In February Daily RFT ran a short item about University of Missouri seniors who were seeking employment driving the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile around the country, spreading the gospel of processed meats. One of the students quoted, St. Louis native Brian Mallioux, said that driving the giant hot dog would be "a good opportunity to interact with different people, just getting yourself out there."
You may (or may not) be pleased to learn that Mallioux got the gig. Or, as he puts it in a communiqué he sent our way, "I was chosen as one of 12 individuals who cut the mustard for this position from over 1,000 applicants nationwide." He also says he would "relish the opportunity" to speak to Gut Check about his "bunderful" opportunity.
Late last week, we took him up on the offer.
Gut Check: Did you come up with all those puns yourself?
Brian Mallioux: A lot of puns come up in daily conversation. But we also come up with a lot on our own.
Do you have a favorite?
Yes! Being a hotdogger was in my B-O-L-O-D-N-A. It comes with being a biology major.
Oh, right. [Groan.] What do hotdoggers do, exactly?
We drive around to promotional events, mostly at retail stores, but we just left a camp where 200 kids came up to take a picture of us. We're promoting a Win the Wienermobile for a Day Contest. It's part of our Good Mood Mission.
You encourage people to share good moods! They have to finish the statement, "If I could ride shotgun in a Weinermobile for one day, I would...." Most are simple ones, like "go to the park" or "a baseball game with my friends," but we had one kid say he would take it to a hospital and visit everyone there and bring medicine.
What a suck-up.
Sorry. What's the best part of driving the Wienermobile?
It's an opportunity to travel and meet people from all walks of life. Some people are seeing the Wienermobile for the first time. It's a chance to create memories. Some people in their 70s remember when they first saw it.
It's that old?
It goes back to 1936.
Wow. Is it hard to drive?
Surprisingly not that bad. It's comparable to a big truck or minivan, even though it's a 27-foot-long hot dog. The mirrors help us not scratch our buns.
Do you sleep in the Wienermobile?
No, it's not a Weenie-bago.
I don't know if you're enjoying the puns as much as I am.
That noise was a sound of appreciation.
We have hotel rooms. But on our days off, we use it as a personal vehicle. It's like driving a celebrity. People take pictures on the roadway.
How many miles to the gallon does that thing get?
I don't like to measure it in miles per gallon. I measure it in smiles per mile. There's not a single person who can look at it and not smile. I was my university mascot for three and a half years --
You were Truman the Tiger?
I was Truman. I was a fun, goofy tiger who made everyone laugh. The Wienermobile is sort of like that. You enlighten someone's day.