I know that nobody ever really wanted to be the Oscar Meyer Weiner Wagon Guy (or Gal) when they grew up (and, even if that had been their youthful ambition, one too many “between the buns” jokes along the way would have eventually dissuaded them from that career path). Not that it wouldn’t be a lot of fun to drive the big hot dog around town–it would–but to have to do it, day in and day out, for a (probably tiny) paycheck, would undoubtedly suck. Knowing all that, I found the dour demeanors of the Oscar Meyer Weiner Wagon Guy (and Gal) that visited Flagstaff the other week to be completely understandable, along with the fact that they exhibited all the bonhomie and joie de vivre of a couple of Secret Service agents on the Betty Ford detail. I even found it understandable that they were neither joyfully touting their product, nor cheerfully pressing buckets of swag into the arms of every passerby. What wasn’t understandable is why, after they had (grumpily) parted with one tiny little piece of swag, they then refused to honor a mother’s desperate plea of “Can I just have one more–I have two children?”
But that’s exactly what happened to me after I had so eloquently (“Hey! Where’s the free stuff?”) convinced Mr. And Mrs. Weiner Wagon to part with one of their precious Oscar Mayer Weiner Whistles. That’s it; just one. Like a couple of Beefeaters being heckled by a tourist, they were immune to my entreaties to help maintain sibling parity by coughing up one more whistle, calming rebuffing my request with a terse, “One each. Move along.” (Ok, they didn’t say “move along”–but they may as well have).
They weren’t even interested when I tried to explain that an earlier incident involving just one cowbell had already led to sibling wars of a magnitude previously unthinkable over one of the lowest instruments on the musical totem pole ( I guess it’s true what they say about “never having too much cowbell”). Nor did they want to hear about how this earlier contretemps had only been solved by giving the offending cowbell to a passing baby, a reverse Solomon-like decision that could not be repeated in this case without grave consequences; after all, you can’t give an Oscar Mayer Weiner Whistle to a baby–it’s a choking hazard. (And besides which, an Oscar Mayer Weiner Whistle is way cooler than a cowbell.)
Their steadfast refusal to help avert the looming crisis meant that there was only one possible solution: I needed to somehow make the Weiner Whistle so uncool to one child that they would rather wear a Barney backpack on the first day of school than touch the whistle. Clyde was out–he doesn’t know what cool is (which, actually, makes him the coolest of all), but Clementine was still a possibility: her cool-o-meter is so finely attuned that she can tell me I’m dressed like a dork even before she sees what I’m wearing.
At first I considered appealing to her vegetarian side, and telling her that the Weiner whistle came with “genuine hot dog flavor” (which, in a way, it does; it is plastic), but I was afraid that once the truth came out I’d be back in my original position. Luckily for me, I recalled the circumstances under which I had gotten the whistle–and from whom–and suddenly the solution was clear: I would simply tell her that the whistle was under some sort of piggy curse, and that whoever was disrespectful enough to actually blow into it was doomed to drive the Weinermobile for all eternity (or until Starbucks called back–whichever came first). Which, for all I knew, could be true. After all, there has to be some explanation for all that surliness besides just standing around in front of a big weenie all day.