Eat­ing on a wing and a prayer

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LIFE - Jim Mullen The Vil­lage Id­iot Con­tact Jim Mullen at mullen.jim@gmail.com.

We tried a new restau­rant, and it was ex­tra­or­di­nary. I gave it four stars. One en­tire wall was a gi­ant tele­vi­sion screen — the foot­ball play­ers on it were larger than life. It was as if you were on the field with them. Ev­ery sec­ond, I kept ex­pect­ing one of them to lean over the ta­ble and say “Hey, if you’re not gonna eat that, can I have it?”

Of course, I’m kid­ding. The sound was off. If all the 30 or 40 other 50-inch TVs hang­ing on the other walls had the sound on, how would peo­ple hear their cell­phones ring? How would they know if they just got an Instagram com­ment? Oh, there was plenty of noise — just not from the tele­vi­sions.

When we asked our server what the spe­cials were, I was very im­pressed that he didn’t have to read them from a list. He knew them by heart.

“Tonight,” he said, “on the big screen is the Pack­ers game. On the op­po­site wall are the Olympic highlights — mostly the women’s beach vol­ley­ball. Peo­ple can’t get enough of that. And by peo­ple, I mean men-peo­ple. For those of you who don’t like sports, there’s golf on the lower left. For the kids, ex­treme cage fight­ing is show­ing over above the re­stroom door.” “Are there any food spe­cials?” Sue asked.

“Yeah, Tues­day is Wing Night.” “This is Wed­nes­day.” “That’s Wing Night, too.” “Thurs­day?” “Wing Night.” “Should I even ask?” “No.” “I’ll have the wings.” “Me, too,” I said. “Ex­cel­lent choice,” he said. “Some­thing to drink?”

“What goes with wings?” Sue said.

“May I sug­gest an over­priced craft beer?”

“You may. But I’ll have a root beer.” Turn­ing to me, Sue said, “Why are we here? We can watch tele­vi­sion at home.”

“You mean you for­got it’s our an­niver­sary?”

“Our an­niver­sary’s next month. And if you bring me here for our an­niver­sary, it will be our last one.”

“Why? Don’t you love this? As long as you or­der wings, you can sit here and watch all the TV you want for free. The best part is that you don’t have to talk to any­one while you eat — there are no awk­ward pauses, no strug­gling to keep up my end of the con­ver­sa­tion.”

“Shhh!” she said. “I’m watch­ing kick­box­ing. Boy, would that come in handy at home. I’ve got to learn some of those moves.”

The foot­ball game was OK, but I couldn’t keep my mind from wan­der­ing. What do they do with the rest of the chicken if all they sell is wings? There must be a lot of the chicken left over. When you think about it, isn’t the wing pretty much the worst part on a chicken? They prob­a­bly started out as the cheap­est thing on the menu, but now that they’re so pop­u­lar, there’s bound to be a wing short­age, so the price went through the roof. No doubt sci­en­tists are try­ing to de­velop a chicken with six or eight wings right now.

“What?” Sue had said some­thing I missed.

“I said, why is it al­ways sports on the TVs in these places? This is a restau­rant. You’d think they’d be show­ing cook­ing shows. Like Rachael Ray, or that guy who eats dis­gust­ing things, or that other guy who tells you way more than you ever wanted to know about how to make rice sci­en­tif­i­cally. Why don’t they show ‘Down­ton Abbey’? Well, maybe not. I don’t think any­one would eat wings while watch­ing that. You’d want some­thing like Dover sole. Or at least fish and chips.

“Why can’t we watch that show where peo­ple buy houses in for­eign coun­tries? Re­mem­ber the episode where she was a nurse and he was a bird­seed sales­man, and their bud­get for their sec­ond home was $600,000? There should be a TV show called ‘Where Did These Peo­ple Get All That Money?’ Who wouldn’t watch that? I bet a lot of peo­ple would go to a restau­rant to see that on the gi­ant TV.”

“I’d go there, for sure,” I said. “Why?” “I wouldn’t have to wait to get a ta­ble.”

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