Thursday, March 13, 2014

I'm not making a statement; I just want a sammich.

I loves me some Chick-Fil-A, and the one up on 82nd near Castleton Square is an exemplar of the breed. It's squeaky clean and staffed by insufferably polite and chirpy kids and the manager will come around asking if you want a drink refill and take your tray to the trash when you're done. I try and stop there every time I'm out at the hobby shop or the Mountain of Geese.

It's gotten harder to get in there for lunch ever since "wanna do lunch at Chick-Fil-A?" became a sort of shibboleth in the ongoing kulturkampf, because nowadays at noon the parking lot is brim lippin' full of minivans and SUVs, every man jack of them sporting an Indiana "In God We Trust" license plate and a fading Romney/Ryan sticker. I just want a taste of home, not a #3 meal with a side of dogwhistle.

Anyhow, the other day I was sitting there enjoying my Chick-Fil-A sammich, doused in Tabasco like God and Mr. Cathy intended, with a side of nuggets, and surfing the 'nets on my iPad. Lo and behold, a couple sits down at the table next to me, discussing household budgeting matters at a can't-help-but-overhear volume.

She was saying that she wanted to get an iPad because it would be good for reading books, and she was going to look into how much they cost. "Surely the money will be in the budget because we're giving up television..."

"We're giving up cable," he corrected.

"...and we'll just see if we can find one on sale!" she finished.

At which point something happened that I had not experienced in all my borned days. The couple held hands over the table to say grace over the meal, which is not an uncommon sight in a Chick-Fil-A, but she then proceeded to act like she'd never read Matthew 6:5. Either that, or she thought God was hard of hearing, because she began to address her deity as though she needed to make herself heard over the ambient crowd noise at a fast food joint.

It started off with the normal request for God to add whatever nutrients to the food that Chick-Fil-A forgot, and then went on with a litany of requests, suggestions, and complaints until the patrons of the restaurant all knew far more about her family's bunions, boils, battles, and budget woes than any of us wanted to, I'm sure.

I sure hope this isn't becoming a thing.
.

57 comments:

og said...

Mostly the babtists and the Pentecostals. The mackerel snappers and Methodists as often as not do so under their breath.

ASM826 said...

And did the whole room chime in with a hearty AMEN! when she finished?

SJ said...

It's possible that they are both rather hard-of-hearing, and set their default-voice a little too loud.

But you're right, they should read Matthew 6:5.

Donnie Gwinn said...

Did she do enough "justs?"

"Lord, I just, I just want to ask you, Lord, to just bless this meal of reconstituted white meat and deep-fried tuber roots, Lord, as we just thank you and praise you and just look for your hand in our lives, Lord, and we just know that are just going to be fine no matter how Joe's court date goes tomorrow . . . . "

Scott J said...

*facepalm*

Oh and thanks a lot for adding to the raging CFA craving I've had the past few days.

I've been trying to ignore it so I can spend eating out money on reloading components instead.

Mike_C said...

Hypocritical ostentatiously religious person or just a loud inconsiderate person? Either way, ugh. Personally I loves me some In-N-Out burger, even though I am not religious in the slightest. The food is pretty good, locations are spotless, service is always polite and non-obnoxiously chirpy, and they pay their employees decently. What's not to like? The people who get all upset by the references to bible verses (in tiny print yet) on the wrappers etc need to get a grip.

Chick-Fil-A confused me for years because I thought it was pronounced "chick fill AH." Fill-ah, what's that mean? Yeah, duh. So I avoid 'em out of my hidden (uh, no longer, I guess) shame. But that idiot Adam Smith's (not the invisible hand guy) selfie video harassing that poor drive-thru girl over the free water actually made me want to go buy some Chick-Fil-A.

David aka True Blue Sam said...

I figured out long ago that I'm not smart enough to know what I should be praying for. It's bad enough to speak your ignorance to your creator; I don't need to share it with everyone around me.

Paul said...

Pray in private. And never ever ask for anything other than daily bread. Amen.

Marko Kloos said...

Public piety is best piety. It's the point of it.

Joel said...

I sure hope this isn't becoming a thing.

Yes. Please, Dear Lord.

Sebastian said...

It's the same phenomena as the "Hey, look at us, we have AR-15s!" crowd at Starbucks, only in the Chick-Fil-A/religious context.

Here's hoping whatever happens in 2014 and 2016, it at least shifts the crazy around so we don't have to deal with it as much. Though, we both seem to have a good bit of SWPL, so when it's the left on the outs in the kulturkampf, there will probably still be no escaping it.

