Look on my wings, ye hungry, and despair.
-Percy “Bysshe” Shelley
The United States faces a severe chicken wing shortage, yet you’ll be forgiven for not knowing this. The media is distracted by less important shortages, like flu vaccines and full-time jobs. The talking heads of cable TV prattle on about the usual nonsense: the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, the on-going financial crisis, our broken healthcare system, and the increasing likelihood of mass extinctions from global warming.
I’m sorry, am I boring you?
Probably. What “the media” does not understand is: we have bigger pieces of meat to fry. Chicken breasts, namely, since the price of wings now rivals that of cocaine.
Early this month the US Department of Agriculture reported—in a tone I’d call alarmist were I not so freaked out myself—that poultry production is down 3.5%. The USDA drove this point (and the knife) home on Wednesday, November 18, in its normally-hilarious, “Weekly Estimated Slaughter of U.S. Broiler/Fryers and Fowl”:
"The estimated number of broiler-fryers available for slaughter the week ending 21-Nov-09 is 148.4 million head compared to 158.9 million head slaughtered the same week last year. "
Let me put the chilling language of bureaucracy in terms you may better understand: there are 10.5 million fewer chickens to eat right now than a year ago, and, therefore, 21 million fewer wings. Demand, meanwhile, remains steadfast and unwavering. As a result, chicken breasts are cheaper than wings for the first time in the recorded history of things like this.
Bars and restaurants all over our once-great nation have responded by booting wings from the menu. Such an act of cowardice is akin to spitting on a bald eagle or putting an American flag in the dishwasher.
Worse, many of these treasonous trattorias have debased the wing by introducing the “boneless wing.” I can barely type that phrase without vomiting. A boneless wing is an abomination, like a godless church, an Abe Lincolnless penny, or an episode of Family Matters without Urkel. You simply cannot have a chicken wing without the bone and—far, far more important—the skin.
So what are these pretenders to the throne? Not wings at all, just pieces of breast meat! Wings are a delicacy thanks to the optimum skin-to-meat-to-bone ratio (exactly 1.618033…). Breasts, on the other hand, are so tasteless that most cultures use them as packing material.
What is President Obama doing about this?
Not once has he addressed Congress on the matter. Not once has he made a surprise visit to Baghdad to discuss it with his generals. Not once has he asked the FDA to release its hot sauce stockpile.
That’s called socialism. I’m pretty sure, at least. As far as I can glean from current usage, socialism is whatever bothers me about Barack Obama.
Mr. Obama: stop dithering. Restore the ten-cent wing night. Make the boneless wing a felony. And bring back Family Matters. GOD that Urkel was funny.