The argument came out of nowhere.
One minute we were driving, debating where to get lunch. The next minute, my buddy – who apparently feels strongly about restaurants – was ready to punch me in the larynx.
The sin that occasioned his outrage?
My opinion about Chick-fil-A. And I quote: “Ah, Chick-fil-A sucks.”
His defense of America’s third-largest fast-food restaurant was pure poetry, a passionate ode to the joy of 100% breast meat served with dill pickle chips on a toasted and buttered bun.
To hear him tell it, Adam and Eve wouldn’t have lasted 6 seconds in the Garden of Eden had it featured waffle potato fries – cooked in canola oil! – as opposed to an apple. And Chick-fil-A’s lemonade? Made from real lemon juice, it’s the nectar of the gods.
Me, I’m just not a huge fan of chicken. I enjoy debates, however, and this faceoff started me cataloguing my various unpopular opinions.
We all have them: Personal truths that fly in the face of humanity’s consensus. Typically, we keep these opinions to ourselves because to reveal them is to risk a fight or being shunned by our peers.
Doubt me? When the holidays roll around this year, mention how you think "Star Wars" is overrated. Cousin Luke – the one with the fraternal twins named Anakin and Leia – will attack you with a carving knife.
My unpopular opinions? Here’s a sampler:
• The rules of the road should not grant bicyclists the same rights as automobile drivers. A human-propelled vehicle going 14 mph piloted by a skinny old guy in skintight pink Lycra should not compete for space with 4,000-pound vehicles going three times that speed.
Bicycles should be restricted to bike paths and off-road trails – or sidewalks, where bicyclists’ rights should be secondary to the rights of pedestrians.
• Giving up is a valid option. Everywhere in our culture, you see testaments to “hanging in there,” striving long past the point of reason.
I’ve seen friends spend years in toxic relationships and dead-end jobs that bring them the bare minimum of satisfaction and joy. Why? Because they’ve been programmed to see quitting as weakness, a sign of failure, a shameful lack of intestinal fortitude.
I’m not endorsing bailing at the first sign of trouble or challenge. But giving up, far from demonstrating weakness, often represents an act of strength, wisdom and self-affirmation. Some moments in life call not for “putting in the work,” but for merciful endings and new beginnings.
• “Seinfeld,” endlessly touted as a “show about nothing,” was nothing special. Friends and colleagues still begin sentences with “That reminds me of the Junior Mint episode!”
Get over it. "Seinfeld"’s final episode aired in 1998. Jerry’s antics have gotten less funny by the hour ever since.
• And finally: Journalism should require a license. Barbers need 1,500 hours of training, to pass a state exam and earn a license from the Arizona Board of Barbers. Attorneys do three years of graduate education. They pass the bar exam and get licensed by the State Bar. Doctors face an eternity of school, a residency and continuing education, plus career-long governance by the Arizona Medical Board.
Reporters, meanwhile, face no requirements at all, including knowledge of the subjects they cover or accountability to a code of ethics.
When these self-proclaimed guardians of the public interest screw up, you know what your recourse is? A big fat nada.
At the very least, if an Arizona Journalism Commission existed, you could file a professional complaint about this column.
Which would bother me a lot more than the time I gave in and suffered through a spicy deluxe sandwich at Chick-fil-A.
David Leibowitz has called the Valley home since 1995. Contact email@example.com