Anonymous said...

Being raised as a good Catholic school kid, I was taught God listens to all our prayers.

Many years later I wonder if he just keeps reading his newspaper and mutters, "Yes dear."

Gerry

Justin said...

First: I'm embarrassed to note that though I worked at a Chick-fil-A for two years, and have enjoyed eating there ever since, I never even REALIZED i could be putting Tabasco on those sandwiches! This is a revelation!
Second: The best way to show one's thankfulness to God for inventing chicken, peanut oil, and the human brain which could decide to combine the two, is not to say a few words aloud. Rather, it is to obey Matthew 25:34-35 by quietly getting a second sandwich to give to a hungry neighbor (perhaps a vegetarian in need of enlightenment).

Anonymous said...

I pray a lot but you wouldn't know it. In more ways than one.....

Jennifer said...

Ugh. I agree, I hope this does not become a thing.
Listen people, God can hear you when you whisper. He can ever hear you when you pray silently. If you want to pray for the benefit of those around you, pray for them not at them.

og said...

some uses tabasco, some uses franks red hot, some uses sriracha mmm hmmm. /carl

Robb Allen said...

That's it. I'm giving up on reading this blog while at work because things like "It started off with the normal request for God to add whatever nutrients to the food that Chick-Fil-A forgot" make me guffaw at levels that probably would have drowned out the offending prayer.

And even I, being one of those creepy religious people, bristle at hearing people pray LOUDLY anywhere 'sides one of God's many houses of worship. It's like the jerky Open Carry Movement of Prayer.

And tonight, I'm going to ask God for a little more salt on my meal and then inform him that all complaints / lightning bolts for such blasphemy should be directed to a Ms. Tam Snarkmistress, View From The Porch, IN.

Robb Allen said...

P.S. tabasco should be something you have to request NOT put on your sammich, IMHO.

It's *that* important.

global village idiot said...

If I was there and said "So Mote It Be" after they said "Amen," do you reckon their heads would have exploded?

Fraternally,
gvi

mikee said...

I usually only crave Chik-Fil-A on Sundays, but I was raised Latin Roman Catholic, so that is likely the least of my major malfunctions.

As to public braying of prayers o'er food, almost all my extended family does so, at volume, especially in restaurants. So it isn't just a Protestant Evangelical thing, many religiously irredentist folk seem to practice it.

The Raving Prophet said...

For the "lunch as political statement," I'm with you all the way. I don't want everything in my life to be a political statement. Sometimes I want a tasty sandwich, a decent pizza, or whatever else... I don't want it with a large side of political correctness or whatever else people think food should involve. It's almost like people not only want purity tests for politicians but also for everything else- if I can't get my chicken sandwich with/without gay marriage, then damn it, I won't get one! Make the Commissar buy his own lunch. I just want something tasty.

As for the family, it sounds more like they have no inside voices or enough self awareness to understand their impact on others. Sure, there's some folks who want to put it on display, but that's not the same thing as people who say grace where they might be seen (not that you make this point, but others seem like they're close to it).

And anybody buying an iPad for reading books is a bit of an idiot- you can get Kindle and Nook e-ink readers for a fraction of the price. Sounds more like she wants to play Angry Birds.

Anonymous said...

There's a whole tradition of prayer out there which understands prayer to be the reverse of what people usually think it is. It's not us trying to get the Deity to listen to us. It's us getting ourselves into a position where we can listen to the Deity, and figure out what It wants to tell us--to make our will as Its Will so Its Will will be our will, as an old saying has it. (Yes, It: because the Deity is before and beyond all the categories of human thought, including personhood, much less maleness and femaleness.)

And at the very least, one remembers that the Deity (if Deity is what Deity believers believe Deity to be) knows not only what we want, but also what we truly need, and the only really necessary prayer is to acknowledge our dependence on It for providing for our needs and thank It for taking care of them (which is ultimately what praying over that bunion is, but you don't need to act as if the Deity needs reminding, or the entire room needs to know you've reminded It of what It already knows.

Kishnevi

OldTexan said...

I am a decent go to church on Sunday Methodist and I am embarrassed and irritated when folks put on a Jesus show saying Grace. They kind of remind of people who come up and stick a Bible in my face and ask me if I've found Jesus and I tell them I never lost him and he's never been missing for the last 2K years and please go away.

