We need to talk. It’s something I’ve been meaning to bring up, but I haven’t found the right way to approach it. It’s the long chicken sandwich at Burger King. Something isn’t right about it. It’s deeply unsettling. It’s like it had aspirations to be a sub, but ended up as the rubbery chicken sandwich served in the school cafeteria.
In Singapore, it’s actually called and trademarked the “Long Chicken,” advertised as a “loooong time favorite since 1979.” Every extra o they put in that word is ominous. Everywhere else, it’s called the Original Chicken, and it’s the go-to chicken sandwich of when you’re ready to give up on life.
You’ve opted out of the higher quality crispy chicken sandwich. You’ve opted out of joy, purpose, and fulfillment in your life. You will instead have the anemic sandwich made with pre-masticated, blended chicken parts, slathered in mayonaise and wilted lettuce in shades of yellow and brown.
Having the Long Chicken is the opposite of being moved in church. It embodies the feelings of existential dread and knowing this is all there is in life. It makes chicken at Wendy’s look reverential and Chic-Fil-A look godly. When you think of the Chic-Fil-A sandwich, you think of preachiness and pickles. When you think of the Long Chicken, you think of preachiness, too. Except the preacher is a crackhead on the corner shouting about the end of world.
It’s a hideous beast of a sandwich. It’s like trying to look at a hairless cat, or person with crazy eyes. Those eyeballs look like they can’t be contained in their eyelids. Same thing with the long chicken, as it peeks over the lip of bread, looking like a creature who has never seen sunlight, poking out its hairless body out for the first time.
It’s like Baby’s First Chicken Sandwich. For when you grow out of Happy Meals and BK Kids’ Club and want to show off your new adult tastes. You’re too intimidated by the Whopper and not hairy enough machismo for the Big Mac. You’re not elderly-lady enough for the fish sandwich. So you order that weird long chicken sandwich, taking extra gulps of your orange soda to help you break down the claygob of bread getting stuck in your throat.
Burger King isn’t even something you decide to eat. Rather, it’s something that happens to you. It’s the rest stop you pull off at because you’re afraid the kids in the backseat won’t be able to hold it until the next mile marker. It has always been this way, even going back to your earliest memories in childhood. When your Mom rolled through the BK drive-thru, you were mystified. Why weren’t you going to McDonald’s instead?
But these were the questions you knew not to ask. How did Santa travel the entire world in one night? What happened to Bambi’s mom? Why was dad gone so long if he was only going to get cigarettes?
I’m not afraid to ask the questions anymore. Why is the sandwich so uncomfortably long? Why are the chicken sandwiches organized into a caste-like system of purity and crispiness? Do you think the Burger King is married to the Dairy Queen? And guys, do you know when dad is coming back?