The American Academy of Pediatrics has decided that hot dogs should be re-engineered to eliminate their inherent design flaws.
They are not talking about re-engineering the ingredients – MSM (Mechanically Separated Meat aka lips and assholes, snouts and tails), fats (trans, partially hydrogenated, lard) binders (cereals, soy, gluten) and preservatives like sodium nitrite and sodium erythorbate. They are talking about its fundamental essence of hot-dogness.
These are people who should have better things to do with their time and our public discourse, like REASSURE YOU THAT YOUR KID’S RUNNY NOSE IS NOT THE FIRST SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE. Instead, they just want to take all the fun out of food for the rest of us.
“If you were to take the best engineers in the world and try to design the perfect plug for a child’s airway, it would be a hot dog,” says statement author Gary Smith, (avowed hot-dog hater) and director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. “No parents can watch all of their kids 100% of the time. The best way to protect kids is to design these risks out of existence.”
Design these risks out of existence? Are you kidding me? Who do these weenies think they are?
We have enough engineered foods without going after my favorite low-rent meat product. If you really want to tackle a serious societal ill, go after SPAM, and I’m not talking about potted meat. Come to think of it, SPAM too is inherently dangerous: It can be weaponized when hurled at Gary Smith’s head! Sadly, projectile SPAM isn’t guaranteed to knock some sense into him, and that, my friends, is a design flaw.
Sadly, 77 children die every year from choking on hot dogs, compared to roughly 2,000 annual childhood deaths from cancer (fourth-leading cause of childhood death). Accidents are the leading cause of death among persons, age 1 to 19, followed by homicide and suicide, according to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (there’s a fun read).
Now I really don’t want to make light of death by inefficient hot dog consumption (and I just did), but hot dog deaths don’t even rank in the top 10 for accidental deaths for kids – you’ve got car crashes, poisoning, drowning and choking. Yes, hot dogs are a TINY subset of the larger issue of “choking” deaths. Hot dog events account for roughly 10,000 emergency department visits by children every year – out of the total 6 MILLION ANNUAL EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT VISITS BY CHILDREN FOR UNINTENTIONAL INJURIES (aka accidents).
Let’s do the math, shall we?
10,000 / 6 MILLION = 0.167%. Uh, way less than 1 percent.
And these 77 deaths are out of 7 BILLION HOT DOGS CONSUMED BY AMERICANS BETWEEN MEMORIAL DAY AND LABOR DAY (3 months) EACH YEAR and 20 BILLION HOT DOGS CONSUMED BY AMERICANS ANNUALLY, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council. I’m not sure my calculator goes that far, but let’s try anyway:
77 / 7,000,000,000 = 0.0000011% (For you engineers out there, that’s 1.1 x 10^-8 In scientific notation)
77 / 20,000,000,000 = 0.000000385% (Again, for the engineers, that translates to 3.9 x 10^-9)
Now that we’ve done the math, let’s save some lives and reintroduce common sense into the equation: Here’s a no-cost solution (and maybe a clue) for Gary Smith and those of his helmet-headed ilk: Cut the hot dog in half length-wise, then chop it into pea-sized morsels, then, oh, I don’t know, instead of parking that little porker in front of the TV to gorge himself, why don’t you HAVE A NICE DINNER WITH YOUR KID and encourage your darling snowflake to have some table manners and chew his food (WITH HIS MOUTH CLOSED) rather than inhale it? Hell, take it a step further and instruct your babysitter on proper hot-dog dissection.
But if you’re still worried, put your special angel’s hot dog in a blender with a squirt of mustard, ketchup and relish. Hell, throw the whole damn bun in there too, because we all know that they can make bread-balls out of white bread – and we wouldn’t want America’s Future to asphyxiate on bread-balls, now would we? (They don’t have statistics on bread balls – YET! Hey, Gary, can we get some help over here! I’ve got a math problem for you!)
But wait, I have another cost-saving idea that doesn’t involve a complete waste of intelligent human resources and an audacious infringement on my mechanically separated meat-eating fulfillment, DON’T BUY HOT DOGS. Leave them to the adults who know how to eat (and enjoy) them.
What’s that you say, you can’t control other people’s decisions? Your rotten neighbors feed their dirt-eating heathens hot dogs every day and little Sunshine McPrecious might be exposed to the evils of encased meat-product at their condemned dust-mite sanctuary of a home? Here’s a another clue: You can’t control everything that comes in contact with Baby Sunshine. Risk is an inherent part of living, and its counterpart, failure, is what makes life interesting. It makes us resilient.
All your rounded corners and outlet protectors and sanitary wipes and BABY ON BOARD signs and antibiotic-free milk bottles and chastity bracelets won’t do a damn bit of good when Sunshine McPrecious meets Leroy Von Herpsore in a parking lot after the high school football game. She’ll be on her own – and you’ll have to hope that she’ll have learned to think for herself by then. If you think re-engineering the hot dog is going to save her, I hope you start re-investing her college fund in bail bonds… or just get used to the idea of being a 40-year-old grandparent.
If you want to control every outcome for your children, here’s another cost-saving clue: DON’T HAVE THEM.
It’s not rocket science… and that’s essentially the problem: You want to transform a simple parenting problem into a grand engineering problem, which makes it a societal problem for the 299,999,923 Americans that didn’t choke on hot dogs last year. Why not just legislate the common sense right out of us? A few people clearly can’t think for themselves; a few others have been victims of random, tragic ACCIDENTS and still others probably shouldn’t have had children in the first place, and so all of us are punished under the well-meaning but ultimately nefarious guise of “THINK OF THE CHILDREN!”
At what point does personal responsibility come into account?
If you want to put the best minds of our time to the task of THINKING OF THE CHILDREN, I’ve got two challenges for you that are bigger than a hot dog:
One in seven low-income preschool aged children are obese. This preventable condition – obesity – puts children at greater risk for cardiovascular disease, asthma (hello, airway obstruction), sleep apnea (ditto), Type 2 diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Why don’t you chew on that for a while – oh wait, obesity can’t be engineered. It’s behavioral and it’s hard to change behavior: NO SHIT, ASSHOLES.
Speaking of assholes: If you really wanted to prevent needless childhood deaths, go after Jenny McCarthy and her anti-childhood vaccination campaign. More than 400 children die EVERY DAY worldwide from measles, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, do the world a favor and shove a non-organic, black-box labeled hot dog down her throat and rid us all of her crystal-rubbing, magical-thinking, downright genocidal “vaccines cause autism” bullshit.
Celebrate your freedom to think and live for yourself. Join my husband and me in our new political action committee: CHOKE – Chewing on Hotdog Obstruction in Kids Everywhere. Our inaugural meeting is at the Roosevelt Tavern today where we will order the best hot dog you’ve ever tasted. I might even buy you a beer to chase it… let’s drink them while we still can.