Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fun at McDonald's

Since I missed my usual Monday offering - I was out of town - I thought I would share a bit of fun from the humor column I used to write. It, too, was called It's Not All Gravy, and I wrote that column for seven years for a Dallas suburban newspaper. Enjoy....

When the kids were young and only the three older ones were in school, very often the high point of my week was taking the twins to McDonald's Funland for lunch. It was one of the few places I could safely take them and still relax. Plus it offered a nice break from our usual fare of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It also provided an opportunity to be in a social setting, while not fully entering into it.

I could sit at my table with my cheeseburger and fries and observe the variety of folks who frequented this outdoor eating/play area.

There was the Super-Mom. You know the one I’m talking about. The mother who takes exceptionally good care of her own kids and anyone else's that happens to be nearby. I could always count on her to console Danielle when she fell off the slide and would just smile when she would shoot me a withering look for ignoring my poor child.

There was the Super-Athlete, who flexed muscles I'd never even heard of as she pushed her child on the merry-go-round. And I still wish I knew how these women could be so active and not sweat.

There was the Super-Sophisticate, who handled any situation that arose calmly and with finesse, from her kid's scraped knee to squashed French fries on the seat of her pants. She was the one who intervened in squabbles over whose turn it was to go down the slide next as if she were addressing the UN Security Council. I was more inclined to let the kids settle it themselves.

There was the Super-Protector who hovered around her child at all times, keeping him out of potentially dangerous situations. She would rush him off to the hospital to have his stomach pumped if he ate something off the ground. She could shoot the most disdaining looks if your child’s grubby hand touched her Bradley’s bag of Animal Crackers.

Then there was the Super-Intellect who dazzled anyone within earshot with her command of world affairs, while the rest of us discussed daytime television and the price of Pampers.

Our trip to McDonald's could also be a very good opportunity for the twins to pick up some of the fine points of social behavior. They learned quickly that the best way to win friends and influence people was definitely not by pushing some kid off the merry-go-round and smugly watching him cry. Nor was it by smashing French fries in another kid's hair, or by beating someone else with the blunt end of a hamburger. And it most certainly was not by stealing some kid's box of McDonald's cookies and hiding under the table with them. 
So, for a mere $6.35 *I got lunch for three (including dessert) with a hint of Emily Post, a chance to be in touch with the outside world and a unique atmosphere rivaling only the monkey cage at the zoo.

* For a price check, keep in mind this was a long, long, long time ago.

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