Sorry, chicken sandwiches really aren’t to die for

I try to keep up with things, but the Popeyes chicken sandwich phenomenon caught me by surprise.

Walking through the shopping center on Avenue J near 10th Street West the other night, I noticed a line of about 30 cars lined up at Popeyes.

Odd — hadn’t seen that before — but I didn’t give it any more thought. Then, I heard on the radio about a lady in Los Angeles who wrecked her Mercedes trying to race to the front of the drive-through line.

What was going on? Then, during our discussion of stories in the news, one of my AP students mentioned the incident in Maryland.

You know the one — where the fellow got stabbed for cutting the line for Popeyes chicken sandwiches.

“What’s the deal with these Popeyes chicken sandwiches?” I asked.

The students explained that the fast food chain just brought back its sandwich, which was extraordinarily popular in its last iteration.

“It’s crazy to think (the assailant) would stab someone over a chicken sandwich,” one boy said. “I’m sure he lost his place in line, anyway, as soon as the cops came.”

Good point.

Not the most patient person, I can’t think of any fast food for which I would wait in a line longer than three or four people.

It’s the same with sit-down restaurants. If there’s a wait to get in, I’d prefer to go elsewhere. As Yogi Berra famously said, “Nobody goes there anymore — it’s too crowded.”

Needless to say (say it anyway), there is no food over which I would stab someone for cutting the line. As my student so logically pointed out, I would lose my place in line (for years).

Even The New York Times has noticed the Popeyes phenomenon. In a piece in Wednesday’s Food Section, John Eligon wrote that the sandwich has exploded in popularity through social media.

“There’s also a sentiment that Popeyes has struck a special chord for African-Americans and anybody who grew up eating black soul food — specifically, that its celebrated sandwich tastes like something that could have come from a black home kitchen.”

The article did make it sound tasty, but I think I’ll just observe this latest trend and let it pass me by.

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It is always a shame when bureaucracies get on their high horse and insist on upholding their petty rules instead of applying common sense.

In Illinois, the state body that governs high school athletics is banning the Chicago Public Schools cross country runners from competing in the state meet because they missed regional qualifiers.

Sounds fair enough, so far, right? Well, why did they miss the regionals? Because their schools were closed due to a teacher walkout. How is that the runners’ fault?

The strike was settled in time for the runners to compete in sectionals, and one team and 13 individuals from CPS qualified for the state meet.

Now the authorities are saying no, if you don’t compete in the regionals, you can’t compete in the state meet. Those are the rules.

Three-time Olympic distance running legend Craig Virgin — who still holds the Illinois state meet record set in 1972 — made a plea on the runners’ behalf.

“(Don’t) be hamstrung by rules and laws and bylaws, but use some common sense, use some compassion and, most of all, think about what’s in the best interest of the innocent student-athletes involved here,” Virgin said.

The situation hits close to home for Virgin. In 1980, he was a favorite to medal at the Moscow Olympics but had to stay home when the U.S. boycotted the Games over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Let’s hope this time common sense prevails.

William P. Warford’s column appears every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.

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