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 this 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, OMG! I told every person in earshot that when I died I wanted to be buried in Buffalo sauce, preferably in an air-tight Tupperware container. Just burp the lid when I go.
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. Like an addict, I took to the wing in a finger-licking, napkin-abusing orgy of gastronomic indulgence.
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, 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 this morning, 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 for free wings????
Saturday: Grocery store. Buy wings for crock pot.
Sunday: Call Dad. Hint for BW3 gift card.
It may have already gone too far.
A Little Trust
14 hours ago