The Hot Dog Guy in Madison

Today I went to get a hair cut from Hair Core in Madison, where Fairleigh Dickinson University, which most of you know is the college that I graduated from for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees. Well, in the town there is a guy on Main Street (I forgot now if its Main Street or another name, besides the fact, its the main street of the town) and he’s been there probably longer than I went to FDU and will probably be there way past it too. Anyway, I had always wanted to get a hot dog from there, since I can remember way back my first semester freshmen year (way back in fall of 2000) going into town with Jeremy Wade (fellow FDU graduate and film major like myself and later on we would both become RA’s at the school) and some other guy that I don’t remember, even if you asked me who it was and showed me pictures I would not be able to remember that other person’s name.

Anyway, we went into Madison for some reason, I think me and the other guy (he must have been a film major as well, I can’t see him not being…) wanted to go to get a sandwich or something and we went to Fat Boys (I think they moved from their original location since then) and we got ourselves some sandwiches and Jeremy wanted to go to the Hot Dog Guy.

So we went with him after we ate our sandwiches and he was telling us how cheap this guy was, a hot dog for a dollar (now he’s only 1.50, not much of a change over the last six years) and he bought a bunch of hot dogs, some soda and I believe some chips and we was inhaling them. And since that point I wanted hot dogs from The Hot Dog Guy.

I myself call him the Hot Dog Guy, I’m sure its the easiest way to remember him, he’s the only one, and that’s been his corner for forever.

I never did go back to Fat Boys. And every time I past by him I always wanted to stop, but for whatever reason was never in the mood or never had the time or money to stop for a dog…today was a different story…

Over the years I can remember telling Melissa before I graduate I want a hot dog from The Hot Dog Guy, and never getting around to it. Well, I graduated and I didn’t get a dog. Then I said before I move of campus for good, which was last May (man, its almost been a year and it feels like it was yesterday) that I would get a dog…and I never had the time. Then I student taught last year while living in Randolph and student teaching all day and I never was around for the dogs at all. Now…today…I went for a hair cut at Hair Core. I started going there because Evkoz recommended it to me, he had been going to the same guy for…I don’t know…since before he was born or something…and so I started going there with him and Melissa (who would just watch us get our hair cuts) and I stopped having the same schedule as Evkoz and moved on and started going to different people, aside from his guy (whose name is Dave) I started going to the DVD Guy (yet another name that I gave him myself, but I’m sure that I’m not the only one–I call him the DVD Guy because he has a little portable DVD player and a stack of DVDs and is always watching one. We usually talk about movies and the like. I think his name is Will, but DVD Guy sounds cool too. Then when my schedule didn’t work out to either Evkoz, Dave or Will the DVD Guy I just took whoever was available. Which was a big mistake…I think at this point in my life I think its safe to say that guys tend to cut guys hair better then girls because I haven’t had a good experience with a female hair stylest in a long time. Guys tend to cut hair better on guys…except for the gay guy that wouldn’t shut up the time before this who was talking to me about his art (which he showed me pictures) and gave me his myspace account name so I could check out his art…really truly scared me. Even with Melissa standing behind me watching on…

Anyway…getting back on track, I got a hair cut, and I went out and decided to see if the Hot Dog Guy was there, and I took the walk, it was almost cinematic. I walked across one street, no traffic and then I went across the other, no traffic. Everyone was going about their business in their own little world as I got ever so close to turning the corner. I can still hear the music going on in my head.

I turned…and there he was!

It was as if Jeremy, the other guy and I were there once again, six years prior, only instead of Jeremy and the other guy there were two Mexican guys getting their lunch on their break. So I waited and watch at the magic of a street corner hot dog vendor. Seriously if you’ve never seen a street vendor who was skilled in the art of preparing a hot dog, you haven’t lived yet, all the clanging and closing the little compartments and cling, clang, frump, and whatever other noises you can come up with. And all that for a bun and a hot dog (and if you’re lucky, if you like condoments on it, the magic continues for a couple more seconds as the cling, clang, frump continues).

