Dear Crabby,

Last week, while accomplishing my errands as a semi-functional adult, I was shocked and appalled at what I witnessed in our local Costco. I had taken a break to enjoy a delightful Costco hot dog garnished appropriately with yellow mustard and sweet relish.

As I consumed my wondrous meat in tube-form, I observed another customer slathering his dog in nearly gratuitous amounts of ketchup — in plain view of the public — with women and children present.

This is simply not something to be done in polite society. To paraphrase the late, great Indoorsman, I would sooner eat chocolate cake with hot sauce than a hot dog covered in ketchup.

I was so floored by his brazen rudeness, I finished my hot dog and left. Later, I regretted my decision and wished I’d done more to intervene. Especially to set a good example for the children.

What would have been a better course of action to politely yet firmly correct this consumer’s error?


Grossed Out in Union Gap

Dear Grossed Out,

First of all, thanks for remembering The Indoorsman; I had a great time airing my unreconstructed id in that column for a lot of years.

I stopped writing it in 2017 because I had outgrown the concept. The Indoorsman was built around the idea of an idiot man-child describing his sloth and debauchery in comic terms. Once I got married, and especially once I had a kid, I just didn’t have the same wealth of material from which to draw. I grew up, in other words.

Part of that growth, to my amazement and slight disappointment, is that I don’t care THAT much anymore about ketchup on hot dogs. It’s still gross, obviously, and I still don’t understand why anyone would do it. But I’m too tired to get all worked up about it. I’ll even put ketchup on a hot dog for my wife, which I couldn’t have imagined doing a decade ago.

It’s a matter of priorities. I only have so much time and energy, and I can’t afford to spend either on strangers. I have two kids now, so I have more important stuff to worry about. Not to mention we increasingly seem to be living in an end-times dystopia. The earth is on fire, man; condiments and their proper or improper application just aren’t occupying as much of my brain as they used to.

Anyway, that’s me. You want to get worked up over the whole ketchup-on-hot-dogs thing, I won’t stop you. I used to BE you. But, to answer your question about how you could “politely yet firmly correct this consumer’s error,” that’s the sort of thing only an honest-to-god maniac would do. I mean, can you imagine how you’d feel if a stranger told you not to put whatever thing on whatever food you were eating? I would have to invent new forms of profanity if someone did that to me. Or at least new arrangements of it.

I know that’s not the anti-ketchup screed you probably wanted. But you can always look up those old Indoorsman columns for that.

Hope that helps.



Please send your questions, complaints and irritations to with the subject “Dear Crabby.”