More Than Just Meets the Eye

February 11, 2012
It’s not just chicken nuggets.

Chicken. All things chicken. But especially…chicken nuggets. They’re all white meat, or so they say. Crispy delicate batter hugs the chunk of chicken and protects it from the 400? oil as it fries the delicacy. It is carefully fabricated to withstand the heat of such fryer alongside many of its own kind. It takes a quick dip in the bath and is then lifted to drain in a basket. That’s when all the fun starts…it is packaged in a little white box with nine other nuggets and is given away to one lucky consumer. Most of the time it is served along with some deep fried potato sticks called French fries and an array of various dipping sauces. I just love chicken nuggets. They are the go-to food in the greatest international fast food restaurant, McDonald’s. Often times, chicken nuggets remind me of many memories, good and bad.

I remember a time when my best friend Kelsey and I were at her house on Halloween night just texting everyone in our contact lists. Many conversations were dropped soon after we texted them though because they were either busy or boring to talk to. We did, however, continue texting two guys, Ethan and Alberto. Somehow, our conversation shifted to the topic of chicken nuggets. Alberto announced that he couldn’t pronounce the blend sound –ch. For the remainder of the night, Kelsey and I would laugh endlessly about different words that we could think of with –ch in it. Shicken nuggets, beash, sandwish, the possibilities were never ending! By that time, we were all on the phone laughing and chuckl—SHUCKLING, all except for poor Alberto. Sure we felt bad for teasing him, but we’d never heard such a thing! I don’t think he will ever forget that night. I recall telling Kelsey how I would go to McDonald’s one day and order shicken nuggets just for the pure entertainment it would provide us! Needless to say, it was a memorable Halloween!

Speaking of memorable, there was also a time when McDonald’s had fifty chicken nuggets for twenty dollars! Holy palooza was that a deal! My friend, August, and I ordered all fifty of them with hopes to finish them all in one sitting. He even asked for about ten of every sauce and pre-opened them to prepare for the ultimate dunking! Who knew how many calories all of that could be, but it’s not like we cared! After proper preparation, a little pep talk, and tying on napkin bibs to set the mood, we quickly dove into the large pile of nuggets, dipping them with each of our hands and barely chewing. We also stopped in between about every five nuggets for a coke break and minor burping contest with some fries here and there. Finishing that pile of nuggets, fries, many many sauces, and some large cokes was probably my best accomplishment. No words were transferred between August and I after the fact, just wide-eyed stares at an empty greased tray of crumbs. With our hands rubbing our very satisfied stomachs, our pants unbuttoned, and feet propped up on the table, I’d say it was a lovely meal.

Not only do chicken nuggets remind me of good times but also a not so good time. I remember listening to my mom tell a numerous amount of stories from when I was younger, particularly while our family was in the midst of its disastrous split when I was just two years old. She told me about the day my parents finalized their divorce. She explained how my father robbed us of everything we had but our limited two-bedroom home, a car, and $200. My brother and I had wanted so badly to enjoy one McDonald’s meal of chicken nuggets and she couldn’t afford to give it to us on such an emotional day. That was the day my mom changed her life forever. She realized from that point on, she wouldn’t have any help or really, accept any. She was on her own now with two young children, a pocket with loose change, and a car. A simple McDonald’s meal would change all of our lives forever, who would’ve thought? It was a change of lifestyle for us. We had to work hard to earn whatever we wanted, even if it was just a Happy Meal. Who knew Happy Meals could be so sad…

It’s not just chicken nuggets. It’s a memory, a story, a shuckle. Maybe not to anyone else, but to me, chicken nuggets are always going to have significance and a story behind them. Bite-sized fried nuggets of batter-drenched chicken can have so much more to them. Often times, we look past the value of the things we have and desire to have. I’ve been given the opportunity to be able to work for what I want and I couldn’t appreciate it more. I have a better understanding and appreciation for my possessions. I can’t wait to open up the next box of Chicken McNuggets and see what new experiences and values I will obtain from it.

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