Courtesy of my friend Dominic, an absolutely loony blog about the goings-on inside the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile as it travels the country — really imaginative marketing using new media tools.
I bring it to your attention for several reasons. 1) I find it stunning that the Weinermobile, an icon of 1950s hot-dog branding, is still alive and kicking. 2) It summons memories of one of the single greatest days of my life, the day in in 1960 when the Weinermobile visited Grovecenter School in Covina, California.
3) It reminds me of an incident three years ago out in the Jersey burbs. At the time, there was an immigrant family from Northern Mexico in the neighborhood whose 7 year-old son would come over and play with my daughter. One day, he was over when I heard that the Weinermobile was going to be visiting the nearby train station that morning. I had to go and I had to take the kids.
But first I had to call his Mom, who spoke no English, for permission.
And that phone call was the unforgettable memory: In one five-minute phone conversation, I learned that there is no amount of non-native fluency, no number of years of study and immersion, no amount of Mexican music and literature to which you can be exposed that prepares you to even approach explaining a Weinermobile in Spanish. All I remember is saying something about some guy who thought it would be cute to put wheels on a giant chorizo.
I do, though, remember her perfect reaction, which she sort of mumbled across the room to her husband and which she didnt seem to intend for me to hear:
For this we went through years of legal immigration procedures? A giant chorizo with tires?