My Darkest Hour: A Basket of Wings, a Basket of Sorrow

That Capricorn Moon done me wrong, hard. Sunday was a dark day for many reasons. PERSONAL reasons. I am a tormented, inscrutable soul, so yesterday was not unlike many other gloomy, sunny days in Austin, Texas, where you’re not ready to become a barrista, yet also not quite a woman.

Saturday was a Capricorn moon. According to someone I overheard, this means that a time of great emotional turmoil is coming to a close, and the upcoming lunar cycle will be one of reflection and re-evaluation. I have always had strong misgivings about astrology.

And they’ve been DASHED. I am becoming increasingly vulnerable to schools of thought engineered by women, for women. This is, after all, the year I started moisturizing. Anyway, yesterday was one of the darkest days yet. I cannot elaborate on the details, because if you knew the truth I would be RUINED.

Not the least of my causes for grief was a pile of bright orange chicken wings. Gaze, ye sticky, and despair. Homemade_buffalo_wings I have never excelled at decisions made in haste.Yesterday, I found myself watching the World Cup final in a bar, standing room only. My companion and I were very hungry, and as the minutes wore on, it became clear the struggle betwixt Germans and Germans from South America would stretch into an extra 30 minutes. What could we eat standing up?

Quick, the waitress is here! And she has other places to be! Chips and salsa? More like chips and too many details! I’m too young for that kind of responsibility.

CHICKEN WINGS, PLEASE.

Who said that?

“Are chicken wings ok with you?”

“I…I…guess…”

“You want those with ranch or blue cheese?” I recoiled. Meat, dipped in batter, dipped in sauce, dipped in dip? How long must you chew before you get to the truth? But SECONDS HAVE GONE BY. Release the waitress from her purgatory of dip query! “Blue cheese.”

Many have asked, but I’m adding my perplexity to the basket of Seinfeld voices raised high: WHAT’S the DEAL with chicken wings? Do Buffalo chefs engage in a posthumous Chinese wing-binding to make the poultry appendages bend to the Buffalo’s will? When I Googled “Why are buffalo wings so tiny?” Google thought maybe I meant “why do buffalo wings taste so good?” Millions of people have Googled that question. Millions.

Anyway, chicken wings are made from wings, broken at the joint. Buffalo chefs remove the tip of the wing from the drumette, discarding it into a boat bound for Asia, where it will find a loving home. Typically, bars and chain restaurants make their wings from the fattest, most hormone-bloated birds they can find at the nasty chicken market. Buffalo wings originate from the hearty snow drifts of Buffalo, New York, where it is cold enough to forgive everyone for wanting something so obviously the worst. When it’s cold, you need to get drunk to stay warm, and wings bring you to that next-level clog that ultimately allows you to survive the winter.

My main objection: You can get ranch. You can get blue cheese. What you can’t get is a no-sauce-on-my-body option. To touch a wing is to feel dip on your skin, dip dipped in dip, on meat, dipped. Chicken wings don’t play by the rules. I’m waving a flag in the chicken wing lobby’s face, and it reads: “MY BODY, MY SAUCE.” They won’t listen! And they never will, until we as a people make it clear that our mouths and fingers are sick of their sticky, orange disrespect.

We moved to an open ledge where we could safely place the chicken wings. A ruthless soccer fan loudly protested, as Max’s head blocked his view of the 7 widescreen TVs. So Max crouched to eat his basket of meat, surrounded by hairy calves. A nearby fusty hen congratulated the man on his brave outburst. “It just wasn’t cool,” he said, shrugging.

Bones stacked up, leaning casually against uneaten meat. Grasping a leg, or a wing, the sauce dampened my fingertips, and the squish of fried batter soaked in hot butter sauce brought my world to a standstill. Lettuce confetti clung to the damp morsels, orange shreds so far removed from planthood they might as well have been turds from outer space.

“I can’t eat this,” I announced.

Max looked at me, his eyes hollow pools of devastation and disappointment.

Ok, maybe I can eat them.

I spent the rest of the day weeping. Not because of the wings. Because of my deep, dark secrets. But the wings didn’t help.

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