The Great Corn Dog Battle of 2008

I just had to take a moment away from what I was doing and record for posterity this historic occasion.

At lunch, today, it was clear that the last corn dog was up for grabs. I seized it easily, being the closest, but the other interested party, 10-year-old Boy #1, wasn’t about to let that be the end of it. Before I knew it, I was fending off hands and arms that seemed to be reaching for the corn dog from all sides simultaneously.

Still, I was confident. Boy #1 normally loses such contests. After all, I’m bigger, smarter, etc. Surely this would be like the many other battles for food supremacy that had occurred before — battles I had easily won (a fact which my girth capably demonstrates).

But, alas, this time was to be different. After several tense moments of successfully defending my possession of the last corn dog against his relentless assault, I thought I was on the cusp of victory when I believed I had his arms twisted in a fashion that would not allow him to use them. So, thinking I was free to begin my victorious scarfing, I moved in for the bite that would represent the coup de grâce. BUT, before I knew what was happening, my underestimated opponent freed one arm and grabbed the corn dog right off the stick, leaving me with the equivalent of a pathetically thin and greasy tongue depressor and him with the full prize: dog & batter. (I know too well — as do those who have wrestled for corn dogs throughout history — that there is truth in the haunting, centuries-old, lyrical refrain: “Dog ‘n’ batter’s all that matters.”)

Perhaps out of an understanding of the truth of Acts 20:35, Boy #1 did happily and voluntarily share the spoils with me, and there was much rejoicing. (Of course, the rejoicing might have been a bit more jubilant on my part if I didn’t have to keep looking at that gleeful look that seemed irremovably pasted across the face of my young opponent.) And I’m sure that he and I will look back years from now and see this as a turning point — the first step in a changing of the guard.

So, let March 24 be annually celebrated henceforth as a commemoration of The Great Corn Dog Battle of 2008. Let the minstrels of future ages tell their tales, but we will ever be able to say: We were there.

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(By the way, I have tried to make this post acceptable for readers from all over the globe by being a bit flexible with my vocabulary. As many Texans know, the proper name for the treat in question is “corny dog” not “corn dog”. However, I like to show off my bilingual skills on occasion.)

8 thoughts on “The Great Corn Dog Battle of 2008

  1. Dear Mr. Smith,

    How are you and yours doing, post-water seepage-wise?

    Well, “corny dog” may be proper in *Texas*, but in The Rest of the World (that I’ve been to thus far), the proper name is “corn dog”. Why, the latter name even made the movie *Ratatouille*. And FWIW, I’ve never actually heard “corny dog” used, not even in The Republic of Texas. Maybe it’s a Northern Texas thing.

    Bilingual, indeed. 🙂 Just be glad you don’t live in the U.K.; I understand that London alone has a diversity of dialects that we Americans probably can’t imagine (and that’s just among the native British). Who knows what the British call a corn dog, even if they have heard of such a thing?

  2. Howdy, Mr. Wheeler —

    The proper Texan terminology has been corrupted since the corny dog was invented in Texas in the late 1930s. Some of us purists hold out hope, however, that proper Texan English will eventually prevail.

    As for what’s considered proper in The Rest of the World, since when did that matter to someone from Texas?

  3. Wit/2

    Dear Mr. Smith:

    Mr. Wheeler asked: “Who knows what the British call a corn dog, even if they have heard of such a thing?”

    I believe the correct British term is: “blighted Yank rubbish.” Coming from a people who believe “bangers ‘n mash” are a delicacy, this term is at the very least ironic, but there it is.

    Re: “corny” dog, are you sure the original term wasn’t “carny” dog? As in, “if we sell meat-on-a-stick, visitors can keep moving around the carnival grounds while they eat?”

  4. Back at ya, Mr. Smith –

    Points taken – and I hope you don’t mind my taking up blog space to say so. 🙂

    But I wouldn’t hold out for “purity” here, were I in your corny-dog-lovin’ place. Languages tend to simplify, not to complexify, over time, and when they do they seldom revert back. Even biblical Hebrew has become easier to pronounce over the centuries. For example, ’tis said that what once was *Mariam* (which carried over into the Greek LXX/NT transliteration intact) became *Miryam* (Miriam) in the Masoretic Text. So what hope does a poor Texan have of Maintaining the Refined Local Speech, if even the World’s Greatest Nitpickers couldn’t do it? 🙂

  5. Wade

    The Internet agree’s with your assessment of the Texas origin’s of the “corny dog”. Check out the Wikipedia article “Corn dog” concerning this facinating and timely debate. Rest assured that with Wikipedia in the mix, the facts must be true, eh?

  6. I’ve had similar trouble with barbeque. Jonny is 6 foot tall at 14 years old, and he decides to wrestle me for the last drumstick. I’m barely holding my own, then eleven year old Tommy blindsides both of us.

    Now I make more than anybody can eat. “There’s another rib!” “No, I’m full.” “Eat it anyway!” “No, I’m full.”

    It’s great. I have some barbeque for lunch the next day.

  7. Appreciated comments, all!

    Wit/2: I appreciate the insight! Perhaps when the hot dog began to take its current form in America in the late 1800s and very early 1900s, some of our brethren from the other side of the “pond” were visiting the World’s Fair in Chicago or St. Louis, saw the hot dog, and commented “blighted Yank rubbish.” Some fellow nearby (a tourist from another foreign land: Texas), upon hearing what he thought was “battered Yank rubbish,” started getting a vision…

    Why, we almost have enough “facts” to create our own Wikipedia entry!

  8. Talk about the Great Corn Dog Battle: Wikipedia cites an adequate number of sources on the subject to establish the fact that…the facts are difficult to establish. 🙂 Looking up the references themselves only adds to the potential corn-fusion (to quote Al Capp’s Dogpatchers).

    The sources seem to agree that the earliest reference dates to 1929 (“Krusty Korn Dog baker”, a kitchen appliance), years before the “corny dog” was introduced at the Texas State Fair between 1938 and 1942. The New York Times refers to “corn dog” stands as early as 1941. There is a debut of the “corn dog” (not on a stick) stand in 1940 in Port Arthur, Texas. And so on. Probably we are seeing what Richard Dawkins and some others would call a “viral” phenomenon in language and cuisine. A good number of people had similar ideas at about the same period of time.

    Presently Dallas holds a yearly Corn Dog – not Corny Dog – Festival. Go figure.

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