My kids and I went to McDonalds for the first time in a long while. We were meeting one of Hayden’s classmates, along with his mom and sister for the first time and Micky D’s was a nice neutral meeting place. How McDonalds managed to so sneakily slip into mainstream society is a mystery that I betcha even Ronald himself can’t fully comprehend.
The first thing that amazed me was that they got me to part with $18 and change for two Happy Meals and a Big Mac meal. As I pried open my wallet (which was kicking and screaming the entire time), I was painfully reminded why I make infrequent trips to McRaunchy’s.
Fast forward a few minutes to us sitting with two four-year-olds, two two-and-a-half-year-olds, a baby and two moms trying to get to know each other for the first time . The kids are hopped up on chocolate milk, cheap toys, sticky ketchup (smeared on everything including the apple slices), and the prospect of running amuck in the play area. Between questions designed to determine whether or not each other is normal enough to let our kids play together, we are a chorus of repetition; cajoling, begging and bribing our children to sit down and eat.
This is when it struck me: I am pleading with my children to consume complete crap. “Please, kids, eat this deep fried hunk of white stuff that is supposed to pass off as chicken. And have some artery-clogging fries that apparently won’t go bad if the world depended on it. Go ahead, dress them up with some sugary, dye-laden ketchup and dip your apples in sticky caramel sauce that would make your dentist cringe. Wash it down with some hormone-laden chocolate milk and when you’re done you can play with this Chinese-made toy that will probably be recalled for some reason or another if it doesn’t break first.”
How did it come to this? Maybe it’s the fact that I parted with almost $19 of my hard-earneds that makes me want to get the most bang for my fry eating buck. Perhaps it’s that I don’t want to have to go home and make them a second lunch, as if my hauling them out in the cold snowy weather was enough work for the day and I was off the hook for the afternoon. Whatever the case, McDonald’s obviously has figured out something about human nature. And I can’t deny that it tastes pretty darn good. And it’s convenient. And it always tastes the same. And it fills you up. For hours. I’m thinking that’s not such a good thing. But gut rot be dammed, it was a fun afternoon. A golden day at the Golden Arches.