When I was a child I loved to go to a baseball game. Indulging in a hot dog and an ice cream cone was always the highlight. Today, that childhood delight has become a nightmare.
After waiting patiently in the concession line for fifteen minutes, it was finally my turn to order.
“I would like two hot dogs, please,” I responded.
“Do you want regular dogs or jumbo?” asked the clerk.
“One of each would be fine.”
“Do you want smokies, regular wieners, beef wieners or chicken wieners?” replied the lady.
“Make the regular dog a chicken wiener and the jumbo one a Smokey,” I replied without skipping a beat.
“ Cheese or chili on either one sir?” asked the clerk.
“ Put cheese on the regular chicken dog and chili and cheese on the jumbo Smokey, please.”
“How about mustard, ketchup, relish or salsa?”
“Put a little mustard and relish on the regular dog and just ketchup on the jumbo Smokey,” I replied.
“Do you want any sauerkraut or onions on either dog?”
“I would like some sauerkraut on the jumbo Smokey and some onions on the regular dog – that’s the chicken dog that is already plastered with cheese, mustard and relish.”
“No problem sir.”
Would this infernal selection process never end?
“Sir, do you want raw or fried onions on the regular chicken dog with the cheese, mustard and relish?”
“Fried onions on both if you don’t mind,” I replied.
“Anything to drink sir,” responded the unruffled clerk.
“No thank you, but I also would like two ice cream cones, please.”
“What flavors do you want sir?”
For a moment I tried to think of a flavor that would compliment my hot dog orders, but they did not carry Pepto –Bismol or Maalox flavored ice cream.
“You can have the usual vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry or one of our special flavors for July – Rocky Chocolate Minty Mist, Barbeque flavored Maple Walnut or Pistachio Purple Passion Fruit.”
“Wow, what a delightful selection!” I thought.
“I’ll take one Rocky Chocolate Minty Mist and one Pistachio Purple Passion Fruit,” I decided.
“Single, double or triple scoop?” the lady inquired.
“I think one scoop each should more than be enough to add the finishing touch to the gourmet hot dogs.”
“Sir, would you like your ice cream in a cup or a cone?”
“Regular, sugar or waffle cone, sir?”
“Regular cones to go along with our regular hot dogs please,” I replied with a little frustration.
“I thought one of your hot dogs was jumbo,” the clerk retorted.
“That’s correct. It was just a manner of speaking.”
“Would you like your cones dipped, sir?”
“What are my choices?” I moaned attempting to bring this buying extravaganza to a close.
“You can either have a chocolate or caramel dip and then one topping of Smarties, colored sprinkles or peanut butter bits,” she replied.
“Just sprinkle a little bit of all three toppings on the cones,” I said in desperation.
“That will be ninety cents extra for three kinds of toppings,” the clerk informed me.
My knees began to buckle as I looked into her eyes and pleaded, “That is OK, just please hurry.”
“That will be $19.00 for the two dogs and two cones.”
I gave her a twenty and told her to keep the change.
“I am sorry,” she said, “but the management does not allowed us to accept tips.”
She held out a wrinkled dollar bill to me as change.
Since my hands were full with the two hot dogs and the two cones, I looked at her with an expression of hopeless acceptance and said, “ OK, just stick the money in the jumbo Smokey – the one with the chili and cheese, the ketchup and sauerkraut, and the pile of fried onions.”
I returned to my seat, a beaten man. I ate my Pistachio Purple Passion Fruit ice cream first to settle my galloping stomach and didn’t even taste the dollar bill when I wolfed down the jumbo Smokey!
It probably had something to do with the indigestion and nightmares I experienced last night!