Hyperbole World

My wife Tricia and I were driving home from a vacation in Acadia National Park when we passed a roadside hot dog stand named “Dog Eat Dog World” in Waldoboro, Maine. We laughed and drove on but the more we thought about it, the funnier it got. The “dog-eat-dog world” pun is clever, but the gumption needed to name a roadside hot dog stand in Waldoboro a “world” impressed and intrigued us both. Why call it a “world?” “Dog Eat Dog Trailer” would be more accurate but admittedly much less appealing! Was it hope or humor or hubris (or all three) that inspired Mom and Pop to create a new “world?”

Whatever the reason, we soon realized that we had to go back so made a U-turn, grabbed the camera and took a few photos. Only later, when looking at the images on a large computer monitor did I notice the other oddly funny elements. Why are the hot dogs “worldly?” Have they been around? Why is the huge sign hanging from a rust-stained torpedo? Are dual phallic references a marketing ploy? Who is the target audience? Should they add stuffed eggplant, banana split and carrot cake to the menu? Inquiring minds want to know!

Only later did we come to learn that there is a world of “worlds” out there. “Dog Eat Dog World” was only the beginning of the “Hyperbole World” project.

Visually, Hyperbole World is a collection of photographs showing Mom and Pop shops named “X World” where “X” is a noun like Bagel, Crocodile, Condom, Magic or Spandex. The images, I hope, are interesting but ultimately the goal of this book is to showcase the hope, pride, gumption, imagination, humor, pluck (and, OK, maybe a little hubris) of the owners.

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