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I’m With Stupid – March 3, 2017

by Todd Hartley

We’re going to talk a lot about sausages this week, gang, so if you’re a vegan like my next-door neighbor, you’re probably not going to be too happy. This is going to be carnivorous. This is going to be like my proposed album cover for “The Chickahominy Sessions,” with the band Sweet ‘n’ Meaty standing outside the Sausage Emporium about to dig into some spicy Italian link wedges with marinara and provolone.

But seriously, how much do people love sausage? It’s awesome. Look at just patties alone. I’m convinced the sausage McMuffin with egg and offering breakfast all day are the only reasons McDonald’s is still in business. And more people definitely associate James Dean with breakfast patties than whatever the heck the other guy was known for.

And links? Hell, hot dogs are the second word in the definition of “American,” right after baseball and just ahead of apple pie. It’s in our blood, people — our blood and our arteries, heart valves, love handles and spare tires.

But it’s not just America. That’s the best part. As much as we love our tube steaks on this side of the pond, we can’t hold a candle to Europeans. Kielbasa is the one smart thing Poland is known for. Brits will eat pretty much anything stuffed into an animal intestine, and in Germany they think wursts are the best.

So by now, I imagine you may be wondering why I’m being so frank about franks this week. Well, I’ll tell you. It’s because two recent examples over in Europe further illustrate how much people dig the dogs and, to me, add to the mounting evidence that any vegetarians trying to convert their meat-eating friends to a healthier lifestyle should just give up already.

The first story comes to us from the city of Kassel in central Germany. There, a local group is planning to have a vegetarian street festival sometime soon. Sounds straightforward enough, right? Here’s why it made the news: The city council passed an official motion asking the organizers to have booths serving local sausages at their vegetarian event. I lack the poetry to describe how much I love that.

One council member said a meat-free event would be “a real kick in the guts.” Another called a type of sausage known as ahle wurst “simply an essential part” of local street festivals. In fact, local folk are so adamant about sausages at their fests that the Senior Citizens’ Advisory Council stated that if there are no wursts, they’ll do their worst and boycott the event.

All I have to add to that is this: God bless the Kassel City Council and the Senior Citizens’ Advisory Council. Keep fighting the good fight.

Our second tale comes from jolly old England, where the popular weight-loss program Slimming World has been racked with controversy of late over a popular product called Porky Light, which may be my favorite oxymoron of all time.

The program works by assigning a “syn” value to foods based on how fat they make you, and then adherents looking to shed pounds try to eat between five and 15 “syns” per day. Porky Light, a link sausage, was originally given a syn rating of 0.5. Unsurprisingly, it was flying off supermarket shelves and selling out throughout the U.K.

Anyway, last month, Slimming World pulled the product from its website and ignited a firestorm when it was revealed that Porky Lights should have had a syn rating of 4.5 — nine times what they were advertised as having. Oops.

The reactions on social media have been priceless. One guy on Twitter wrote, “I mean, there’s people with literally 100 Porky Lights in their freezer.” Others were trying desperately to sell all the Porky Lights they’d stocked up on before they broke down, devoured them and kissed their weight-loss goals goodbye.

But that’s how profound our relationship with sausages is. If someone tells us they’re really not that bad for us, we will literally buy hundreds of them. And if someone tells us we can’t have sausage at a vegetarian event, we’re outraged — outraged! — and will not stand for it.

Is this fixation unhealthy? Decidedly so, no matter how well we lie to ourselves. Is it somehow phallic? Maybe, but that’s not the point. The point is that I don’t give a rat’s patootie about syn values, so I’m going on eBay right now to bid on some Porky Lights.

Todd Hartley swears the Sausage Emporium in Chickahominy existed, but no sessions were ever recorded.

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