Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Fried chicken and cigarettes

I was in Owen Sound today, and today being Tuesday, I couldn't resist popping into the KFC for a "Tuesday Special."

I really should know better. That particular KFC is famous for its high employee turnover. That can only mean one thing; they're not particularly good to their staff. They're not particularly good to their chickens either, and I feel bad about that, but by God, I'm willing to overlook my principles once in a while for a taste of the Colonel's fried chicken.

And even though I've been enjoying it for 60 years, the Farm Manager has put fried chicken on the blacklist, not on account of how they treat their workers or their chickens, but because greasy fried chicken is allegedly not healthy.

But she's back at the farm and I know Boomer and Lucy aren't gonna spill the beans! This is one of our little indulgences, like those smoked sausages from Sullivan's Butcher Shop when we're in Wiarton (motto; "our meat can't be beat!")

I get to quench my fried chicken craving, the hounds enjoy the scraps, and the FM never needs to know!

So while I'm standing there waiting for my Tuesday Special, I mention to the teens behind the counter that the Public Health Unit is on the hunt for a few keen teen employees. This I suppose is the good deed that assuages my conscience about stopping here in the first place. If they work at KFC they're probably job hunting on the side, and I'm sure the Public Health Unit has gotta be a pretty good gig.

As near as I can tell, they're sort of a "health propaganda" unit. Led by the intrepid $350,000 a year Dr. Hazel Lynn, they berate the locals regularly over the fact that we're fatter than average, smoke more, and drink too much. Beyond that they're pretty much limited to handing out free condoms at the high schools and trying to drive Michael Schmidt, the satan-worshipping communist unpasteurized milk purveyor, out of business.

Why would the Public Health Unit be recruiting teens! Here's why; they're looking for Tobacco Test Shoppers! Yup, those kids will make out like bandits instead of having to bust their butts at KFC, and all they gotta do is keep going around to the corner stores, pestering the Koreans to sell them cigarettes!

As I'm driving out the parking lot I notice in my rear-view mirror both those kids running out the door in the direction of the new Temple of Public Health a couple of blocks away. Geez, I don't think they even locked that door behind them...

Frankly, I think the KFC gets a bit of a bad rap. Sure, you only make minimum wage, and sure, their supply chain is a little rough on the chickens, but I have it on good authority from multiple former employees that you get to take the leftover fried chicken home at the end of the day!

For free!

Anyway, the Farm Manager is never gonna allow me to apply for that gig, so no point fantasizing about it.

So I'm driving down the road while eating my health-destroying fried chicken, wondering what the local health tyrant would think of that. After all, eating while driving isn't the innocent pastime it used to be. I know Dr. Hazel Lynn would not approve. Not only am I risking obesity and all its attendant evils, I'm endangering every other vehicle on the road!

If folks are being fined for eating burgers while driving, eating fried chicken is that much worse, at least if you're determined to keep chicken grease off your clothes. Try it! You'll agree this offence merits a few demerit points at the least.

Maybe even a license suspension.

As for those kids and their employment opportunity, I wish them well. I know the Public Health Unit is one gold-plated gig. Hell, they got fifteen people on the official "sunshine list!" Even the Director of Tobacco Enforcement and Variety Store Entrapment pulls down well over $100,000 a year!

But I should ease up on those folks. I'm sure they mean just as well as they earn. After all, Canada didn't become a world leader in warnings on cigarette packaging without the efforts of many well paid people who really care. In fact, there is statistical proof that their perpetual anti-smoking campaign is paying big dividends; Canadian cigarette consumption is now ranked at 63rd in the world!

Thank you Hazel Lynn!

There's just one thing I'd like her to explain. According to the latest OECD life expectancy stats (2013), Japan, Spain, and Switzerland rank first, second, and third in life expectancy, while Canada languishes in 13th place.

In each of those three countries, per capita cigarette consumption is well over double that in Canada.

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