Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hot Dog on a Roof

I was by myself when I almost died. I was utterly alone with one thought running through my head: This is it. This is how it’s going to happen, choking to death on a hot dog on the roof of a Home Depot parking lot.

I was in a rush that day, trying to squeeze in some errands during my lunch break. WonderWife™ and I were in the midst of renovating our house, so I was making one of the dozens of trips to Home Depot that I would make that week. Anyone who’s ever shopped at Home Depot knows what a colossal time suck it can be, so there was no time for me to finish my errands, pick up food and get back to my office in time for my next meeting. Thankfully there was a roach coach stationed at the entrance to the store so I picked up a hot dog and headed toward the parking garage. It was one of those jumbo quarter-pounder things so big it might intimidate a man lacking in self-confidence.

I took a huge bite as I walked to my car, which I had left on the top floor of the garage. The dog was extremely hot and the bite got lodged in my windpipe. It was jammed in my throat and I could not breathe. I had no idea what to do. There was not a single other person around. There wasn’t even another car parked up there. Gasping for air, I imagined how long it would take before somebody found me lying dead on the roof, a half eaten jumbo dog in one hand and a box of inordinately expensive box of kitchen tile in the other. As the panic set in, I thought about the unborn son that I would not get to meet because I was hungry and in a hurry. What a stupid, pointless way to go.

I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but after what seemed like minutes I managed to expel the dog from my throat. I was okay, although the hot dog had been so hot that it seared my esophagus and I couldn’t talk for the next few days. It was incredibly painful. But I was alive.

Now that years have passed since the incident, the humor of it is not lost on me. Choking to death on a tube of processed meat next to a home improvement store is one of the more ridiculous ways to meet one’s maker. But had it gone wrong, it would have been tragic as well. I am not exaggerating when I say that I nearly died that day. And as much as I would like to say that my life changed in that moment, that the sky became brighter, air became sweeter and I would forever savor every day that followed, it wasn’t like that. After the adrenaline wore off and my throat healed, my near-death was soon pushed to the back of my mind and stored along with the other stories that make up my consciousness.

I don’t actually think about that day very often…except when I’m eating a hot dog.


Your escalator operator said...

I always say those things should come with warning labels.

" ... the unborn son..." Well, that and the blog you never would have been able to write!

WannabeVirginia W. said...

Well glad you dislodge the dog from your throat. Not a good idea to have a dog just lounging around in there.

Next time that happens you could always hurl yourself against a wall in this case on the hood of your car.

Yes, no? I am confused where you at home on the roof, in your garage or at the home depot when the incident occurred?

SciFi Dad said...

Lost in all of this is the fact that for two or three days your wife didn't have to listen to you whine about how a hot dog nearly killed you. ;)

The Pipster said...

Have you seen the size of the hot dogs at Costco?

Daddy Geek Boy said...

YEO...Apparently hot dogs are considered a choking hazard for kids under 6. (And based on my experience, for adults in their 30s).

Wannabe...I was on the top floor of a Home Depot parking garage.

SciFi...Very true. Very true indeed.

Pipster...In the immortal words of the Bean, "Are you teasing me?"

Ellie said...

In first aid training, they always told me that if you're choking by yourself, hurl yourself on top of the nearest waist high object. The trauma nurse that was teaching it said that her daughter had swallowing issues and choked on things all the time and was forever doing the Heimlich on herself by throwing herself over chairs and whatnot. Oh, and here's what the AAP has to say about hot dogs (which is why I always cut them up)


But I'm glad that the hot dog didn't do you in!

James (SeattleDad) said...

Man, that would be one of the worst ways to die.

Glad you are here now and blogging instead of the punchline of some parking lot attendants story.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Ellie...Nobody is as happy as I am.

James...Its not a heroic way to go, like stopping a bank robbery or something.

ZenMom said...

Not dying almost always makes for a better ending to a story.

When I was a teenager, I accidentally tried to aspirate a slice of apple. Fortunately, I was in the home of a medical doctor, who administered the Heimlich maneuver. But it really was a very scary several moments.

I've since had a few other incidents of oxygen deprivation - including a couple of scary SCUBA moments. (What? This surprises you? C'mon. You KNOW I'm a total klutz.)

Death-by-drowning has long been very near the top of my "most unpleasant ways to die" list. But any type of asphyxiation is definitely in the top ten.

FWIW: I'm really glad you're not dead. And that you still eat hot dogs. Carpe Cuisine.

handstowar said...

Ever hear of the "Darwin Awards"... you probably would have won one if that hot dog succeeded in killing you

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Zen...Thanks. I'm glad I'm alive too. Though I bet my body wishes I were not able to eat hot dogs any more.

Handstowar...This story is funny to everyone but me.

SheSaid/HeSaid said...

Yeesh - I don't think I want to eat hot dogs again . . . at least not alone! Home Depot and hot dogs - a deadly combination.

Thanks for the warning - and I'm glad you lived to blog about it! :-)

Daddy Geek Boy said...

SheSaid...Feel safe to eat hot dogs, just be sure you do what I tell my children to do: take SMALL bites!

A Vapid Blonde said...

It might also be the stuff that legends are made of. Or at least Urban Myths.