I have a weakness for hot dogs, which, while embarrassing, is not nearly as embarrassing as some things I could admit to. I can see two hot dog stands from my office window. One is a generic little cart run by a generic little Russian guy. The other is Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs.
Biker Jim has a big shiny grill. His logo is a grinning skull with sunglasses, pierced by two hot dogs. Biker Jim has reindeer sausages and elk jalapeno cheddar brats and wild boar dogs. Biker Jim grills onions to go on any of his dogs, and he has a cream cheese caulking gun that he applies liberally upon request. He’s a handsome 50ish guy with a ponytail and interesting tattoos. He keeps music going on the boom box at the right level, loud enough to get you in the mood and not too loud to have a conversation. He’s a good talker, and he engages anyone who comes within the cart, giving them the ins & outs of the gourmet dog experience.
Biker Jim’s dogs cost three times what the little Russian guy’s do. Biker Jim always has a pretty long line going.
I bet you know what I’m going to say next.
Biker Jim is telling a story worth repeating
His take on the hot dog cart is literally remarkable. People in my office building mention him all the time. "Did you get that from Biker Jim? Do you like the reindeer? I always get the elk jalapeno, but I’m thinking about trying the reindeer."
Me, I actually always go to the little Russian guy. I don’t want grilled onions, and I’ve got to be honest–an elk dog and a reindeer dog and a German veal dog are all still . . . hot dogs. Plus I never want a hot dog badly enough to wait in line 15 minutes for one, and I like talking to the Russian guy about Moscow. He’s polite enough to listen to my halting attempts at Russian, and his dogs cost what I think dogs should cost.
The Russian guy gets enough business to scrape along. He could start telling a story at any time–a story about where he came from, a story about interesting things to put on hot dogs, a story about his product being worth more than a dollar or two. But he doesn’t. It’s too bad. He seems like a nice man, I wish he would.