Eating on a wing and a prayer
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.”