And everything has changed.
I was on a conference call today with two guys who live in a liberal northeastern state and I was asked to describe Kentucky’s politics. I blurted out, “We are a Chik-Fil-A state” and no further explanation was needed.
But tonight things took a personal turn.
I was hungry and tired and driving in my hometown Louisville, KY. I wanted to go to Chik-Fil-A. But I didn’t. At some deep level I felt like “my kind” wasn’t welcome there. You know the kind I’m talking about: democratic heterosexuals who don’t spend a lot of time thinking about gay sex.
So I did what any good populist loving, bring-me-your-poor-and-huddled-masses democrat would do. I went to Taco Bell instead. Which allowed me the extra political satisfaction of slyly making a subtle political statement opposing immigration too. I was self-satisfied from a political standpoint but as I ate my very masculine Crunchwrap Supreme from the Taco Bell parking lot I kept looking at the Chick-Fil-A sign from across the street. And getting angrier—and hungrier.
I imagined the chicken salad sandwich on toasted bread with cole slaw on the side and for a split second caught myself re-considering my views on civil unions. I was ashamed. And wanted to send Chick-Fil-A a message for putting me in this awful predicament.
I threw down my Crunchwrap Supreme and drove across the street and into the belly of the beast. As I pulled in I felt like I had just pulled into the Creationism Museum circa 1950 and hoped no one was on to me—a political subversive on the premises trying to score a chicken salad sandwich without being outed. So far, so good.
My plan was to order at the drive thru and then pause and ask if they were running any “Heterosexual discounts” today and then casually mention I just celebrated 21 years of marriage to my heterosexual wife to make them think I was one of them.
But as I pulled up to the drive thru a kind female voice asked how she could she “serve” me—and was sincere and patient and kind. I was embarrassed. I couldn’t go through with my silly little prank. But I couldn’t just eat at Chik-Fil-A and not do something to show I wasn’t selling out my political convictions for a measly chicken sandwich. So I ordered “Waffle Potato Fries”—the gayest thing on the menu. No “Freedom fries” here. More like “Fairy fries” if you ask me. And as I enjoyed the delicious fries in the Chick-Fil-A parking lot I thought to myself, “These are Deee-VINE!!” An inside dig with myself as I sneered at the nice and helpful waitress inside.
And then I drove away—disappointed at my juvenile behavior but encouraged that Chick-Fil-A types and my type aren’t that far apart after all. We really never are, you know.
I mean….those fries may not be the gay marrying kind…but by the time Chick-Fil-A is finished with them, there’s nothing remotely heterosexual about them.
And then I got it. I think it Chick-Fil-A’s way of winking to the rest of us and saying,
“We may be traditionalist for the most part. But we still know how to get our gay on too!”
And that made me feel better about returning soon to Chick-Fil-A.
And made me smile to myself and think, “Maybe we really can all get along”