FYI: This is not a story based on scripture and/or the end of times. It is about the interesting things we’ve discovered about one another during the quarantine. Here’s what we learned about Steve:
Steve (my husband) loves a good dog.
The four-legged kind that goes, “Ruff?”
Yes, those, too.
But the dogs I’m talking about are a ¼ pound of select beef and served at your local Costco.
Steve loves a Costco hotdog.
Perhaps, too much.
Last year, he was convinced there was fraudulent activity on his credit card when he noticed the Costco Food Court charges.
“I think somebody stole my card and bought a lot of hotdogs,” he said.
“You have relish on your shirt,” I said.
Soon after, Steve finally accepted that he might be over-indulging.
However, not wanting to give them up completely, he did what any sane person would do.
He began tracking his hotdogs.
But then, who doesn’t?
We discovered this a few months ago during a family Costco trip. We had just finished shopping and we were all hungry.
“Let’s get hotdogs,” my daughter, Quincey, suggested.
Steve’s face lit up and he got a dreamy, lovesick look in his eyes, kind of like the way he used to look at me.
He still looks at me that way.
If I’m holding a hotdog.
He immediately took out a small notebook and recorded something.
“What are you doing?” Quincey asked.
“Updating my hotdog log,”’ he said, and then went on to explain it.
Basically, it’s like your kid’s elementary school reading log. The kid records how many minutes he or she reads, and the parent signs it.
Steve records every hotdog he eats.
However, I don’t have to sign it.
At least I don’t think I do.
There were a lot of questions.
“How many dogs a year?” “What if you exceed your quota?” “What if you lose your notebook?”
“Twelve.” “I HAVE SELF-CONTROL!” “It’s backed up on an excel spreadsheet.”
That was April.
In mid-May he was one under his annual hotdog quota (Good job, Steve!).
During this time, we celebrated our goddaughter’s graduation at a family barbeque.
Guess what they were serving?
I’ll give you a hint: it was filled with nitrates.
As the dogs sizzled on the grill, Steve took out his notebook and entered the required information.
He had just explained to the other guests how the hotdog log worked. They smiled, nodded politely and all pretended that a hotdog log was perfectly normal.
A few minutes later Steve looked up in anticipation as lunch was served.
But uh oh…
This wasn’t a COSTCO hotdog.
To put it in real dog terms: A Costco hotdog is a Great Dane.
This hotdog was a chihuahua.
A delicious chihuahua, but a chihuahua, nonetheless.
“If it’s not a Costco hotdog, it shouldn’t count,” I told him.
Steve hung his head. “I’ve already entered it.”
We all tried to convince him that it would be okay to change it, but he wouldn’t waver.
Geez, it’s not like it was written in blood…
But what can I say, the guy’s got ethics.
— January Gordon Ornellas
January Gordon Ornellas is a comedy writer whose stories include everything from colonoscopies to triathlons (equally torturous). Her article, “Rookie’s Triathlon Lessons,” appeared in the LA Times (June 2019). Two of her other stories, “Gobble, Gobble” and “Almost Taken,” were recently published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Laughter is the Best Medicine (April 2020). She is currently working on a book, My Nest Runneth Over. January also enjoys writing for her blog (midlifebloomer.com), traveling and spending time with her husband and two adult daughters.