Jeff Vrabel: Brace yourself for the new product of the century -- Fast Franks
Maybe this has happened to you, maybe you're like me: You wake up early one morning, the sunrise just sneaking in where it can through the plywood you've nailed to the inside of your windows (the government -- you can't be too careful). You're just waking up, rubbing sleep and hours of nightmares about clowns out of your eyes, and you're thinking: You know what would be great right now? A hot dog, a mouth-watering, damp, pig-footalicious hot dog, a treat that's as American as Mom, baseball and continually exploiting horrific tragedy for perceived political gain.
But if you're like me, you grow quickly grumpy and whiny, because the hot dog is all the way over there in the kitchen, which is like two rooms away, and it's still early -- way too early to think about finding the dog, unwrapping the dog (this part of the process may involve opening a whole new pack, and could result in your coming into contact with hot dog juice, which is ghastly), zapping the hot dog in your microwave, and then - and this is an entirely separate requirement, mind you - locating a bun, opening *that* package and cooking the two items separately (if you're one of those hot-bun people; me, I can be pretty easily convinced either way on the issue, which makes me feel a whole lot like Mitt Romney). Of course then there's condiments: ketchup obtainment, relish selection, mustard application, etc. etc. And only then, like three hours later, can you finally assemble the whole farce into your long-awaited breakfast goodie, except by now it's getting on in the morning and it's probably more like brunch, but whatever.
Well, friends, your days of hideous terror are over, thanks to an absolutely genius new product I glimpsed at the grocery store the other day while trying to steal applesauce: Oscar Mayer Fast Franks. A three-pack of fully microwaveable Hot Dogs In A Bun. MICROWAVEABLE HOT DOGS, IN A BUN, THAT COME IN ONE PACKAGE. And - AND - they come in your choice of Beef OR Meat varieties. "It’s mouthwatering to imagine -- a tasty, hot and juicy Oscar Mayer hot dog wrapped inside a soft and warm bakery-fresh bun," reads a press release that was a joy to track down. "And now imagine only having to wait thirty-five seconds for that first delicious bite." It is one of the unexplained mysteries of modern marketing that no one has brought this up to the Nobel committee yet.
The product's box is adorned with a tantalizing red "NEW!" label on its packaging; they may have been around for a while, but they're certainly new to me, which is odd, given that I have a 3-year-old Little Man at home who powers down hot dogs like his very life depends upon making sure the remnants of at least three franks are traveling through his digestive system at all times. In a way, his life *does* depend on this, as somewhere between 97 and 98 percent of his entire calorie consumption to date have come via hot dogs. The remaining 2 to 3 percent have come from chocolate milk. Yes, yes, I know - we have an in-network pediatric obesity specialist already picked out.
But imagine what a sap I felt like, a sucker, a pinhead, a moron, standing there in the grocery store drinking in the glory of Fast Franks; it took all the emotional discipline I could muster to not drop to my knees and embarrass what would frankly have been the entire lunch-meat section with breathtaking praise. "I want to praise Fast Franks with all that is within me, but my tongue seemeth to half in my mouth!" I nearly cried, almost breaking down in tears and scaring the living daylights out of the deli people. Because like an idiot, I've spent like three years wasting fully half of my hot-dog preparation time; time that could have been spent teaching him another language or tracking each day the spectacular increase of his body mass index.
Oh sure, Fast Franks probably contain more preservatives and unmentionable chemicals than ordinary hot dogs, sport more wasteful packaging and have the considerably unsettling appearance of what appear to be wiener corpses imprisoned forever in a hermetically sealed gas chamber, but think of the time you'll save avoiding the complex process of applying a hot dog to a bun that might be on a whole other counter or something. And with the time you save, you can decide which variety you'll buy next time: beef or meat.
Jeff Vrabel is a freelance writer who'll never be allowed to tour the Oscar Mayer hot dog factory again. He can be reached at www.jeffvrabel.com.