It can be difficult to find cause for hope these days in the land of the free and the home of the brave. The headlines grow more grim by the day. America is torn apart by prejudice, violence, and mutual mistrust while mired in a hopelessly bitter and divisive election cycle. What happened to the American dream? And where, indeed, have all the cowboys gone? In these worrying times, it is good to know that there are still some rugged individualists out there who gloriously embody the spirit of this country at its best.
Today the nation turns its lonely eyes to an unnamed gentleman from the Pacific Northwest, a fellow with a penchant for white tank tops, baggy jeans, tattoos, sunglasses, and bandannas. The wardrobe is a good start, but the story gets even better. This young American, a god who walks among mere mortals, can do things with hot dogs that would make our founding fathers weep with pride. He can slide an all-beef wiener, straight from the package, down his throat in one gulp and then miraculously fire it into the air like a Patriot missile. To make the viral video even better, he does all this from the confines of a trailer park. One can almost hear John Mellencamp or Bruce Springsteen echoing in the distance.
The man’s persona is not unlike that of a professional wrestler. Self-aggrandizement is clearly part of his brand, and it seems likely that he refers to himself in the third person often during conversations. The video begins with a soliloquy: “Fastest hot dog shooter in the Northwest. I’ve never seen nobody be able to do this. I can do it quick.” A bold claim, sir. But, as the saying goes, it ain’t bragging if you can do it. And this guy can do it. He performs his signature stunt several times with formidable skill, all in full view of the camera with no cuts. Meanwhile, mere feet away, a young woman paces the parking lot, talking on her cell phone. Perhaps at this point, she is inured to the majesty of these hot dog heroics.