Sunday, July 15, 2012

Guilty pleasures

Did you ever look both ways in an empty room before turning on Revenge?  Have you ever lowered your voice to say you actually like ABBA?  We all have guilty pleasures.  I am certain they are made all that much more fulfilling because of the guilt we feel.

With food, guilt is almost a requirement for liking it.  There are some brave (mostly naive) souls who feel no guilt for eating a vegan diet.  But for the omnivores among us, there is at least one meal deserving of the pigeon-holed classification of sinful pleasure.

For me, it goes no further than fried chicken.  All I need is a Popeye's within walking distance, and I'll find the line in a crave-ridden daze.  I want, no, I must have.  I am a man of simple needs.  Popeye's satisfies these needs, in its artery-clogging, cholesterol-injecting, grease-lathering goodness.

For me, the chicken has got to be dark.  I mean, if you're going to sin, you might as well say a dozen Hail Mary's, right?  Two pieces?  What, for an appetizer?  It has to be four.  Drown your sorrows in your cardio workout tomorrow.  Today's workout is waddling your way to the exit, in glorious shame.

Today, I was stuck in the New Orleans airport during a strong thunderstorm, and I was searching through mediocre after mediocre restaurant.  Then, suddenly, the lights of the heavens shined bright, the invisible choir crescendo'd to soaring heights.  Actually, it was a lightning strike and a couple of scared teenagers, which I suppose is more symbolic of the scenario.  Nevertheless, the Fates aligned in wonderful albeit completely random bliss.

Oh, the chicken.  The very dead, very good-smelling chicken.  They did not die in vain, my friends.  I enjoyed every sweet morsel, knowing full well that their deaths were on my shoulders.  "Nature is a cruel mistress," Anthony Bourdain frequently laments sarcastically.  So it is, but sin can be so tasty.

I look at the other patrons, uniformly staring down at the floor in gleeful shame.  Eye contact is avoided at all costs.  If I don't see anyone else, I'm not guilty of anything.  Silent judgment is hypocritical.  We all share this embarrassment of protein and fats.  Oh, the sweet symphony of grease, skin, frictionless meat, and crunchy cartilage.  My napkin is no longer a substance.  I can hear only the sounds of my happiness.

I ate all of that chicken, my friends.  It probably cost me a year of living, but what a great year that few minutes was.