Like you, we love the Klement’s Racing Sausages. So much so that at least one of us donned the unnatural casing to race during the sixth inning at Brewers games -- Matt Mueller -- and three more (Andy Tarnoff, Jeff Sherman and I) climbed into the iconic tubes to frolic on Water and Wisconsin in the early days of OnMilwaukee.com.
But, the other day, while gazing down at the figures on a T-shirt celebrating 20 years of sal-seech, I wondered if a few of them couldn’t use a bit of a makeover and if the time is ripe for a sixth member of the meat-grinder gang. It’s been nearly a decade already since Chorizo joined the linkage.
Two guys -- they are guys, I assume, based on facial hair and well, never mind -- that could use a bit of a rethink are Hot Dog and Polish. First, they’re both wearing stripes. What’s up with that? You didn’t see both Mork and Mindy with rainbow suspenders. Shirley wasn’t wearing a cursive "S" on her sweaters.
Let’s get these guys more readily distinguishable gear. Hot Dog could perhaps have wavy yellow stripes (or red, if you’re a ketchup-on-your-wiener type), but maybe that's a little too obvious.
And why, when Brat, Italian and Chorizo are sizzling ethnic stereotypes, is Polish just an ordinary, anonymous dude in stripes and a baseball hat?
Even the sausages’ own website notes that, "for the fans, Polish Sausage seems to get lost in the shuffle with his humble personality."
What does that tell you? Maybe it’s time to slap a Polish falcon on his shirt or something. I’ll draw the line at suggesting he ought to play into the Polish jokes paradigm. That’d be like putting a big Chef Boyardee moustache and chef’s hat on Italian. Oh, wait, right. Never mind.
And what about a new sausage?
There is no sausage that the African-American community can really get behind, which is a major oversight. Phone up Daphne Jones at Glorious Malone’s Fine Sausage on King Drive and she can help design a classy Uncle Jessie’s Smoked Sausage. Klement’s can’t possibly see this small, local, independent business as a threat.
How about Asian Milwaukee? OK, it’s a varied community, and tough, perhaps, to embody in a single cased meat, but Hmong butchers and chefs make a delicious pork sausage. Or why not a Chả lụa Vietnamese sausage?
While Hot Dog presumably is meant to represent the WASP element, a hot dog is basically a German wiener, isn’t it? So, we could pay tribute to our Mayflower pilgrim pioneers with an English banger. He could hold half a fried tomato while he races.
Let’s remember, too, that Miller Park is located in the Menomonee Valley, so why not a racing Native American sausage designed, like any should be, with, ahem, taste and sensitivity?
And, finally, as I hinted at earlier, there are no women sausages. Are we OK with that?
Do you have some suggestions for a sixth sausage or a redesign of the current beloved racers? Post them using the talkback feature below or on Facebook.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.