I'd Rather Wait in Line for Hours for a Popeyes Chicken Sandwich Than to Vote

Illustration for article titled I'd Rather Wait in Line for Hours for a Popeyes Chicken Sandwich Than to Vote
Photo: Ty Wright (Getty Images)

I’ve always believed that the single Drakiest Drake song is “Shot For Me.” It’s petty, it’s passive-aggressive, and it’s actually pretty damn mean and nasty, but its meanness and nastiness are obscured by Drake’s falsetto-ey intonation.


Bitch, I’m the man, don’t you forget it
The way you walk, that’s me
The way you talk, that’s me
The way you’ve got your hair up, did you forget that’s me?
And the voice in your speaker right now that’s me
That’s me, and the voice in your ear
That’s me, can’t you see

I think about those lyrics whenever I see a Popeyes chicken sandwich now. Not because Drake makes me hungry or favors fast-food poultry. But because of the Popeyes chicken sandwich craze last year, and the fact that I believe I’m responsible for it. I realize this is a lonely (and dumb) hill to die on. But the craze did not become a craze until I wrote a moderately popular blog about how surprisingly delicious the sandwich was. This led to other blogs and status messages and tweets and testimonies, and boom! A craze was born. And if you look at the timeline and squint a bit, my claim kinda, sorta checks out. THAT’S ME, CAN’T YOU SEE?

Anyway, when that shit happened last year, there was quite a bit of shaming from respectable niggas who chided (Black) people for standing in line for chicken instead of for *checks notes* voting or something. Which is what happens whenever there’s a food craze or a new sneaker release that we have the audacity to be excited about. Someone who thinks they’re real smart says something real dumb like if Black people cared about building wealth instead of building, um, chicken sandwiches, we’d finally be white people.

Of course now, as we’re in the midst of the worst election season of our lifetimes, there actually have been thousands of Black people waiting in lines, for hours, to vote. People braving brazen voter suppression and a motherfucking pandemic to fulfill their civic duty. This phenomenon has been spun as another example of our indomitable spirit and willingness to fight for a nation that actively fights against us. When all else fails, we can be counted on to do the right thing. And it’s fucking disgusting.

There’s nothing good about waiting in line for 10 hours to vote for a president. No silver linings. No country for optimism. Just proof of a system so fundamentally rotten that this is somehow legal. And while I do plan to vote, if I had to choose between waiting in line a whole entire day to vote or to procure and devour a Popeyes chicken sandwich, I’m choosing the fucking chicken. At least that is an example of something good happening. It’s a good thing when a company produces a cheap good that is also a quality-ish good! It’s a good thing when people enjoy how things taste enough to wait in line for it! It’s a good thing when people enjoy things! And while I didn’t wait on any chicken lines last year, I saw some on TV, and they looked fun! Much more fun than spending an entire shift in line to vote for some guy you can’t even eat!

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)


Sorely Vexed

We should combine the two. The Australians have sausage grillers at their polling stations, so they can buy sausage sandwiches while they wait.

#DemocracySausages have become so popular that politician regularly do photo ops cooking them outside polling stations.

We can Americanize this tradition by setting up a chicken sandwich shack at every polling station and people will be flocking to vote.