The deep wisdom of the hot dog man 🌭🚣🏽‍♂️


“Let me tell you my dream for retirement,” he said. "I want to buy a fiberglass hot dog boat.”

I didn’t know it yet, but this man–a chatty antiques vendor in upstate New York–was about to drop some deep wisdom on me.

“When you buy from me, you’re contributing to my retirement fund. All I want to do for the rest of my life is to move to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, buy a paddle boat shaped like a hot dog, and spend my days paddling up and down the beach selling hot dogs to hungry beachgoers.”

“The dogs, of course, will be dressed up as condiments and can swim next to me.” he added, nodding at the four small sleeping dogs in nearby van. We laughed.

“Here’s why this is my dream: I’ll be outside all day, getting exercise, and my whole life will be about making people happy. They’ll be happy temporarily, because they have a hot dog, but I’ll get to be happy all of the time, because my entire focus will be making other people feel good.”

I handed him some cash, accepted my carefully wrapped purchase, and walked away, grinning.

This aspiring hot dog man knew in his heart a deep truth of human existence: that a life lived in service of others offers more potential for happiness than a life lived just for ourselves.

In Mahayana Buddhism, a boddhisattva is a person who vows to give up their own self-interest in an effort to live in a way that is of benefit to others. This might be a monk in saffron robes, seated in meditation and surrounded by a cloud of incense . . . or it might be the hot dog man, paddling up and down the beach while his tiny condiments swim close by.

Do you get my weekly emails yet? They are pretty special.💗

Featured picture is by @MissyMinzi.