Chickens rock, especially fried

The other day around lunch time, I was in downtown North Bend and thought I’d stop in the local senior center for one of Jimmy’s fine meals.

“Good,” I thought, “Fried chicken” — one of my favorites and one of Jimmy’s specialties. I waited around until all was cleaned up and sat chatting with Jimmy a while. It gave me a chance to expound on one of my theories of life.

“A chicken in every pot” was a quote originally made by a French king, Henry IV. Over here, it was used by Herbert Hoover as a campaign slogan. He added “a chicken in every pot, and a car in every garage.” Pretty smart guy if you ask me. Nobody asked, but I’ll tell you anyway.

The way I see it, life is like a fried chicken. Let’s start out with a few symbols.

First, Colonel Sanders. Here is this rather fat-cat looking guy with a little pointed white beard, wearing glasses, with a big smile on his face — just the kind of guy you would find in a kitchen in the Deep South cooking up a batch of fried chicken. Oh, don’t forget the eleven herbs and spices, got to have those herbs and spices.

Now about that chicken. A little visualization might help, so feel free to draw a diagram. As you go through life, there are times when you get a drumstick. A drumstick is a pretty average piece of chicken. By average, I mean, things are OK with you, you’re going along fine, life is good and the chicken is getting you by.

All of a sudden you get a bonus at work, or are invited to go golfing with your boss. Guess what? You just got a chicken breast! Juicy, tender, with nice, crisp skin on it. Life is good and the chicken is, too.

Oops, hard times are coming. You just got a chicken wing. You try to embellish that wing, maybe fix it up with 12 or 13 spices, put a little sauce on it. It’s good, but you know there’s better.

Here comes a thigh. What does that mean? It means things have changed again. Looking up, I’d say. That thigh is pretty good, not the top of the heap, but still pretty good. You’re getting it together again.

Then, just when you see the light at the end of the tunnel, look out, here comes the neck. You think, “I don’t need this!” But there’s nothing you can do about that, all the spices and sauces and anything else you put on it just doesn’t help. It’s just a boney neck and you are stuck with it.

But cheer up, the road to recovery is long and hard, and you have to start somewhere. You can’t go for that drumstick right away.

“But, Bob,” you say, “Where do I start?” Well, my friend, about the only place you can start would be at the bottom. That triangular part of the chicken known as the tail.

There’s a little meat on it, you can start with maybe two herbs and a spice or two, and guess what? Your journey in life has taken a decided upswing. You know you won’t be chewing on tail the rest of your life. And as long as you stay out of politics, you will never have to eat crow. But that is a whole different story.

This is what Herbert Hoover didn’t tell you. But you know, he knew about those fried chickens all along. And if you did a little research, like I did, you might find out that the cook in the White House kitchen had a little white beard, goatee, glasses and a big smile on his face. I wasn’t there, but I would wager that in the Hoover White House, they served a lot of chicken breast, probably with eleven herbs and spices.

Now for the really bad news. Recently, some genius, some Hollywood fool who obviously knows nothing about the theory that fried chickens are a metaphor for life, comes around and says, “No, that’s not right.” Everything has changed, and now we have “grilled chicken” instead of fried chicken.

Stay tuned. We’ll investigate the second part of Hoover’s promise, “A car in every garage,” at a later date.

• Bob Edwards is a member of the SnoValleyWrites writers’ group. He lives in North Bend.

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