[Scene: The county fair food court. Two friends Onymous and Pluribus meet for lunch.]
Onymous: I’m hungry. I need a hot dog. Nate’s Dawgs smells delicious, but they’re a little pricey. Joe’s Rolled Meats are cheap, but they taste like cigars. Trader Moe’s dogs are additive free, so I guess they’re healthier than the others. But the girl at the Delirama counter is a total babe. How can I possibly select the optimal hot dog stand?
Pluribus: Wait! I know just what you need! Follow me!
Onymous: You sound waaay too excited about this, but okay, let’s go.
[Onymous & Pluribus walk to the edge of the court, where they arrive at a small, inconspicuous hot dog stand. A large man behind the counter grins a sincere smile at the two of them.]
Pluribus: Here it is! Big Bob’s Dogs of Love! Now go ahead and buy your lunch.
Onymous: Umm…Pluribus, something seems not quite right here. I mean, I can tell you’re pretty excited about Big Bob here, but I’m just not seeing it. The aroma isn’t especially compelling and the prices are a little on the high side. I’m sure that Bob is a nice guy and all, but what I’m looking for is an exceptional hot dog experience.
Pluribus: Onymous, these hot dogs are exceptional, and here is the reason why — Big Bob’s Dogs of Love is the one true hot dog stand!
Onymous: I’m not sure what you mean.
Pluribus: You can’t understand until you try one.
[Onymous purchases a Dog of Love and takes a bite.]
Onymous: mrff…hrgmh…<gulp> Mmm…
Onymous: Umm…it’s a hot dog. It’s okay, I guess. I still don’t see what you’re so excited about. And there’s nothing on it. Here, let me get some ketchup…
Pluribus: Wait! Don’t touch that ketchup! You’ll destroy the experience.
Onymous: What experience? Like I said, it’s not especially great.
Pluribus: Just keep eating. Contemplate on each bite, and when you’ve finished you’ll see what I mean.
[Onymous eats the rest of the hot dog.]
Pluribus: How do you feel?
Onymous: Well, I’m not hungry anymore.
Pluribus: See, I told you that that you would understand after you’d finished!
Onymous: But I still don’t understand. I’d be full no matter which dog I ate, and I didn’t find anything remarkably good about this particular hot dog. The taste, the price, the quality — they’re all pretty standard.
Pluribus: The truth of Big Bob’s hot dogs isn’t found in their taste. They may not be good, but they’re right. Their truth is in their legacy. These hot dogs are descended from the Charles Feltman.
Onymous: You mean the guy who invented hot dogs, back on Coney Island?
Pluribus: Yes. Big Bob’s is the lineage holder of Feltman’s legacy. Before Charles died, he appointed his employee Dave as his successor. The chain continued from Dave to his son Doug, and then to Doug’s son Danny. Danny fell ill soon after he took over, so he looked for someone who could carry the torch of legitimacy. He found Bob Watson, owner of Big Bob’s Dogs of Love. Danny saw that Bob was a kindred spirit to the true soul of the hot dog, and so he declared Big Bob’s Dogs of Love to be the official successor to the tradition begun by Charles Feltman way back on Coney Island.
Onymous: And so the hot dog that I’ve eaten here…
Pluribus: …is the hot dog authorized by the inheritors of Charles Feltman’s legacy! Now, if you’ll recall, Charles had another employee, Jack. Jack was distraught when Charles chose Dave as the legitimate successor, so he went on to compete with Dave in the hot dog business. But Jack had no integrity in his process. He adulterated his hot dogs with all sorts of extraneous innovations — relishes, chilis, cheeses…and ketchup! The masses loved it, but the soul of the hot dog was lost in the process. All the hot dog stands you saw back at the food court, decked out with their lights and costumes and condiments, are the illegitimate bastard spawn of Jack’s work.
Onymous: But those condiments that you’re disparaging are really quite delicious. I don’t eat a hot dog because it’s true. I eat a hot dog because it’s good. That Big Bob’s hot dog was alright for a hot dog, but even the one true hot dog would improve with some ketchup.
Pluribus: The process of creating the true hot dog is cautiously maintained. Big Bob is sincerely devoted to Charles’ tradition.
Onymous: But even the legitimate dogs have changed. I see here that Big Bob refrigerates his dogs until they’re ready to be cooked, and that he cooks them on an electric grill. Old Charles Feltman wouldn’t have had a refrigerator or electric grill back then.
Pluribus: Technology provides us with opportunities to improve the process while maintaining the core values. Legitimacy isn’t about doing things exactly the same way that Charles did. It’s about doing the same work that Charles was doing. Big Bob’s only incorporates innovations that don’t dilute the soul of the work. The hot dog itself is still true.
Onymous: I’d rather have a false, good hot dog than a true, mediocre one. Besides, I still don’t see why there can’t be a true, good hot dog.
Pluribus: And I’d rather be right than wrong.
Onymous: I guess I just don’t see the value in the “truth” of the hot dog
Pluribus: Onymous, don’t you remember your confusion back in the food court? You had so many choices, and no clear way to decide. You had no objective standard to determine which decision was right. Look back at all those people there. They wander from hot dog stand to hot dog stand. Once you’ve discovered the truth, the confusion is gone. The standard is clear. Your lunch hour becomes stress free, because you don’t have to keep re-asking the same question every day.
Onymous: Pluribus, you exhaust me. I need to sit down and rest.
[Onymous sits in a nearby chair.]
Pluribus: Well then, it’s a good thing you chose to sit in that particular chair.
Pluribus: Because that’s the True and Living Chair.