Commentary

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: America’s obsession with fast food and fast guns

If you need further proof we’re losing our collective minds these days, consider what happened at a Popeye’s restaurant in Houston, Texas, recently.

Apparently, there are two things Americans can’t stand being denied: guns and trendy fried chicken sandwiches. When worlds collided at Popeye’s, it was a weirdly perfect combo platter picture of what ails us as a nation.

Too many Americans are gun-obsessed gluttons filled with “McRage.” Pickle-juice marinate on that for a sec.

A customer was so upset when told there were no more chicken sandwiches, he pulled out his gun in protest. Because how else should an adult male deal with such a devastating revelation? I imagine his first thought was something along the lines of: “No fried chicken sandwich? How can this be? It’s been blowing up my Twitter feed for three weeks now and, without it, I’m not sure I can go on.”

Lettuce discuss.

How perfectly poetic this would happen in Texas, with its famously slack-butt gun laws and mere days after the Odessa mass shooting that killed seven and injured 22.

Side note: I went to Popeye’s around the same time during an out of town trip and ordered THE chicken sandwich the whole world is talking about. Brioche bun? Hot sauced mayo? Pickled, briny goodness? Yes, please.

The place was packed, and cars were ringing the building so I assumed all was well.

“I’ll have the chicken sandwich,” I said.

“Nope, all out,” was the response. “Only two places in the state still have ‘em, last I heard.”

This news didn’t make me homicidal because, despite the fervent declarations of some of y’all, I’m not crazy.

“I’ll have the tenders combo, then.”

“Three piece?”

“No,” (because I’m not in kindergarten, duh) “I’ll have the five-piece.”

She looked oddly respectful of this response. Life went on. The chicken tenders were fine. I recommend the Sweet Heat sauce since you ask.

This is how most of us deal with life’s little—and I mean infinitesimal—disappointments. Sigh, look mildly annoyed and move the hell on.

But for too many in our gun-obsessed culture, the first instinct is to get violent. Thankfully—but sadly, surprisingly—the man in Popeye’s who drew his gun because some Insta influencers told him he hadda have that stupid sandwich didn’t fire his weapon. He huffed and puffed and threw a can through the drive thru window for good measure before leaving and that was pretty much that. Except it never really is for the ones left behind, is it?

The terrified employees who ran to the back of the restaurant will have to process how they could’ve died at the fast food job they take a bus to work at every night.

A recent study found 721 incidents of violence against McDonald’s employees in the past three years. That’s just one restaurant chain.

Meanwhile, the Senate, which refuses to consider a $15 an hour minimum wage bill, might want to reconsider. Turns out, even flipping burgers can be a deadly occupation.

Celia Rivenbark is a New York Times-bestselling author and columnist. Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.

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