There was a sign on the cart that said “Special: 2 Hot Dogs, 1 Bag of Chips, 1 Can of Soda $4.00″. My eyes stared at it trying to find the fine print…”four bucks for all this? what do I have to do? jump out into traffic or something?” I couldn’t believe it. Usually my lunch (if not at Burnet Hill, where I did my student teaching, which is usually free for me, because they love me…and hell, I love them back too for making me feel so at home there) usually costs like six to eight bucks (actually, that’s a lie, any time outside of any school it would cost about that much…at the high school it cost me $4.15 for two small pieces of a quesadilla, some rice and corn…the food was ok, I mean you get what you get from a high school cafeteria for four buck and fifteen cents). I was up next and I told him I wanted the special, he asked with what on them, I wanted them plain, I did not want anything to tarnish the purity of those beautiful dogs. And he went straight to work with the cling, clang, frump escapades (did I even spell that word correctly).

I picked out a bag of chips and looked up and he was done with the two dogs, he was actually nicely dressed underneath the apron that he was wearing. I actually almost got the courage to ask him where he puts the cart at the end of the day. I looked around and there weren’t any vehicles that had something for him to attach it too and I couldn’t see him pushing the cart down the street like they do in New York City. And if he does push it, where does he go? Would that mean that he lives near by? Its not unheard of to make a living being a vendor. These guys rake in some good money, especially if they find a good corner. Maybe he’s retired, but he didn’t look that old. I’m going to have to further investigate this…

He opened up another compartment and asked me what soda I wanted and I pulled out a nice Cherry Coke. He bagged it: soda and chips first, then the dogs, one at a time, finger punch of napkins and a straw. All strategically placed through what I can only say as years of experience and most likely a lot of trail and error to get to this point for the quickest and smoothest hot dog sale. To best serve not only the customer in front of him but if there are others waiting to be able to get to them just as fast.

I paid the man his four bucks and walked away trying to hold back a smile. Like the Red Barron pizzas that I posted a blog about late last year (http://socramforever.livejournal.com/96289.html, http://socramforever.livejournal.com/96733.html — I also remember eating it recently and I don’t remember posting a blog about it, but I did and it was still damn good frozen pizza…probably the best!) it was like I was fufilling a small dream of mine. Not a life time dream like writing and directing a film would be or even a buying a large flat screen tv type of dream or even sitting in the front row of a Wrestlemania type of dream…this was something I thought I would never do. I moved out of Madison for good last May and I never even thought that I would be eating the Hot Dog Guy’s hot dogs…I quickly walked all the way to the car constantly checking to see if the perfectly chilled soda can was about to eat through the brown paper like most wet cans do…this one unlike the rest was perfectly behaved. I got into the car, carefully placed the bag in the seat (dammit if I almost didn’t put a seat belt around it) and turned on the car and took off.

I grabbed one of the dogs and took a bite out of it…and like Melissa would later (like seven minutes later when I called her to tell her my tiny little accomplishment) ask me, “was it everything you thought it would be?” It was, and more…oh man! It brought me back to my childhood when my parents would take get me a hot dog from a vender after church on sundays, it was a little taste of New York in Madison.

Would I go back? Like Red Baron’s pizza I would most definately go back for some more. If the time is right and everything is perfect, I would most definately go back and get some more dogs from the Hot Dog Guy in Madison.

–Socram

22 thoughts on “The Hot Dog Guy in Madison

  1. LOL wow…that sounds like a damn good hot dog.

    You sent me to the Hair Core, I almost didn’t get a hair cut until I could get back there…then I found a place down here that does a pretty good job, too. Alright, that’s a lie, I’m really happy with them…and it’s always a woman who does my hair. Dude, you gotta come down here, they all do a great job.

    Thanks for sending Marcos to Hair Core, Evkoz. If it weren’t for you, he would have never recommended me there, then I’d have hair down to my feet and wouldn’t be able to breathe through all of the hair. 🙂

    Next time I’m in Philly, I’m definitely going to find a hot dog stand and watch in amazement. Always walked past those because I figured it was the same story as you hear with the soft pretzels…as a kid, I always heard the soft pretzel guys peed on them (yuck).

  2. yeah, no kidding! i mean, i don’t know why they’d pee on them, there’s all kinds of other places to pee BESIDES THE PRETZELS.

    maybe i’ve been to a hot dog stand once or twice, but definitely not in the past…10 years? i forgot most of my childhood, to be honest.

    hell, i can barely remember yesterday. 🙂

  3. do you think he would buy them already made or buy them from the super market and make them himself?

  4. Yeah I know, but dammit, let’s try and figure something out…

    …so um…what color should I paint my living room?

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