03 October 2006

Hottest wings, coldest beer, soft ice

Here (if you click on the photo I think it will enlarge) is another little study in voluntary restraint. You can just crawl right inside this fellow’s head. I suspect maybe he had Buffalo wings somewhere in the United States, and he thought to himself, whoa, there’s gotta be a market for these babies back home in Oulu. I could help to train a public that’s just starting to develop a taste for spicy food. And after a while I could start selling Winger franchises, and then, well, who knows, maybe Conan O’Brien would come calling.

So he worked up a secret recipe, and it was really, really hot, and he leased this space, and then he went to work on the sign. He decided that it needed to be in English, since it would help to make his slogan and logo internationally recognizable. And, he thought to himself, of course, I’ll take the “American” approach to advertising, in which there is no room for understatement or self-deprecation.

Hottest wings. Absolutely. I’ve got that covered. Boy, do I have the hottest wings. Hot, hot, hot. Some might not like it hot. To hell with them. Let them go find themselves some pickled herring somewhere. Yeah, baby. These wings are hot!

Coldest beer. You gotta have the coldest beer to wash down the hottest wings. That olut is gonna be so kylmä it’ll make a witch's tit in January seem lukewarm. Arctic beer. Polar beer. Polar beer! Hey, that’s a good one! No, niin.

Softest ice? There he was, all poised for the Superlative Hat Trick. But then, like a guy who inadvertently starts to cross against the light, he catches himself just in time—I don’t mean just in time to avoid getting hit by a truck, I mean just in time to avoid making a spectacle of himself—and he leaps back to the curb. Come to think of it, this could be the very guy who, at the opera, swallowed his bravo in the middle of the first syllable. I mean it.

Soft ice. Because, well, there are a lot of places in Oulu where you can get soft, Italian-style ice cream (jäätelö), and my ice will be soft, all right, but you know, I’m gonna concentrate on the wings. Maybe develop a line of baby back ribs with their own special sauce, later on, and . . .

. . . and he just couldn’t close it out.