04/26/2006 01:23 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

My Hot Dog Man Has Tourette Syndrome

I've said it before and I'll say it again- my hot dog man has Tourette Syndrome, at least as far as I can tell anyway. I bring this up not because I think it's funny to make light of someone's health problems and/or disabilities (except maybe for when a dog wears one of those big lampshade things around its neck to keep from licking its privates and/or scratching its general head area. That is actually funny every time and I think- as long as you make it up to the dog down the line at some point- it's perfectly reasonable to make fun of the dog for the duration of the time it is wearing the big, crazy lampshade-looking thing around its neck.) Also, I realize that Tourette Syndrome, while entertaining, is uncommon and that if you were to work out some sort of mathematical equation involving the number of people in America with Tourette Syndrome and also the number of people in America who run their own hot dog stand, the odds of having a hot dog man with Tourette Syndrome doing business down the street from your apartment aren't very good at all. And that is exactly why I bring it up- I have a hot dog man with Tourette Syndrome right down the street from my house and- for someone like me who holds an interest in both rare medical conditions and hot dogs- the situation quite simply could not be any better.

For the uninitiated, Tourette Syndrome is an inherited neurological disorder with onset in childhood, characterized by the presence of multiple motor tics and at least one phonic tic, which characteristically wax and wane. Tourette Syndrome was once considered a rare and bizarre syndrome. It is no longer considered rare, but is often undetected because of the wide range of severity, with most cases classified as mild. I copied those last three sentences from the popular Wikipedia website's entry on the topic.

Anyway, the most popular form of Tourette Syndrome (and by popular I mean everybody's favorite) is the one where the person afflicted with Tourette Syndrome starts swearing and saying all sorts of inappropriate things uncontrollably and at the best/worst possible moments. Despite the fact that my friend Andrew is a doctor, I can't necessarily say for sure whether the hot dog man down the street from me necessarily suffers from this particular strain of Tourette Syndrome. He mostly just shouts out largely indecipherable things at random, startling those around him and generally giving people a particularly awesome and memorable hot dog-buying experience.

Since I both live down the street from the Tourette Syndrome-having hot dog man's hot dog stand and buy hot dogs from him with what I would describe as an "every once in a while" frequency (It's more of a treat for me than a standard meal item or anything. As one of this nation's foremost political analysts/thinking men, I have a responsibility to myself and others to try to eat healthy whenever possible. Except when I am drunk, in which case anything goes. However, I tend to do most of my drinking during the hot dog man's off hours, a shame for both of us), I have had opportunity to observe the hot dog man with great regularity (ditto on the coffee cart guys too, who are set up next to him and- to the best of my knowledge- suffer from no neurological disorders whatsoever. I like them too though).

Fortunately, the hot dog man's condition doesn't seem be to having any adverse effect on his business- people love hot dogs and they're not going to let a little random shouting from the guy selling them get in the way of their enjoyment of the popular funtime snack. The hot dog man's condition has, however, been affecting my ability to distinguish when he is having an outburst from when he is trying to talk me into buying a hot dog and when he is simply trying to say hello to me from fifty yards away.

We- the hot dog man and I- do have a bit of a rapport. He knows I live nearby and enjoy the occasional hot dog with sauerkraut and mustard. More often than not however, the interactions between me and the hot dog guy tend to be on the slightly awkward side. "Fuck you!," he'll yell at me from across the street.

"Good! How are you?," I'll yell back.

"Hello, my friend!," he'll say with a smile.

"Sauerkraut and mustard," I'll reply.

"How would you like it?," he'll ask.

"Fuck you!," I'll respond.

It pretty much goes something like that every day. Still, I love him for it. The hot dogs are pretty good too.

I guess if there is anything to learn from this it is this: you should never let yours or someone else's problems get in the way of neither your buying or selling of a delicious funtime snack. And if President Bush and that pack of yahoos he's been running with could remember this for even just one single day, this country- and the rest of the world even- wouldn't be in the half the mess it is today.

Yes, I know- I have once again completely fuck*ng nailed it.

Dave Hill