I also don't understand why in the world someone would think it is a good and right thing to do by sharing lots of personal stuff with other people trying to enjoy their chicken.


Matt said...

I have never eaten at a Chick-Fil-A, regardless of how it is pronounced. In my area they exist in Malls and I seldom go to Malls and they are not open on Sunday, which is the day I would go to the mall if I went to the mall.

If I did like breaded chicken sandwiches, I would not go to Chick-Fil-A because it has become a "religiously correct" thing to do. I don't feel a need to show solidarity with people that wouldn't want me in their church, or make a pro or anti statement about anything.

As for the prayers? You are in a fast food joint, by God you should be praying to be saved from the ravages of fast food (and catholics and liberals and, and...)

Robert Fowler said...

Now I want one. That means driving all the way across town. I' glad Des Moines isn't all that big.

Gerry said...

Many years later I wonder if he just keeps reading his newspaper and mutters, "Yes dear."

Now I need to clean the screen and keyboard of my notebook. Thanks. ;)

RKN said...

One might argue second hand prayer is worse than second hand smoke. Just sayin'.

Matt W said...

As someone that struggles with balancing my Catholic faith with many aspects of my life, it makes me smile to see a family or couple bend over in QUIET prayer before eating a meal, even if it is in a public eatery. Those that feel their conversations with God should be broadcast to the entire restaurant make me cringe.

Then again, so do people who go to the range and loudly talk about all their tacticool weapons and accessories to make everyone knows they are an bad ass operator.

Or the people who stand near the organic section of the produce department and loudly talk about the evils of GMO as most shoppers are just trying to pick up a back of apples.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

GVI,

If I was there and said "So Mote It Be" after they said "Amen," do you reckon their heads would have exploded?

Only if they were the right kind of Baptist. Or folks who believe Jack Chick has him some TRVTH.

S&F
Fuzzy

LabRat said...

There needs to be an update to the Lord's-name-in-vain commandment involving name-dropping.

Anonymous said...

If Jesus had thought that incarnation thing through, surely He would have come after the invention of the French Fry and the Drive Thru.

Of course one way to avoid obnoxious diners is to use the drive through....

Don M said...

I like their chicken, don't particularly like the dog whistle, but really dislike the people who dog whistle against them.

NAVIGATOR said...

FOR A TRULY RELIGIOUS DINING EXPERIENCE I RECOMMEND KATZ'S
DELICATESSEN

TRY THE PASTRAMI ON RYE WITH MUSTARD A DILL PICKLE A SIDE OF FRIES AND A
DOCTOR BROWN'S CELERY TONIC

HALLELUIAH BROTHERS AND SISTERS !

Scott J said...

"It's bad enough to speak your ignorance to your creator"

Thing is, He knows it spoken or not.

Susan Levy said...

(from Benjamin Hammer)

For a truly religious dining experience, may I recommend Katz's Delicatessen (https://katzsdelicatessen.com/). I recommend the pastrami on rye with mustard, a dill pickle, a side of fries, and a Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray Tonic. Hallelujah, brothers and sisters!

Robin said...

I think it was her iPad acquisition strategy, Tam. She wanted you to throw it at her in an attempt to bean her in the head.

RevolverRob said...

I only crave Chick-Fil-A on Sundays. That's really all I can say about that...

I can tell you at lunch time the one near our place is brimming full of the same class of folks as your's. And it's just about as irritating.

-Rob

Sigivald said...

You should have butted in to suggest a Kindle.

I love me an iPad, but they're poorly optimized for a reading solution.

God loves a helperton!

rickn8or said...

Ya got off light; I usually get The Look and a Jack Chick tract.

Anonymous said...

Chick-Fil-A confused me for years because I thought it was pronounced "chick fill AH." Fill-ah, what's that mean? Yeah, duh

Yup, for years I thought the HY sign
X-ing was pronounced EX-ing
Wondered why they used that phrase.

Sherm said...

You might enjoy Mark Twain's "Letter to the Earth" and its observations on public versus private prayers.

http://preview.tinyurl.com/lpchc4y

This link opens an RTF document. I couldn't find it nicely posted on a web page.

George P. Burdell said...

Ahhh, memories of the Dwarf House in Hapeville (for those of y'all not from Georgia, that is the original Chick-fil-A just south of Atlanta, across Central Avenue from what used to be the Ford assembly plant)...

Tam, if you REALLY loves you some Chick-fil-A, ask the staff if they can make you a Hot Brown like they make at the Dwarf House. Double cool points if you can eat it using only french fries.

og said...

