Some things shouldn’t have to be explained.
Not to adults or children of all shapes, sizes and ethnic backgrounds.
Not to people who were at the top of their AP classes in school or who struggled to get a diploma.
Not to people with a wall full of advanced degrees or to proud, blue-collar workers who get their hands dirty.
Not to people with a Ph.D. in common sense or to those with high IQ scores who might take 15 minutes to realize their shoelaces are untied or that they’re getting soaked by rain.
Not to people from all corners of the United States and in between.
So why did the Cherokee County Emergency Management Agency have to put out an alert telling people not to pick up the packs of frozen chicken tenders that lay scattered along Alabama Highway 35 after an 18-wheeler overturned and spilled its contents a week ago?
Because scavengers were out there scooping up free chicken, even by flashlight after dark (it took a day to get the mess cleaned up).
We published that alert (amid some guffaws and joking in the newsroom) and figured that would be the end of it. Of course we figured wrong. The story was picked up by outlets across the country — there’s no hiding anything in the social media era — and we followed up with a 393-word story from the Washington Post poking fun at the “roadside buffet” and “accidental drive-thru.”
The consensus of that coverage was “only in Alabama,” which of course probably didn’t sit well with a lot of folks in this state who resent outsiders looking down at them and trying to tell them what to do.
But come on, people. Don’t track down Mike Tyson, draw a bull’s eye on your cheek, say, “Hit me,” and then get offended when Iron Mike wallops you with a left hook.
As the Cherokee EMA said in its alert, the chicken pickers were creating a traffic hazard (and impeding the clean-up efforts) and risking their health.
We can hear it now, “Hey Gladys, these ain’t all the way thawed out, ain’t no road grit on them, they’re still good.”
Unfortunately, eating partially thawed chicken is a good way to get salmonella, a particularly nasty condition, and we’ve not even mentioned the “ick” factor.
If you’re that desperate for food, there are plenty of other options for help that don’t involve roaming roadsides with flashlights.
If you’re that cheap, quit squeezing your nickels so hard, the Indian is going to wind up riding the buffalo.
If you’re that concerned about waste, stop carrying your Puritan frugality to an extreme.
That food was wasted the second it hit the ground. It should’ve been left there for proper disposal.