The Hot Dog and The Hamburger

November 16, 2009

I had to be about 8 years old, which would make my best friend growing up, Chili Bean, around 7 yrs old. What would take place on a sunny day at Venice Beach would explain a psychological pattern that would show itself in various ways over the next 30 years!!

My friend’s mom decided that it would be good for us kids to take a long walk down the beach; you know, mellow us out a bit. Now, mind you, being that we’re just kids, starting the walk from Bay Street in Santa Monica and making our way down to the Venice Circle might as well have been a hundred miles, but the payoff would be huge – if we didn’t kill each other with our antics and maintained a small measure of civility along the way, we would be rewarded with a hot dog from the local food stand. Well, what seemed to be hours later, we finally arrived, surprisingly with no cuts and bruises. I can still remember my hands churning within each other like a mad professor as my anticipation grew for the “hot dog of the century”. My best friend felt the same – “Bro, we’re so getting the killer hot dogs!!” Well, Moms made good on her promise and there we were, two surf rats, salty and sandy, brimming with stoke as we’re about to eat our own hot dogs loaded up with the works.

Now stop for a moment and allow your minds to go to “Slo-Mo” vision – you know, like in the movies. So I’m watching my friend as I’m eating my hot dog and as he takes a bite of his own, the hot dog itself teeter’s up and out of the bun, does a double-tossed backflip and blam, hits the sandy concrete below our feet!!! Now being the best friend that I am, I immediately double over and bust out in laughter. As for Chili Bean, he does the complete opposite – as if wearing a pink tutu and stubbing his toe while attempting to twirl, he breaks out in this wussy cry and makes a total scene!! Yeah, it only makes me laugh harder! Well, as you can imagine, Moms comes running over and cradles her little baby girl, asking him what’s wrong and what happened. And so pointing to the ground and spilling out words through his “sincere whimpering”, he tells her how his hot dog dropped and that his entire world is shattered! No worries, Moms to the rescue – “Babe, would you like me to get you another hot dog?” Now at this point his wussy whimpering gets even louder – uh, are boys supposed to hit such high notes? – and while shaking his head from side to side to convey “no”, Moms suggests to him that perhaps “he would like a hamburger instead!?” Oh yeah, now his head is going up and down! Hold up, how is this fair! Why does he get to upgrade? This wasn’t part of the deal. Whatevers. So there we were minutes later, sitting down, me eating my Hot Dog and Chili Queen eating his Hamburger – all the while he’s looking at me with this snide grin and saying – “Ah ha, you got that lame hotdog and I gotta hamburger!!” I could do nothing but shake my head in disgust and think “Sissy!!”

In the years that would follow, that one day would set the tone for Chili-Ana always trying to “one up” me, no matter what we would be doing. If I came over to show him my new precious Star Wars Yoda figurine, he’d bust out the entire set – figurines and spaceships and smack they didn’t even have in the movie- most likely because he broke out the pink tutu and cried to Moms that he had to have this!! At the time I’d be like “Dang, homie, you’re a spoiled punk! Oooh, lemme play with Chewy!!” When I showed him a hand-me-down surfboard that my uncle gave me, he pulled out a board that his brother bought him while they were in Hawaii from a famous “brand name” company! And the list goes on and on.

A few years ago we were at the gym working out and I just cranked out some bench presses.  So Chili asks me – “How many did you do?” With my body shaking from exhaustion I claim “10” and so what does he do? Yes, you guessed it – he struggles past 10, barely making it to 11!! With that same stupid grin, which showed itself so many years ago down at Venice Beach, he looks at me and gives the nod. Yes, things have come full circle, my friend – it’s all about the Hot Dog and the Hamburger!


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