We all have chicken needs. I get that. But this is a two lane street with double yellow "do not pass" lines painted down the center. And fucking sharrows. It's bad enough in the morning when all the delivery trucks turn that stretch into a blind fucking death alley. But holy Christ. Nowadays it's like there's never a time of day or night when some fool isn't taking up half the goddamn road just sitting there.
Please don't misunderstand me, I love to crunch into those hot, dark mahogany bird parts as much as the next guy. I live to feel the spices searing my lips and tongue. And I completely understand how the juicy allure of those perfect breasts might cause some uncouth fuckers to behave erratically. But I've got to say, if you're the sort of doofus who thinks it's okay to park your mud-spattered Yukon in the middle of a busy street so cousin Joe can pop in to see if his to-go wings are ready, you might seriously consider the possibility that you and your cousin are fucking assholes and even your friends think you're fucking assholes, and everybody but you knows because they they swap hilarious stories about you when you're not around.
Now I understand that some people have real accessibility issues, so I've assembled an exhaustive list of all the reasons why it might be okay to park your fucking SUV on the street in front of Gus's.
1. You are assisting a very special chicken lover with mobility issues and you need to get your friend or family member as close to the door as possible.
2. That's fucking it, there are no other reasons.
3. Seriously, there are no other reasons, stop trying to justify what you're doing because it only makes you look like a bigger asshole than you already are.
Obviously, a lot of these middle-of-the-street parkers are scared shitless. They are worried. They think you can't walk more than 15-feet down a mean Memphis sidewalk without being robbed by mutant bangers or kidnapped and sold to Alabama sex farmers or forced to make/avoid making uncomfortable eye contact with that earnest-sounding panhandler who may or may not be telling the truth about his kids who haven't had any tasty chicken in a long time. But for the love of sweet baby Jesus can everybody just stop for a minute and consider all the other poor fuckers out there on the road, most of them drunk, or sexting, or playing Bejewled Blitz on their phones, and not expecting you to just randomly park right in front of them? Can we think about that just a tic? For the children? For the fucking children?
And while we're talking about the fucking children, do you know who all else needs to get their asses right with Amy Vanderbilt? Pretty much every pedestrian — every man woman and child — crossing that same stretch of Front.
Chicken or no chicken, the "Look both ways before crossing the street" rule is in effect motherfuckers. There needs to be a law that says if you are hit by a moving vehicle in front of Gus's Fried Chicken you can just fucking deal with it yourself because it's probably your own goddamn fault you asshole. This is not a video game. It's not 1981 and you are not playing fucking Frogger in your fucking bedroom on your Atari. This is a real goddamn street with real goddamn cars driven by real red blooded Americans who are currently unable to stop in the middle of the street and eat a styrofoam plate full of delicious fried chicken because they have someplace else to fucking be.
In short, I don't know what kind of country we live in anymore. I don't know who we are or what we believe in. I just know I almost die and nearly kill every time I drive by Gus's Fried Chicken on Front. Usually while trying to get around some SUV that just fucking stopped like somebody shot it with a freeze ray.
It doesn't have to be this way Memphis. It never had to be.
Over the course of human evolution scientists have observed one consistent difference between good people and fuckwits. Good people— perhaps even more notably good musicians— don't naturally assume that every instrumentalist playing in a bar somewhere in the vast expanse between Disneyland and Yankee Stadium, has been sitting up nights, stroking an unrequited boner, just waiting for the special moment when yet another drunk they don't know walks up and says those seven magic words: "Hey... Lemme play harmonica with you guys!"
Friends, I don't want to be a buzzkill. I have no desire to crush anybody's dreams of stardom, or at least getting to second base with a stranger who smells faintly of urine. But unless your name is Little Walter, and you've come back from the grave to rock, I can almost guarantee that the band, and the fans who've come to see that band, really wish you just fucking wouldn't.
It has come to my attention that Memphis is in the throes of a Jambush epidemic. Fully grown adults who are old enough to vote and buy liquor are bringing their own musical instruments to concerts like they were going to some kind of open mic night. Simply put, this shit needs to stop. I mean, you don't go to fucking Rigoletto and beatbox all the way through "La Donne e Mobile," do you? Well?
Just the other night, at a popular Cooper-Young drinking establishment, some guy was so hellbent on playing with the band he literally put his balls on the line.
I kid you not.
"If I suck you can all punch me in the nuts," he said, indicating with his delicate harmonica-player's hands, the exact location of the alleged target. This ploy, while inventive, was unsuccessful due, primarily, to a lack of collateral. It's more effective to propose that any nut- punching happens in advance of the joint performance, as a kind of insurance policy covering time that can't be regained, and any harm that might befall an individual song or music's historical reputation for taming our savage instinct.
If you still want to blow that thing after 5-good sack-shots, buddy come on.
Look, we all have our fantasies. We've all been to a bar where a band is playing, and we're having a good time, and dropping some Jagerbombs, and maybe smelling a little toilet seat cocaine, and, naturally, we start to fantasize a little about what it might be like to be awesome. We think, "damn, those band guys sure look cool." And, "Hey, I know how to band! I mean, I've never been in a band, but it just so happens I'm wearing my John Popper-autographed harmonica vest, and it's totally loaded. And anyway, I'd probably be doing these jerks a favor if I sat in. We could maybe play something with a funky groove. Like "Brown Eyed Girl."
If that's you...
Well, what can I say? You're probably still a dipshit, but at least you're a perfectly normal dipshit. When you act on this douchebag fantasy, that's when you become everybody's problem.
So listen. If you want to act like your mama raised you right and you've got some fucking manners, here's how to let a band know you're interested in playing with them.
1. Wait until after the show is over.
2. Go tell the musicians how much you enjoyed the performance.
3. You might even throw down a nice tip.
4. In fact, do that last thing I mentioned. Yeah.
5. If everybody's getting on well enough, you might mention that you play a little harp and would love to get together and maybe jam sometime.
If you follow these five polite steps chances are someone in the band will say, "Sure thing, cool dude! And if you've got an accordion, bring that with you too!"
This guy is fucking with you. And you still totally deserve it.