AN unHAPPY MEAL
Nkosi Ife Bandele
You got me. I sometimes steal away to McDonald’s with my nine year old, and we share a large fry. (and, well, a small apple juice for her.) When my wife inevitably finds out, she’s not happy about our otherwise ‘happy meal’. You see, we are strictly a superfoods family. Blueberries in the morning, afternoon almonds, kale all the goddamn time!
When my daughter was younger, her betrayals of me happened by mistake, it would just “slip out,” but now that she’s nine and sanctimonious, she drops a straight dime on me as soon as we get home. “Mom, guess what? Dad took me to McDonalds, and we had French fries!” (Like most sanctimonious people, my daughter lacks integrity. I mean, she didn’t say a word while she was eating the motherfuckers!)
Yes, I know. McDonald’s is bad for you. We’ve watched “SUPER SIZE ME,” “FOODMATTERS,” “Food, Inc.,” and “FAT, SICK & NEARLY DEAD,” so, yes, I get it, I really do, but that’s not the actual point of the story.
It happened during our most recent sojourn to MickyDees. After heavily salting the fries in the bin, and scooping ours into the large, red fry box, our server plucked out the longest one and stood chomping while calling our number. “Crunch. Crackle. 207!”
My daughter and I double-took on each other. Did you…just see…what…I?
Now I probably would have just accepted the fries, smiled, thanked her even, ate them. No biggie. It was just one fry after all. Maybe the server was hungry. She was a tad plump. (And slovenly I might add.) But I’m a punk. My daughter, the absolute extension of my tough wife, “my little wife,” vigorously shook her head, “I ain’t eatin them!”, before I dared open my mouth.
After swallowing the last bit of our fry, the server got pissed. She knew we were “207.” We were the only ones standing there. Stupid customers!
I cleared my throat for effect.
“May we have another large fry?”
She immediately misunderstood, and with her free hand mechanically started to ring up an additional large fry.
“No, no, no, no, I’m sorry. I mean, a different one, a different large fry, I mean, one other than the one in your hand.” (The punk/jerk in me was tempted to say, “…and other than the one in your stomach!”)
My daughter, who did not get my punk gene, (thank goodness), nodded her head defiantly while looking the server directly in the eye.
After an elongated breath, the server shot us one final “stupid customers!” look before flipping our fries into the trash bin and snatching us up another.
She looked through me as she shoved the new fries in my direction.
“Thank, you,” I responded, cringing in embarrassment.
My daughter, though, she was like, “Why she throw them away? How come she didn’t just eat them?” She said this with a wink and smile and loud enough for the server to hear.