Chicago Wiener Wars

Chicago Wiener Wars

The wiener wars are being held in Chicago. As if we needed anything more to be proud of in our great city. And no, I’m not talking about the age-old battle of what defines a Chicago dog, you know catsup vs. no catsup (and let’s just get this on the record, if you say catsup, acitymom thinks you should move.) We’re talking about a battle between Oscar Meyer and Sarah Lee, between the Oscar Meyer Wiener and the Ball Park Frank. The question that hopes to be settled in court, at I’m sure no small expense to taxpayers, is which company has the better wiener?  Personally, I think the question should be who is a bigger wiener?

Reading the USA Today article, Wiener Wars Lawsuit, I’m reminded of every playground argument I’ve ever had, “Am not.”  “Are so.”  “I know you are, but what am I?”  “You don’t make America’s best hot dog.” “Yes we do.”  “Our hot dogs are 100% pure beef.” “No they aren’t.”  “Yes they are.” The documents filed in the lawsuit go on for thousands of pages in a case that’s lasted three years. That’s longer than any playground argument I’ve ever had, even including the ones with Bonnie Skulniki.

I suppose to these huge companies, defending their corporate honor is important, but the whole thing seems plain ridiculous to me. They’re hot dogs, already. Lighten up.

At least the judge in the case seems to have a sense of humor about it. A little comic relief for your tax dollars. According to the USA Today, Judge Morton Denlow said at the beginning of the trial, “Let the wiener wars begin.”

It’s naive of me to take the common sense approach, that our country has so many more important things to worry about these days, like unemployment, or the deficit, than some pseudo brat-fight (sorry) that’s only going to make the lawyers rich. Honestly, are you going to switch your favorite brand of hot dog because of the results of this court battle?

When I was growing up, my dad was unemployed for several years during the  recessionary 70’s. We ate hot dogs. A lot. I was far into adulthood before I could even look at a hot dog without gagging and I imagine a lot of folks out there struggling to make ends meet might feel the same way someday soon, if not already.

I know, I know, the tax money spent on courts and judges comes from a different pool than the money used for unemployment benefits or developing alternative energy sources or paying teachers’ salaries. But I hope against hope someday we’ll figure out a way as a country to put an end to expensive frivolities and focus our energies on what’s important. Otherwise, I think we’ll all be the hot dogs.

While we’re on the topic, if you still care about hot dogs and really don’t care who makes them, come to the North Center Street Fest this weekend. It has a hot dog theme, and not just because it’s happening frighteningly close to where I live. Northside Summerfest No Catsup! I might be watching.

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