Friday, August 23, 2013

Chicken identification

I had an epiphany the other day. I realized that I am so screwed if my wife ever wises up and leaves me.

This new appreciation came while I was attending the wedding ceremony of my nephew and new niece. The wedding was a beautiful outdoor affair, and we even enjoyed sunny weather with a temperature in the mid-70s. It couldn't have been more perfect. You're probably assuming that it was in this romantic setting that I came about this new awareness of how important my wife is to me. Well … kind of.

The revelation all started because my daughter was asked to be the flower girl for the wedding. She did a fine job of tossing the orange flower petals as she strode down the aisle between the two sections of seats in her freshly-curled hair and crisp white dress. She stood there smiling as the vows were made and smiled even more as the photographer took pictures following the ceremony. She was very careful to make sure that her dress didn't get dirty.

It was because of this nice white dress that my wife decided she needed to help her go through the food line at the reception. She said that after being careful for so long, it would be a shame to spill a bunch of food on herself now. I tend to believe it was just a ploy made by my wife to get to the food quicker than the rest of the people at our table.

The reception meal consisted of some of the best fried chicken you'll ever taste, along with all the goodies that go with it. My wife proceeded through the line getting my daughter and herself a plate of food, while I was sent to take care of the beverages. My wife sat down at the table ready to eat at about the same time the rest of us were standing up to get in line for food. Looking back, I believe she might have had a smirk on her face realizing the quandary I was about to find myself in.

As my son and I approached the long tables that held all the food, one of my biggest fears smacked me right in the face. You see, for some unknown reason, I have never had the ability to determine the difference between light meat and dark meat when it comes to picking out fried chicken. I must have been absent the day that they taught that in school. (For your scorecards at home, I've always been a white meat kind of guy. Right or wrong, that's how I roll.) In a situation where there are no grown-ups around to help me out, nine times out of 10, I will pick out what I think is a chicken breast, and it will inevitably end up being a thigh. My wife, who was seated back at the table with her smirk, normally serves as the adult who assists me. Uh-oh. Dark meat was on my horizon.

While I nervously sorted through the big pile of fried chicken parts, my blood pressure rose, and I felt dizzy. As I pondered which piece I was going to take a chance on, I could feel the gaze of the old lady on the other side of the table glaring at me. As she waited for me to put down the stainless steel tongs, I know that she could tell that I didn't have a clue on what I was doing. Under pressure and wanting to get that lady her precious tongs, I just grabbed whatever was on top and plopped it on my plate. Odds-makers would say that my chances were 50-50 that I got lucky and chose correctly. Odds-makers can be so wrong.

As I worked my way down the rest of the table, I piled french fries and coleslaw right up against and on top of the piece of chicken, so that nobody else could view my food selection. Mainly people with smirks on their faces.

Leaving the serving table and walking toward my seat, my eyes fell upon my wife. Her smirk had been replaced by a broad smile accompanied by chortles of laughter. From approximately 25-30 feet away, in a darkened, candle-lit reception hall, she could tell that I had picked a thigh instead of a breast even though it was obscured by an inch and a half of fries and coleslaw. It's like she's some kind of chicken-savant. She's the "Rainman" of poultry.

I slumped dejectedly down into my metal folding chair as she continued to giggle. Soon everyone at the table knew of my predicament, and they thought it was funny too. After they all got their guffaws out of their systems, my wife asked me if I would like her to go up and pick out a chicken breast. I sniffled and sheepishly said, "Yes, please. And a wing too."

The moral to the story is that I guess that I'd better do what I can to make sure she's happy. Besides picking out my chicken, she also does our taxes, makes sure I have the right sticker on my license plate, deals with the front counter people at motels, drives in heavy traffic so I don't freak out, picks out my favorite cereal and buys me dress pants with the stretchy elastic in the waistband.

But now that I think about it, if I stopped eating fried chicken, the stretchy waistband wouldn't be as critical.


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