You are a hater, so I hate you. Seriously, I’m finished with you. I’m disappointed in the negative statement you made yesterday about Chick-fil-A!
You wrote [quote]: “…we played [music] at the grand opening of a Chick-fil-A. I’m not proud of that.”
I was mortified when I read that you actually hate Chick-fil-A… And all I can say to you is… [bleep, bleep, bleepity bleep].
It’s been real,
Hi. How’s your day been going? I hope you are well.
Listen, I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but I’m reading your letter while eating a Chicken Biscuit, sitting inside a Chick-fil-A. That’s right, I’m in a booth at THIS VERY MOMENT, writing you.
In fact, I just read your words aloud to the woman sitting next to me. Louisa, is her name. She has an eight-year-old daughter with her.
After I read your words, Louisa’s daughter remarked: “Wow, that person needs a nap.”
Her words, not mine.
Anyway, maybe you don’t know this, but my mama worked at Chick-fil-A when I was young. To make ends meet, Mama made waffle fries, scrubbed kitchens, mopped the floors, and wore a uniform. My sister worked here, too.
This place was good to my family. And by “good,” I mean: they helped us survive. Hate them?
Why, if you ask me you couldn’t find better fried chicken if you looked in Aunt Bee’s skillet.
Admittedly, I don’t know anything about the organization. But I DO know that during my youth, I’d visit Chick-fil-A to see Mama’s smiling face. And those memories are plated in gold.
Oh, but you didn’t want to know that. You wanted to be angry. So okay. Let’s talk about the sentences you didn’t like:
“…we played [music] at the grand opening of a Chick-fil-A. I’m not proud of that.”
Journey through time with me, friend. Let’s travel backward several years.
[Cue dream-sequence music]
There I am. Can you see me in the distance? I’m a gangly, college-aged kid. I’m so skinny I only need one back pocket. I’m playing electric keyboard outside a Chick-fil-A, sweating to death.
Men in suits just cut a ribbon with giant golden scissors. There are free samples everywhere. Lots of good old-fashioned, Budweiser-less, Southern Baptist fun happening.
I’m playing “Up the Lazy River” in the key of “F.”
And I’m miserable. No. I’m humiliated. Because I feel like a loser.
You’ll note: the Dream Gig for any aspiring musician is Carnegie Hall, the Jefferson Complex, or Dollywood. Not a joint with a drive-thru window and a ketchup station.
Long ago, I wanted to be a serious pianist—it sounds stupid now, but it wasn’t then. I’ve played piano since age nine. Music has been a big piece of my life.
A few days before playing Chick-fil-A, I’d left a construction jobsite for an audition at a big university.
I’ll never forget it. I wore a necktie. I sat behind a grand piano. There were thirty professors sitting in one room, holding clipboards. I played “Stars Fell on Alabama.”
They practically laughed at me. One professor even said, “Come back when you learn to read music.”
I cried in my truck for an hour.
I auditioned at ANOTHER university that same week. I bombed again. And again.
My youthful dreams sort of fell apart. And finally, I decided I’d be better off joining a monastery where monks shaved their heads and called each other by the name “Chip.” Yes. I would become a Chip Monk. (Ba dum ching!)
So getting back to that grand opening.
There I am. A complete failure. A kid who wanted to be somebody, but finds himself playing “Up the Lazy River.” In the musical world, we call this: “hitting rock bottom.”
So, no. I’m not proud of playing a fast-food gig for twenty-five bucks. I wasn’t proud then, I’m not proud now. I won’t lie.
But that’s life, I guess. I’ve had lots of crummy jobs. I dug drainage ditches, hung drywall, installed cabinets, drove commercial lawn mowers, installed wood floors, framed houses, and played fast-food joints for quick cash.
I never made Carnegie Hall, and to be honest I barely made community college.
But, a “hater?” No, sir. I don’t hate anything, nor any establishment, nor any person. And I don’t hate angry readers who tell me to go straight to…
Well you know.
So thanks for the letter. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a Chicken Biscuit to eat. By the way, Louisa and her daughter say, “Hi.”
Don’t forget to take that nap.