Another visit from the Wienermobile leaves me feeling inadequate

Maybe it’s because I’m a man, but when I see a giant wienermobile approaching from behind in traffic, I tend to drive a little more defensively. Such was the case this morning when I noticed the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile in my rearview mirror. Though it’s been two years since the last time I was assigned to cover a big wiener (not counting election season), the sight of it immediately caused a flashback from 2012… [cue harp music and begin gauzy dream sequence…]

image After more than a decade of working in the high-pressure environment of our newsroom, where at any given moment you could find yourself surrounded by as many as two other journalists all typing at once, it takes a lot to get our adrenaline pumping. In fact, we have been at the epi-center of the national spotlight three times here in Florence. Sure, two occasions came after being singled out as having the nation’s highest rate of … (yawn) … retirees.

But the third time involved REAL explosives.

And a dead whale.

And quite possibly an unlicensed demolitions expert going through a divorce. This would explain using half a ton of dynamite to dispose of a rotting whale carcass that washed ashore, and how one onlooker literally chewed the fat after being struck by a piece if flying whale blubber.

Hey, it was 1970! Whales didn’t have the safety features they have today! Even experts, with their fancy calculations for trajectory, explosive force, velocity, alcohol content, etc., couldn’t have anticipated a piece of whale fat, roughly the size of a Volkswagen Beetle, taking out an actual Volkswagen Beetle.

Because we are subjected to this kind of tension-filled atmosphere on a regular basis, last week, when a 27-foot-long Wienermobile rolled into town, we met it with the kind objectivity you’d expect from seasoned journalists who laugh in the face of high-velocity whale fat:

We immediately leaped from our chairs and simultaneously wedged ourselves in the doorway so tightly we had to be dislodged with a copy machine.

This left our editor with the difficult task of deciding who would cover this assignment. After taking into account experience, dedication and overall proximity to the door, she chose me to cover the giant Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. I have to admit, after seeing the size and scope of this story, I began to feel a little inadequate.

However, Wienermobile driver “Lots-of-Ketchup” Lisa assured me this reaction was very common.

She then took me on a tour of the Wienermobile, which can seat eight comfortably, or as many as 26 uncomfortably, depending on how strictly the seatbelt law is enforced in your area, particularly when it involves people riding on top of a 27-foot-long hot dog.

I know what you’re thinking:

How can I get a job like THAT?!?

OK, maybe it was just me.

But according to the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile website, any college graduate who is “outgoing, creative, friendly, and who has an appetite for adventure” can be a candidate.

Having a good driving record also helps because, according to Lisa, in spite of its naturally aerodynamic design, handling a Wienermobile on the open road, and even proper waxing and buffing, takes practice, which is why drivers must attend special classes at “Hot Dog High,” and why, coincidentally, I am moving on to the next paragraph as quickly as possible, while this is still a family-friendly column.

I would like to thank Lisa and the folks at Oscar Mayer for including us on their national tour. I’d also like to thank them for avoiding fatty fillers in their hot dogs; the last time something 27 feet long and full of fat came to Florence, the results were explosive.

(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available from Port Hole Publications, or Barnes & Noble.)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

37 thoughts on “Another visit from the Wienermobile leaves me feeling inadequate”

  1. I not sure what to say, having your picture with the wiener mobile, was this a bucket list item? Though at the same time, my own husband would probably jump at the chance of having his picture with the wiener mobile.

    1. Your use of restraint when it comes to talk of giant wieners is greatly appreciated, Melissa. Particularly since my blog seems to be expanding. That said, I find that information on air traffic controller standards more than a bit frightening. I’m sure a college degree will become a requirement should Oscar Mayer ever introduce a flying weiner.

  2. Do eight people ever sit in it and ride around for awhile? Or is it just the one person usually? I don’t like tubes of whipped pig parts to begin with, but it still looks better than most vehicles they manufacture today. It doesn’t intimidate me, as a woman, but I bet some gals could make a killing if they put on Daisy Dukes and used it as a promotion for a car wash. All I know is, I don’t have the upper body strength to wax it.

    1. There is so much in this reply that is SO wrong — yet completely right. From what I understand, there are never more than two people involved when the giant wiener is in motion. And I’d have to agree with your car wash suggestion. If the local PTA really wanted to get the money for those school books, they’d start waxing.

  3. Ha, great story, no Weiner mobiles here in Ireland thankfully, guess ill have to continue on in life feeling completely adequate but knowing that somewhere out there is a Weiner mobile determined to put me firmly back in my place

      1. Whale-nado. Can’t miss.
        You know, I just finished writing a first draft of a novel. (Brag, brag…) I think to myself, “Maybe this is too far-fetched.” And then I see exploding whales.

        1. First, my sincere congratulations on finishing the first draft of your novel, Ross. That’s huge. Not “Whale-nado” huge (what IS, really?), but know that I am virtually raising a toast in celebration for you. Well done.

          And yeah, Sharknado has a way of putting things into perspective.

          Again, congrats my friend.

  4. So, so much I could say here. I’ll keep it to myself given that this a family site. That said, I’ll be chuckling all day and making inappropriate wiener jokes…just not out loud…I’m supposed to act like a professional for the next 6 hours and 18 minutes 😉

      1. I know, right?
        Oh the stories I could tell of my inappropriate foot inside my mouth when I was just being me in corporate America. And I even have catholic school girl filters!!

        1. If you’re limber enough to put your foot in your mouth, I hate to think of the amount of inappropriateness that has been wasted on political correctness.

    1. Wasn’t that totally crazy? I don’t think you could get away with blowing up dead whales with dynamite anymore. Not unless it was part of The Bachelorette or something…

No one is watching, I swear...

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