Ooooooh, I want to open the first Jack Chick Fil-A.

Sport Pilot said...

Loud public prayer by a couple or family in restaurants doesn’t exemplify ones piety or garner respect. Instead it harkens onto the ancestral vandals who’ve scratched, carved or spray painted their religions across priceless historical sites. After all who hasn’t witnessed such in famous caves, mountain passes, buildings, public transportation and buildings? And yes I am a practicing Christian who frequently, and quietly, prays in public.

NotClauswitz said...

Wait till you get a load of what pious Hindus pray about in an exclusive Brahmin-vegetarian restaurant. Probably about the same really, plus University tuition.

global village idiot said...

Og wins.

burkdoggy said...

So THAT explains religious persecution. Annoy those around until they draw swords.

Anonymous said...

My cynical side says that sounds a little too much like public panhandleing. Hope I'm wrong. regards, Alemaster

.....CLIFFORD said...

One of the "Wejus" denominations.

.....CLIFFORD said...

One of the "Wejus" denominations, no doubt.

Rob K said...

Testify, Sister Tamara! ;^)

mustanger said...

I like Chick-Fil-A too... ate lunch there today... ate breakfast there plenty of times... not saying there's no publicly praying loudmouth, but haven't noticed them there yet.

Preacher/witnesser: I'm here to help you find God and Jesus.
Me: They're not lost.

Ed said...

Give us this day our daily bread,
In the form of a whole wheat roll,
With some chicken fried in peanut oil inside,
A slice of pickle on top,
With mayo and honey mustard sauce,
A side of waffle fries,
And an ice cold lemonade.
Amen.

You pray for what you want, and I will pray for what I want.
Heaven is wherever you find it.

Reno Sepulveda said...

I have a theory that the whole stink about School Prayer stems from choice clergy parking at high school football games.

Mike_C said...

One might argue second hand prayer is worse than second hand smoke.
Well, a randomized controlled study of the effect of prayer was published out of Harvard Medical School in 2006.
TL;DR version: about 1800 people undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 arms: 1) you were told you may or may not be prayed for, then unbeknownst to you, you actually got prayed for; 2) told may or may not get prayed for, but unbeknownst to you, you did not get prayed for; 3) you were told you'd be prayed for, and got prayed for.

Main outcome measure: was there a complication within 30 days of CABG.

Results: complications occurred in 52% of group 1, 51% of group 2, and 59% of group 3. Using group 1 as the referent, relative risk of a complication was 1.02 (95% confidence intervals 0.92-1.15) in group 2, while RR was 1.14 (1.02-1.28) in group 3. No differences across groups in terms of major bad events or death over 30 days.

Conclusions: a) if you didn't know for sure whether or not someone was praying for you, whether someone actually prayed for you made no difference in terms of complications; b) if you knew someone was praying for you, and you really got prayed for, then you had a higher risk of having a complication following bypass surgery.

Beats the hell out of me what if anything this means, but to my surprise (meaning I did not know this until I looked it up this AM) one of the authors is married to a friend and former colleague of mine.

Before people get all fired up, two things:
1) this is NOT representative of what we do in academic medicine on a regular basis;
2) overall the study was paid for by a private foundation; at one of the 6 sites the local hospital (Baptist) kicked in additional funds themselves.
It does NOT appear that any public funds were used. Chill.

Kristophr said...

Zelazney's agnostic prayer:

Insofar as I may be heard by anything, which may or may not care what I say, I ask, if it matters, that you be forgiven for anything you may have done or failed to do which requires forgiveness. Conversely, if not forgiveness but something else may be required to insure any possible benefit for which you may be eligible after the destruction of your body, I ask that this, whatever it may be, be granted or withheld, as the case may be, in such a manner as to insure your receiving said benefit. I ask this in my capacity as your elected intermediary between yourself and that which may not be yourself, but which may have an interest in the matter of your receiving as much as it is possible for you to receive of this thing, and which may in some way be influenced by this ceremony. Amen.

Ferret said...

It might be amusing if one were to follow up with this:

"O Lord, ooh, You are so big, so absolutely huge. Gosh, we're all really impressed down here, I can tell you. Forgive us, O Lord, for this, our dreadful toadying and bare-faced flattery, but You are so strong, and, well, just so super fantastic. Amen."

Jeffro said...

Consider yourself fortunate they didn't break out the snakes.