headed for the door, years of tradition crashing down around us.

"... then we sprinkle on some de-fatted feta cheese and roll it up into a lovely eggplant shell..."

I thought of my forefathers, the Declaration of Independence, and all the proud wiener-waving men that had come before us.

"... finally we garnish with jicama chips and humus dip..." Starlight paused. "Where are you going?" she asked.

"Home," I mumbled.

"Yeah, maybe there's some potato salad left," said Larry.

I wasn't sure what to expect when we walked into the backyard without any wieners. Women can be funny about things like that. But the last thing I expected was jubilation.

"I don't understand," I said to my wife.

She smiled. "Right after you left, the neighbors came over. They ran out of propane and wondered if they could use our grill to cook their hot dogs."

"We saved you each one," said Karen.

They held out three big fat beautiful hot dogs slathered in mustard, relish, onions and catsup. Shakily I reached for mine. Off in the distance, the sky lit up with the first fireworks.

"We'd better hurry," said Jody. "Before we miss them all."

The women headed for the door.

Larry, Scott and I just stood there. Lumps in our throats, warmness in our hearts, and... thankfully... great big wieners in our hands.

"What a great country," Scott said.

Larry and I took a big bite. We couldn't agree more.

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