My wife and I were driving down the Post Road over the weekend when I spotted a KFC — for those of you who don’t know, that’s corporate code language for what was once known as Kentucky Fried Chicken, the empire created by Colonel Harland Sanders, based on his secret recipe for “finger lickin’ good” chicken. More secret, in fact, than the blueprints for the Tomahawk cruise missile or President Trump’s tax returns.
“Turn around,” I pleaded. I’m dying for a piece of Southern fried chicken.
I haven’t had any since we left Florida sometime in the last millennium … before they invented the blood test for cholesterol.
Her response was swift and decisive. “It ain’t happening,” she said, putting the pedal to the metal and running a red light or two or maybe three. “Your cholesterol is high enough, and the last thing you need is to be stuffing your face with fried chicken.”
“One breast isn’t going to kill me!”
“Ask the doctor when you go for your physical next week.”
Uh-oh, she was invoking the family physician, which always strikes fear in my heart. I was sure she would call him, along with my sister the doctor, Dr. Oz, Dr. Seuss, Dr. Ben Carson and Doogie Howser. Then, she would convene a medical panel and start deliberations to determine if I could have a fried chicken wing. (They would never give me permission to have the breast.)
I tried to tell her that Colonel Sanders lived to the venerable old age of 90 and probably ate more drumsticks in his life than I’ve eaten carrot sticks — and had a lot more fun doing it. So I guess it’s back to raw broccoli and fat-free yogurt dip, followed by kale salad with fat-free ranch dressing or wallpaper paste, depending upon your tastes.
On the other hand, I admit my compulsion isn’t satisfied with one chicken leg. Then, I’d move on to one large pepperoni pizza, one box of Cadbury creme-filled Easter eggs and one obscenely large container of buttered popcorn. But when the annual physical approaches, I try to be as vigilant about my health as an athlete preparing for the New York City Marathon.
The temptation, however, wouldn’t go away. The next day I was driving down the Post Road again, that boulevard of broken dreams, commercialism, consumerism and everything that’s bad for us — from fast food to tattoo parlors, strip malls and Cold Stone ice cream.
Suddenly, I spied Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, known for “Popeyes famous fried chicken and biscuits,” and I thought to myself, “Time for some excitement.” I had the same devious motives as teenagers who brandish fake IDs to get a Sam Adams at Planet Hollywood. But Popeyes wouldn’t card me to check my cholesterol levels.
Just as I was about to turn the steering wheel toward the drive-up window, my cell phone rang. It was my wife. The woman must be psychic. (When our daughters were growing up, she exercised the same kind of Vulcan mind control and could tell if they were up to no good and lying just by looking in their eyes.)
“Where are you?”
“Ahhh…” I stammered. It was a moral dilemma. I couldn’t tell the truth and I didn’t want to lie.
“I’m on my way home,” I said. Curses, foiled again! Popeyes would have to wait until another day, another decade.
“Is this obsession over a piece of fried chicken normal?” I wondered. Then, I read about a fellow who suffered from a worse compulsion and got arrested for it. A Florida man allegedly broke into an Orlando home and started drinking the family’s vodka, and when homeowner Samantha O’Neill returned, she found him at the stove, frying chicken.
“He was in here, drunk as a skunk, just being Betty Crocker,” her sister Melissa said. I don’t think this is how Colonel Sanders got his start, but I could be wrong.
Ronald Wesly was later charged with burglary and larceny. As for the chicken, some of the family’s friends ate it and their verdict was: “It was seasoned very well.” Who knows? His culinary skills could help him get a reduced sentence.
Even though I consider myself a law-abiding citizen, the temptation to commit breaking-and-entering so I can fry chicken wings is enticing, except for one thing — I can’t cook and would probably end up setting the house on fire, and it would likely be my house.
You may contact Joe Pisani at [email protected]