Wieners For The Wasted!
...With Ketchup And Mustard
It’s midnight on a Friday night, and
the corner of North and Oakland is
hopping. I’m standing by Sil’s Drive-
Thru. I like to make an annoying
argument that this hot dog stand is no
less an architectural achievement than
Calatrava’s Milwaukee Art Museum.
I mean, it’s much smaller, but if you
somehow blew it up and moved it to
the lake, it would look more or less the
same, minus the flapping wings.
One thing you won’t find hanging
on a Calatrava, though, is a banner that
reads “Wieners for the wasted – $1.50
hot dogs with ketchup and mustard
10PM-2:30AM.” Giant hot dogs
bookend the words, and the words “for
the” are in an explosive neon starburst.
Sil’s also offers a variety of other dogs,
from a Chicago style to a Southsider
(with kraut), donuts, nachos, coffee,
slush puppies, and more.
A group of college women walk by.
“I said c’mon, Andrea, rum or beer?
Rum or beer? C’mon, RUM or BEER?
And she was like…” Her thought is
derailed by the traffic light. “…C’mon,
ladies, the light is GREEN! So, I was
like, you are going to be soooooooo
At this moment a man walks out of
the Eastsider to greet another man. He
picks him up and then begins thrusting
him up and down. It’s reminiscent of an
intimate position called Janukurpara.
A dejected looking man approaches
Sil’s and looks a little down. Perhaps he
has struck out, and now his companions
home are a couple of dogs.
A girl walks by briskly, deep in
thought, an unlit cigarette hanging
from her mouth. She’s almost out of
sight before she lights up.
Two women walk up to Sil’s, one on
a cell phone. They passed two guys on
the corner who stare over at them. The
women look, but give no commitment.
“Shiiiiishhh.” One of the guys
says, and they move on. The women
order nachos and donuts, and uh-oh,
someone’s in the doghouse from the
“No. I hate you. You hang up on me
ONE MORE TIME and I swear…” Her
threat is drowned out by the number 15
Two guys exit Cush across the street
and yell and wave at the women.
“Aaaaaay!” One guy yells. "Aaaaaaaay!” One of the guys wears a
red polo shirt and the other a matching
yellow polo shirt. I think “with ketchup
and mustard” and laugh. They should
be standing here by Sil’s with a guy in
hot dog costume.
A couple walks up and they grab
“You wanna walk that way, or
you wanna walk that way?” he asks,
shrugging. All roads lead to Rome, they
A group of five women walks by.
Three are on cell phones, and another is
howling an awful, off-key rendition of
“God Bless America.”
Across the street at El Chico Zuma,
the kitchen staff is outside, peoplewatching
and smoking. One of them
swings a kitchen rag above his head like
Inside Sil’s, the hot dog wrangler
is taking a break, playing a handheld
Playstation. The marquee above Pizza
Man spells out this message- “AHH…
SUMMER NIGHTS BY THE LAKE…
LIFE IS GOOD.” Yes, it is.
I have a hot dog and it’s okay. I bet it
would be better if I was wasted.
Riverwest Currents online edition - August, 2007