Lee Wochner: Writer. Director. Writing instructor. Thinker about things.



Our conditioning to note only the bad things in life makes it hard for us to see the good things.

We get so consumed by everything that’s terrible (and there’s plenty, and always has been) that we have a hard time taking notice when something truly wonderful arrives in our lives.

I speak of course of the Popeye’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich.

How did I not know, before Friday night, just how glorious the Popeye’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich is?

What friends should have told me, but never did?

The Popeye’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich features a hearty serving of moist chicken breast marinated in Louisiana seasonings, then battered and fried in a buttermilk coating. That may sound like enough, but there’s more. The filet is served with barrel-cured pickles and a spicy mayonnaise on a buttery toasted bun. Moreover, it comes in a heat-sealed foil bag that keeps it piping hot until you get it home. Not that you’ll wait until you get there — no, you’ll find yourself gobbling it down in the car, as I did, unable to wait once you’ve had the merest whiff of the aroma that fills your auto. Even after sales tax, all of this comes to you for under five dollars.

How did I come to sample this?

For some reason, leaving the gym at 9:35 Friday night, I developed a hankering for a spicy chicken sandwich. Well, that reason probably had to do with a severe shortage of calories in my system, especially after my workout. But why a spicy chicken sandwich in particular? No idea. But as I got into my car, that’s what I wanted for dinner, as I mentally ran down a list of places to purchase one.

Burger King immediately came to mind, but I’d had one of theirs last year and it was pretty dry.

McDonald’s? Generally too processed.

Chick-fil-A? That was nearby, and so I actually drove over there before realizing that I didn’t want to navigate the crowd outside waiting to get in, and didn’t want to order from my car and wait in the parking lot. (And, yes, I’m aware of the political case made against them, which seems more complicated than generally reported. )

Then I realized: Hey, Popeye’s Chicken is near here, and I love their spicy fried chicken, which I have on occasion. They must have a spicy chicken sandwich.

Boy, do they!

Further context: As I said, this was a quick decision after leaving the gym. I’ve been going to the gym four times a week, plus walking (or running) my dogs every evening, plus tracking my calories. I’m trying to lose my COVID 5. As in, 5 pounds. I hadn’t gained any weight during the pandemic — in fact I had lost eight pounds… but I had lost those eight pounds in February and March when I was sick with a stomach ailment that left me unable to eat almost anything. The weight sure came off easily then. Unfortunately, once that got resolved, those pounds came back and brought five more with them, and I’m one of those people who believe that once you decide to just overlook the added five, they turn into ten, then twenty.

At the gym, I put in about an hour-ten, consisting of a warmup, then a solid 40 minutes on the treadmill, then weights. Treadmill time affords my only opportunity to watch TV (I don’t have TV at home). Nefariously, the gym generally runs The Food Network, which specializes in showing overweight bald guys eating food they shouldn’t while I’m trying not to fantasize about eating it myself. At my previous gym, the program that was on every single time I was there was My 600-Lb. Life, which as you can imagine was indelibly motivational. I haven’t seen it in years now, but scenes from it remain etched in my subconscious. These days, my gym is showing the Olympics. When you’re in your 50s, as I am, and you’re watching teenagers with perfect bodies compete on a screen right in front of you, it is you who suddenly feels like the star of My 600-Lb. Life.

So, yes, I’m going to the gym.

I will lose these 5 pounds.

By the way, a pound consists of 3500 calories — so if I short myself by an average of 500 calories a day, I’ll lose those 5 pounds in five short weeks.

Here’s where I should point out that my workout burns 475 calories.

And that the Popeye’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich contains 690 calories.

Maybe it’ll take six weeks.

One Response to “Calculations”

  1. Dan Says:

    I’ve been a fan of Popeye’s since the old THIMBLE THEATER days, and when the chain oppened some stores here I had to try them. Glorious junk food and interesting sides!

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