There comes a time -- slogging through the bewildering caverns of Home Depot in search of a cotter pin or a 4mm Allen wrench springs to mind -- when you're apt to experience a paradigm shift. For you, our beleaguered do-it-yourselfer, the tortures of the damned await in the shape of some interminable home-improvement project for which, it will soon turn out, you have just bought the wrong screws. Like anyone on the brink of such an abyss, you are rethinking your belief system, particularly regarding what may well be your last meal on this side of perdition. Your definition of redemption suddenly turns from crème brûlée
to something a little more accessible; its name springs to your lips, as the poet said, like a strange prayer. For there, shimmering into view at the end of the purgatorial checkout line, lies your steaming salvation: the weenie cart. The Home Depot hotdog, pink as a cherub, comes anointed, Chicago-style, with tomato and celery salt. Where else will $1.50 get you a little taste of culinary apotheosis on a squishy, melt-away bun?