There’s a guy I know – we’ll call him “Wing Eater” – who’s playing with something he doesn’t know anything about. I feel like I should warn him. I have an obligation, don’t I, if I know the kind of trouble he’s heading towards?
I don’t recall when wings became so readily available; but unlike the baked-potato bar of the past, it appears they’re here to stay.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve nothing against meat on the bone. Some of my favorite foods come attached to bones. But there’s something about wings, something insidious. Something alluring. Something dangerous.
I didn’t always feel that way. There was a time when the promise of Buffalo wings could get me in a cold car on a cold night, when all I needed to hear was a word that rhymed with “wing” to put me in the mood…
I remember my first Buffalo-style chicken wing. Buffalo Wild Wing and Weck – also known as BW3 – was where I was introduced to the Buffalo wing. The sauce! The sauce! As the kids are saying these days, OMG! I told every person in ear shot that when I died I wanted to be buried in Buffalo sauce. Like an addict, I took to the wing in a finger-licking, napkin-abusing orgy of gastronomic indulgence.
And for the longest time, it was a treat. You couldn’t get them just anywhere! You had to seek them out. You had to have connections. Wings were not on every menu, not on every street corner, not handed out with new checking accounts as they are now. No, a good Buffalo chicken wing was reliably available at few places; and one of those places was BW3. I went. So help me God, I went. Like a deer to a salt lick, I went.
My lips burned, my fingers were stained orange. I wouldn’t admit I had a problem. As long as I went to work, I thought, as long as I paid my bills…
Meanwhile, the bones in the garbage piled up.
What marked the end of my Wing Days? Was it when I started missing work, my sauce-stained shirts at the bottom of the hamper? Was it the tearful phone call from my mother begging me to lay off the sauce? Was it the morning I woke up on the couch, one hand on the remote, the other hand still in a bucket, my nails stained and greasy, chicken flesh under my nails?
It was all those things. I had a problem.
I joined a group. I found a mentor, and I got clean. Yeah, that’s my car with the “Sauce-Free and Loving It” sticker in the parking lot.
I was lucky.
But now my friend – I believe we agreed to call him “Wing Eater” – he’s on that long, spicy road to madness. I need to do something.
I found this on the front seat of his car the other day, a scrap of paper suspiciously orange, the ink smeared:
Monday: Spring Street $5.50. Happy Hour 3 to 7. Ten in basket. Enough?
Tuesday: BW3 40 cents a wing. Bring change jar.
Wednesday: Mayslack’s 25 cents a wing – delish!
Thursday: Legends, 30 cents each – meaty. Bartender: John. Ask him about Packers. Ha ha!
Friday: Spring Street Bar and Grill again? Bartender during Happy Hour thinks I’m cute. Sweet talk????
Saturday: Grocery store. Buy wings for crock pot.
Sunday: Call Dad. Beg for BW3 gift card.
It may have already gone too far.
Pearl is a Minnesota native and her daily blog “Pearl, Why You Little…” has been featured on Minnpost.com’s “BlogCabin” and the online magazines Praxis and Indie Ink. She is currently rated #17 of the top 100 bloggers in Minnesota by newsbobber, Minnesota’s Blog Directory. She lives in Northeast Minneapolis and is in for several grand to two scam-running and perhaps subversive cats.