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Hooked on the Bird


Poppy Phoenix - ALLISON REED
  • Allison Reed
  • Poppy Phoenix

Step One...

I am an addict. I wake up in the morning thinking about where I can get my next tasty fix. Powerless against my cravings, I've lost my ability to care about anything but my delicious addiction. My personal life is suffering. My sinuses are destroyed. I've abandoned my personal hygiene. My days are spent hiding in a dark, dank trailer home, donning an orange stained undershirt with nothing but my severe poultry-induced paranoia to keep me company. When my need is satiated, I get a severe case of the "meat sweats" and euphoria consumes me.

You may feel compelled to write me off as just another crazy Humboldt "tweaker" or assume that I've always been this way, but this isn't the case. I used to be a loving wife/local Twitter sensation -- 38 followers! I had a family and close to 57 friends on Facebook. Simply put, I was a big deal.

Then one night over beer and karaoke someone handed me what would become my greatest vice, and curiosity changed the course of my life forever. After one taste, I was hooked. I soon lost my job, home and all feeling in my tongue. Rock bottom found me squatting in the alley behind Lost Coast Brewery, crippled with indigestion and gnawing on a raw bone that I found in the garbage. It was time for a change. So here I am. The first step is admitting that you have a problem, so, ladies and gentlemen, my name is Valerie and I'm addicted to chicken wings.

I'm proud to say, with the help of my sponsor, that I've been wing-free for two weeks, but my biggest temptation is on the horizon and I'm not sure I'm strong enough to resist. On Saturday, Sept. 11, Businesses Against Meth Use (BAMU) brings us Chicken Wing Fest from 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. on the Eureka Boardwalk and the foot of F St. In addition to live music, beer and wine, local wing chefs will be competing for best wing honors in several categories with prizes awarded by a judging panel as well as a People's Choice Award. Money raised will benefit the Humboldt County Dept. of Health in its battle against local meth use.

There will be hot wings! Hotter wings! Mild wings! Medium wings! Barbecue wings! Amazing, succulent wings! Arrgh! That's it! I'm postponing recovery until September 12.


A note on the illustration: The chickens shown are not destined for a hot wing contest. The work, titled "Poppy Phoenix," is by the fine local artist Allison Reed. The rooster and hen are from her flock. The painting will be part of an exhibit of Reed's work at CafĂ© Brio in Arcata. The show opens officially Friday, Sept. 10, as part of Arts! Arcata. 



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