Keeping in line with my New Year's resolution to come up with more lazy introductions that tie unrelated topical bits together, this week my column will be dedicated to providing the readership with important public service announcements. Here we go:
HEAR YE, HEAR YE! POPEYE'S CHICKEN IS RISEN. Judging by the overwhelming public response, the opening of the new Popeye's Chicken on Bloomington Road is the biggest thing to happen to Champaign-Urbana since Kansas played the Sweetcorn Festival. Lines around the block, around the clock, for days going on weeks going on months.
On one hand, I get it: Biscuits. The biscuits. Oh, yes, the biscuits!
But perhaps you should put down the spork for a minute and ask yourself if this is the legacy you really want to leave behind?
When your children grow up and ask you what you were doing when Popeye's opened in the 'Paign, do you want to tell them you were right there, idling in the drive-thru during a polar vortex blizzard, or do you want to tell them you were winning the Superbowl with your best friends Batman, Superman and Macklemore featuring Ryan Lewis? It's your choice, Champaign-Urbana.
There are winners and there are losers — and then there are people who will wait longer than it takes to get on Space Mountain for a bucket of fried chicken and a side of Cajun rice. Those people are definitely winning at something, but I suspect that it's not the game of life.
WEDGIES CAN BE MURDER: BROUGHT TO YOU BY "THE MORE YOU KNOW." Last month, a 33-year-old man from Oklahoma was charged with murder after authorities say he administered an "atomic wedgie" to his 58-year-old stepfather that resulted in the man's death.
The medical examiner ruled the official cause of death to be suffocation and blunt trauma.
Any time someone loses a life as result of a wedgie, it should cause the world to stop and think. Death via wedgie is an entirely preventable fatality. We need to educate our young (and our eternally young 33-year-olds) to prevent future tragedies.
Know your wedgies. The difference between the right wedgie and the wrong wedgie could be a matter of life and death.
A simple, no-frills wedgie is underwear pulled upward from the rear. It causes an uncomfortable bunching of fabric in the nether regions. Of all its variations, this is the most commonplace and innocuous. It is the cornerstone of all undergarment misappropriation.
A Melvin is underwear pulled upward from the front. This is a far more difficult maneuver than a standard wedgie, because it requires you to get face-to-face with your victim. This means two things: 1) they can fight back; and 2) you'll have to look them in the eyes while you're doing it.
A hanging wedgie is underwear pulled upward and then hooked over something so as to suspend the assailed person midair. Also known as Newton's Vasectomy. Usually requires a forklift wedgie to execute.
A twist wedgie is underwear pulled upward, and then wrenched harshly to the side, so as to spread the discomfort along a vertical AND horizontal axis. Rumored to have inspired the Beatles' seminal record "Twist and Shout." This savage greeting is for enemies only.
An atomic wedgie is underwear pulled upward and placed over the head and face. This is an advanced wedgie — one that usually requires a little give from the fabric — and should not be attempted by rank amateurs.
An atomic Melvin is just what you'd think: a forward-facing atomic wedgie. It is prosecuted as a hate crime in all 48 continental states.
Next time you are dispensing wedgies to an unwilling victim — first, ask yourself if you are following the safety protocols. Please, for the love of Wilfred Brimley's Dia-Beet-Us, do not give wedgies to the elderly. They are not built for it. Would you give a baby a beer bong?
Also, ask yourself why you feel the need to pull someone's underpants all the way up. A little bit of introspection on this issue will go a long way. If you often catch yourself waxing philosophically about the wedgies you dole out, chances are good you're a bully.
KRAFT ANNOUNCES VELVEETA SHORTAGE. Stay calm. Don't panic. There are many alternatives to "pasteurized prepared cheese product" to fulfill all of your nom nom needs on Super Bowl Sunday.
1. Easy Cheese: Buy each of your guests a can of spray cheese and eliminate the dangers of double-dipping (#fluseason) and the need to eat defensively to ensure you get your fair share of liquid gold. In the future, we will be able to 3-D print bowls of salsa con queso on demand. But until then, cheese in a can is the future.
2. Hummus: Show some class (or that you share a refrigerator with a member of the fairer sex) and step up your hummus game, bro. Sure, it looks like a baby done did it wrong and sprinkled some pine nuts on top, but after a case of Bud Light, you'll be dunking your hot wings in it, no problem.
3. Cheese: The original; accept no substitute. I don't want to hear any whining about how it "doesn't melt as good." You know what else doesn't melt as good? Bricks. But we still build houses with them. So what's your point?
4. A salad: Who cares what your friends will say? Real friends are concerned about your cholesterol. They want you to live a long time, so they'll always have a place to go and watch the game on a 60-inch screen with free appetizers.
Ryan Jackson has been Velveeta-free for seven years, and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.