There I sat at the dining room table with a plain cold single hot dog on a plate in front of me. “You sit there until you eat it,” was my mother’s edict. We ate at 5 pm. It was now 7. It amazed me I could sit there for so long.

JamesDeanI generally only needed to eat a silver dollar sized portion of meat. Mom would emphasize this by hooking her thumb and index finger together. It was usually only two bites and I could make myself do that. But this night was different. Those red, spongy logs get cold so quickly; and they were boiled.

My friends got to eat them in coffin-shaped buns from the store (the kind of bread they now tell us balls up in your gut). We had to eat ours with homemade bread. The store bought buns securely enveloped its prey. The bread we had sometimes split at the seam revealing its cadaverous contents.

Tonight the bread had been cleared from the table. The jar of mustard was there, which would only make it worse. At some point my father declared that the way to eat a hotdog was with cream cheese. My world opened up that day, but not tonight.

One day, after turning 50, a voice said to me, “You don’t have to eat two bites of meat anymore. You’re 50 years old.” Why had it taken so long for me to break free of that programming? I eat precisely one hotdog a year now so that my body doesn’t get lazy and forget how to fight.

I was given a reprieve that night. I’d won, fully welcoming to the table of life my Rebel Archetype, and also giving premonition of not only my teenage years, but my Life Companion.