Nobler in the Mind

Monday, April 10, 2006

There are many myths about traveling to Mexico: If you eat the lettuce you’ll get amoebic dysentery; if you go to Chiapas you’ll be abducted by guerrillas; if you talk while the mariachis are playing you’ll be tied up in a sack and flogged with wooden spoons. . . . Ok, I just made that last one up. But my point is, we mustn’t allow hearsay and hyperbole to distract us from the very real danger that lies in wait for the uninformed American traveler in Mexico: individually-wrapped hotdogs.

Difficult as it may be to believe, I myself nearly fell victim to this unconscionable packaging practice when I was preparing one of my favorite blends of Mexican and American cuisines: hotdogs and cheese wrapped in tortillas (no, you can’t have the recipe; I’m planning to sell it to Kraft). While pan-frying the hotdogs, it occurred to me that they were not browning as usual, and were emitting a strange whistling sound. At first, I thought nothing of it—if unusually thick-skinned hotdogs were to be the extent of my culture-shock, I was in good shape. Only after biting into the wiener did I realize that this was no skin at all. It was plastic!

Now before anyone goes and nominates me for a Darwin Award, let it be known that: a.) I didn’t actually choke on the thing, and b.) it really wasn’t very obvious that it was wrapped in plastic. You’ve all seen hotdogs; with those crimped tips where the skin is tied off, who would notice the edge of a piece of plastic wrap? It was seamless, I tell you! And who ever heard of individually wrapping a hotdog, anyway? Are we meant to keep them in a cigar box? Put one in our shirt pocket for later?

Well, rest at ease, folks. I’ve personally written a letter to the Mexican Health Department requesting that this matter be fully investigated. I’m confident that the proper authorities will act swiftly and decisively in order to avoid any future mishaps with potentially graver consequences.

Your ever-watchful guardian,

Phineas Gage


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