There are some things everyone remembers from their youth. First kiss, first concert, first heartbreak. The first time they hitchhiked to Vegas to become a showgirl, and had sex with Kyle MacLachlan in a pool. I wonder why we cling to those “firsts.” Perhaps it’s because those were the moments that felt like they were straight out of book about becoming an adult. Like we were the “coming of age” heroes in a Judy Blume novel or an Anne of Green Gables book. We compared ourselves to them. Will we get our first kiss or first period at the same time as Margaret in Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret? Or, like Anne Shirley, will we be 18 the first time actor Kyle MacLachlan pours champagne all over our naked bodies and makes love to us in a pool, flopping us around like a dead fish? Is that how it happened for you? Or maybe you were the age the Sweet Valley twins were when they met Kyle MacLachlan. Perhaps it happened even younger for you, like in the Babysitter’s club book, Mary Anne and the Secret Kyle MacLachlan.
I guess it doesn’t matter when exactly it happened. Just that we all remember where we were during that first encounter with Kyle MacLachlan. For the important part of the whole thing is that we were no longer boys or girls after Kyle MacLachlan showed up at our doorstop in a terry cloth robe stolen from a mid-level hotel and had his way with us — we were adults. These are the universal moments that define us.
But there are some things about growing up that are less like a lightning bolt of memory, and more like a series of quiet moments that make our respective childhoods feel cozy. Like, for instance, I don’t remember the first time I ate chicken wings, just that they were a defining feature of life since… well… forever. There are pictures of me graduating high school with a diploma in one hand and a chicken wing in the other (except there was no diploma, just chicken wings because my education was in a chicken wing factory, and my teachers were just more chicken wings). And the picture of my first piano recital — me, playing a Tchaikovsky concerto with chicken wings instead of fingers! Also, there was no piano, and we had no camera at the chicken wing factory, so it’s just a drawing I made out of buffalo sauce. And then, of course, there’s my newborn photo shoot! In it, I’m just the classic Anne Geddes baby slathered in buffalo sauce at the bottom of container filled with gnawed on bones. So sweet. That was right before my family sold me to a chicken wing factory in exchange for a $50 gift certificate to Buffalo Wild Wings. Fun memories.
So, I guess I’ve always loved wings. Who doesn’t though? Whether you’re watching the big game on TV with friends or digging a mass grave for those same friends in your backyard (because all of your friends are chickens), they’re the perfect snack, meal, or whatever! Chicken wings are the crowd pleaser that never stops pleasing. They’ve always been a part of my life, and, I assume, yours, too, since I’m whispering this article through a slat in my chicken wing factory holding cell. I DON’T EVEN KNOW IF YOU EXIST OR IF YOU’RE JUST A VOICE IN MY HEAD AT THIS POINT.
But I do know that chicken wings are the most versatile food in the world! Imagine trying to make you favorite dish without them! Can you imagine Spaghetti Bolognese without chicken wings on top? Just try to picture a burrito where you don’t cut both the roof of your mouth and your esophagus due to the bones in the chicken wings stuffed inside? What if you ate a burrito and didn’t have to have emergency surgery after?? I know. Crazy.
But we have to remember, there are people in this world who don’t have the kind of access that we have to chicken wings. Refugees, the starving, some squirrels, and it really makes you appreciate what you have.
I have to admit, I used to complain about these food rankings. “This is too many fries!” I whined. “All these chicken sandwiches are too filling,” I complained. “I’m having a heart attack, call 911” I used to say before my editors would pull out the defibrillator, fail to revive me, and simply have another one of me cloned so I could get back to work. Do the new “me’s” have souls? Haha. Interesting question, and one we may never be able to answer. I don’t dream or wonder anymore, so LOL. I feel no pain and I only eat or breathe so as to seem normal in front of humans of whom I’m assured are exactly the same. I guess some things should stay a mystery, like why just a bluish goo comes out when I bleed. Or why I keep killing so many owls for “more chicken wings.” Just a bug in the system, they say.
But all that’s to say that I know I complained too much in the past. That I truly didn’t appreciate the opportunity I was getting, like getting to eat chicken wings in some form every day for two weeks. And now I realize: THAT’S SO LUCKY. Some people have to show up at a grumpy office every day. I get to show up at a fast food restaurant, or a bar, order some food, collapse, and then wake up in a basement lab somewhere, good as new. And that’s truly a blessing. So today, I will be ranking kinds of Chicken Wings. And I celebrate this assignment. For Chicken wings are delicious. So delicious. And I’m not just saying this because at any moment one of my keepers could shut me down and just start over with a more compliant clone. I truly love the wings of chickens.
Our rating system today will be: Guy who is definitely not sad at all sitting in a bar by himself, watching the game, and ordering wings for one.