Research just published in the journal Nature says eating one hot dog can take 36 minutes off your life. It ranked over 5,000 foods and assigned a time loss or gain to each of them, with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at the other end of the spectrum, increasing your lifespan by 33 minutes.
What no one ever says is the half-hour-plus you’ll be robbed of by that hot dog will come at the end of your life, not now when you’re in your prime. I’m not saying you should eat hot dogs on a regular basis, but every once in awhile, indulge yourself — unless the hot dog is boiled, a felony-level crime against taste buds. I can’t remember the last time I ate hot dogs, but I do know they should only be cooked on a grill or in a skillet. And don’t get me started on the ones sitting for who-knows-how-long in the tepid, rarely-changed water of a hot dog cart.
The whole subject reminds me of the weekend several members of my extended family got together to celebrate my uncle Irv’s 85th birthday. The party was on a Saturday night, and on Sunday, about a dozen of us went to a deli for brunch. When the server came to the table, Irv ordered a corned beef sandwich. His wife, my aunt Sylvia, told him he couldn’t have that because it was too high in sodium. Deflated, Irv chose something else off the menu.
I wanted to jump up and shout, “The man’s 85 years old! Let him have a corned beef sandwich! If he dies ten seconds after finishing it, at least he would have the joy of eating something he loves!” But I kept my mouth shut — mostly because my own wife, who knows me so well, grabbed my arm very firmly and shook her head.
Later, in the car, she reassured me that when I’m that age, she’ll never stop me from eating anything. Except a boiled hot dog, of course.