Some pictures just demand to be taken.
I’m driving along an aptly named street in Madison called Speedway Boulevard, which cuts between two large cemeteries, when what should appear but an Oscar Mayer Weinermobile parked in front of a funeral home. Two people were wrapping a black band of mourning around it.
Seeing something as frivolous and frankly ridiculous as a Weinermobile at a funeral home is both funny and inappropriate at the same time. To rationalize it, my first thought is that a wiener person has died, one of the young people they hire to drive that stupid thing around and give out hot dogs. In fact, that’s what they’re called, Hot Doggers, I believe. (I know all this stuff because Oscar Mayer is based in Madison, and has a huge factory on the East Side, which pretty much defines the difference between the East and West sides of town – the East has what used to be a slaughterhouse and is still a sausage factory, and the West has University Research Park working with stem cells.)
Anyway, even though I was taking future step-G. to a doctor’s appointment, I had to turn around and take a picture of this amazing sight. I said, “Once you start being a reality paparazzi, it gets to you,” and pulled into the funeral home parking lot behind the immense wiener and took my shot. (“Wien” is how you spell “Vienna” in German, and that’s where wieners were invented.)
Then I remembered an obituary I had read about an heir to the Oscar Mayer fortune dying. His name was Robert M. Bolz, and he got to be 86. (His mother was a Mayer.) Mr. Bolz, who I think I met once at a business function, was “a pillar of the community in the most expansive sense,” and “left his imprint on buildings, foundations and people throughout Madison,” according to Wisconsin State Journal writer Pat Simms.
What a great country where you can make millions grinding out sausage only to be a sort of joke because there’s a wiener wagon at you funeral.