saternow, lynn 2010

Lynn Saternow

It made me proud to be an American! I wanted to wrap myself in Old Glory and chant “U.S.A. ... U.S.A.”

In fact, it almost made me forget that our U.S. golfers can’t win a Ryder Cup. It almost made it all right that U.S. players aren’t as good in tennis anymore. And for at least a couple of days I forgot that our baseball team — a sport we invented — couldn’t even qualify for the last Olympics. Then again our basketball team did and was subsequently embarrassed.

But finally, for every red-blooded American there is hope to end the foreign dominance in sports. Well, it’s sort of a sport.

I’m talking about American Joey Chestnut eating 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes to defeat six-time world champion Takeru Kobayashi of Japan in Coney Island’s annual Fourth of July competition.

Finally, we knocked off that pipsqueak Takeru who apparently could eat his weight in hot dogs. Already they’re making excuses that he had an injured jaw. It didn’t look too injured when he was stuffing his face. Then again, that slight barf action they kept showing over and over on the news was almost enough to dissuade anyone from eating wieners ever again.

I know that hot-dog eating isn’t in the Olympics, but any more we Americans have to revel in any kind of success we experience.

You would think that hot-dog consumption should be something that Americans are good at doing. We are the fattest nation on Earth. Obesity runs rampant in our schools. So what to we do about it — we glorify the fact that a guy can chow down on 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes.

Why is that garbage even on TV? That ranks right up there with seeing Paris Hilton leave jail and drive away.

Supposedly the average American eats about as many hot dogs in a year as Chestnut gobbled in a dozen minutes. While hot dogs are as American as apple pie, they aren’t any better for you than apple pie. In fact, they are worse. At least pie has some fruit.

When you consider the stuff that’s in hot dogs, yikes! Obviously, they don’t put the best parts of the animals in them. Throw in some chemical additives, maybe a little sawdust. Then when you consider that they reportedly can legally contain limited amounts of rat hair and excrement ...


It’s pretty simple. Hot dogs aren’t good for you. I once read that you especially shouldn’t give them to kids under the age of 6 because additives in them can affect brain development. You know what that means — they might grow up to become journalists!

I’m not going to lie to you. I love hot dogs, especially those expensive Hebrew National all-beef jobbies. Sure there’s tons of fat, but we Americans love that. Throw on some Cleveland Stadium Mustard and chow down.

Ever try those fat-free hot dogs? I was immediately reminded of that other product: “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.”

That’s because I proclaimed: “I can’t believe it’s not cardboard!”

So, I’m not saying that you should never eat hot dogs. That would be un-American. But I would recommend that everyone limits their intake.

I follow a simple rule that I believe everyone should follow: Never eat more than 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes.

Unless you are on the now-being-formed U.S. team for Olympic hot-dog eating that is!

The Herald’s Lynn Saternow writes this column each Saturday for the Opinion page.

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