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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Students convert dormitory bathroom into communal hotdog kitchen

Bianca Oppedisano
A group of students cook hotdogs in a Motley Hall East communal bathroom. Illustration by Bianca Oppedisano / Mass Media Staff.

You may have heard the rumors; the whispers in the back of the classroom; the murmurs through the grapevine. You may have observed students discretely passing each other pieces of paper, folded evenly in half along the vertical axis. What could this mean? Curiosity is eating away at you, gnawing at your brain, turning your simple desire for truth into a burning necessity to be, “in the know.” What’s the hype? What could your peers possibly be discussing in the shadows? What secrets could they be trading? If you’re too worried to out your ignorance by asking, I’ll do you a favor and fill you in. They’re talking about hotdogs. 

It’s no secret that the cost of eating at the Campus Center Food Court and Resident Dining Commons is outrageous. Even with the meal plan, the anxiety of one day having to pay it back with interest looms over your shoulder like a dark angel of death, and regardless of how many waffle fries you shovel down your gullet, that anxiety remains. This is why two dormitory residents decided to take matters into their own hands by converting one of the 11th-floor communal bathrooms in East Hall into UMass Boston’s first-ever communal hotdog kitchen. 

Providing the true “food of the people” as cofounder Lindsay Wiener puts it so eloquently, students have been coming in droves to get in on a piece of the sausage dream. Everything including buns, condiments and of course, the dogs themselves are provided free of charge to cook up on one of several provided hotplates plugged into a long daisy chain of power strips along the wall. 

“Initially, we wanted to set up a soup kitchen,” explained Wiener, “but we decided that soup’s too wet and sloppy, not to mention hard to share.”

The duo eventually decided on hotdogs after supposedly making a deal with Sodexo employee, Ralph McDoyle, to sneak them large quantities of the tubular meat in exchange for crystal meth. When asked about this rumored exchange, founder number two, The Reprehensible Slumdawg Frank—I asked, and yes, that’s his actual name—provided little context. 

“So we traded the guy meth? Big whoop!” For whatever reason, Frank then decided to steer the conversation back to the soup: “My partner, Lindsay, says we don’t do soup ’cause it’s too slippy and slorppy or whatever, but that ain’t the truth. I didn’t wanna do the soup because it exists in a state of uncertainty. Like, is it a solid or a liquid? Foods equal solids; drinks equal liquids. Soup ain’t no solid,  but people don’t call it a drink neither. I don’t know what it is. All I’m saying is when I piss it out, it’s piss, not s—. It’s an enigma!”

Frank represents something of a wildcard for the fledgling operation, a fact that concerns Wiener, who is far more pragmatic and rational: “He’s just screaming all the damn time! He’ll be in there criticizing people’s hotdogs, saying it’s shoddy craftsmanship. I caught him last week threatening to beat someone to death for requesting ranch dressing. The dude’s a liability.” 

Frank’s erratic behavior is especially problematic considering the fact that the hotdog kitchen strives to fly under the radar of university officials who Wiener fears could pull the plug due to the potential health hazards associated with the combination of raw meat and college restrooms. All patrons of the kitchen are sworn to absolute secrecy, and when discussing it around campus, they are urged to speak in code. Common phrases could include, “Hey, you watching the game tonight?” met with, “Yeah, and I’ve got HD if you wanna come over to my place.” 

Despite the best efforts of Frank and Wiener to keep the truth close to their chests, the administration has been realizing that something isn’t quite as it seems. Our very own Chancellor Marcelo Suárez-Orozco has, according to himself, spent long hours piling over the breadcrumbs in what he believes is a sketchy operation involving high-definition televisions. 

“I don’t know why these students are so hush-hush about high-def!” Spoke the Chancellor, a hint of envy in his voice: “I mean, who doesn’t have high-def these days? It’s 2023! For the love of Pete, I was there when they invented high-def! You think you’re cool? News flash, you’re not.” 

The chancellor actually came close to cracking the code in an undercover mission where he reportedly dressed as a student before attempting to infiltrate the bathroom. Students going about the dorm that night claimed to have seen an older man wearing a backward baseball cap, sunglasses and a UMass Boston hoodie roaming the floors looking extremely out of breath. If it wasn’t for the quick warning of the building security guard—who had been bribed with hotdogs to act as a lookout—then the community’s only affordable food source would have undoubtedly been lost. The chancellor later spoke about his embarrassing escapade.

“There was only one elevator working, so I had to take the gosh-dang stairs. It’s no wonder their scout was able to rat me out, it took me, like, 20 minutes to get up there. Geez, Louise, what does it take to get something fixed around here? Anyway, when I did get up there, all I smelled was hotdogs! I don’t know what kind of TVs they got, but I guess high-definition applies to smells now. I gotta get me one of those,” he said. 

While the chancellor is distracted trying to purchase “high-definition, odor-emitting televisions,” Wiener plans to kick things into high gear with the goal of one day putting a kitchen in every dormitory bathroom.

“We’ve got weenies up the wazoo,” declared a passionate Wiener, “so come and check us out on East Hall’s 11th floor!”

Even The Reprehensible Slumdawg Frank seemed to echo his partner’s sentiment, saying: “We got wieners up the hoo-ha, so come on down and get a taste of one of Frank’s franks. Just remember to keep your frank in the tank, ’cause this ain’t a bathroom no more.”

So, if you’re a UMass Boston student residing in the dorms, or even a commuter looking for a quick bite to eat at no cost, Frank and Wiener have got you covered. Not only does the hotdog kitchen supply much-needed nutrients to the student body, but it instills values such as community, teamwork and the knowledge of how to successfully manage and conceal an underground crime ring. However, if you do decide to stop by East Hall’s 11th-floor communal bathroom, just remember to knock and provide the secret password, “HD, HD, H-Diggity-D,” and I ain’t talkin’ about high-def TVs.    

About the Contributors
Joe DiPersio, Humor Editor
Bianca Oppedisano, Illustrator