Photo by Miguel García

"Welcome to the Wieners Circle--Can I take your order, BIT@%!"

What would happen if you felt free to say whatever foul thing you wanted? At The Wieners Circle in Chicago, you can almost get that experience.

The Wieners Circle is a hot dog stand in Chicago that caters to an inebriated, late-night clientele. This special population can turn quite verbally aggressive, and some 15 years ago, owner Larry Gold got fed up. He told his employees:

"Whatever they dish out, we have to dish out back to them."

And so they did.

"The language got worse and worse. It started out with a little bit of joking, but it evolved," Gold said.

In Episode Six - Pandoras Box of the Showtime series This American Life, Ira Glass documents the result--foul language and all. The evening started out jovial, but as the night wore on, so did the temper and language of the employees. Things were said that probably shouldn't have been...But what do you do when customers come to The Wieners Circle expecting some verbal abuse? You give it to them, and then some.

BTW, about the only expletive that isn't used in this racial charged environment (patrons are typically white and employees black) is quite naturally "the N word." But just about everything else seems to be fair game....disparaging your mother's heritage being a favorite.

Interesting note: Employees at The Wieners Circle tend to stay a long time; perhaps all that venting is therapeutic.

WARNING: Video contains some VERY bad language. Not for children or sensitive adults...

As I watched this piece, I wondered if somehow such a practice could be a good thing. What would it be like if we felt free to say whatever the hell we felt--no worries about offending religious beliefs or racial slurs?

Remember Lenny Bruce?...Remember where he ended up?

I can't say I believe it would be all good, but seeing this piece did make me wonder...if only for a second.

Relishing insults - Wiener Circle - Tribune piece on The Weiners Circle.

Eat, Pray, Love
by Elizabeth Gilbert

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